Jane Austen’s Emma from Mr. Knightley’s Perspective
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
George Knightley, wealthy, mature, and compassionate, seemed to be a very successful member of the landed gentry of Highbury; and had lived in the world for nearly thirty-seven years with little to disrupt his peaceful and quiet existence. That is until he realizes that his little sister-in-law Emma Woodhouse, is no longer a little girl but a lovely young woman whom he greatly cares for…
Are you inclined to learn more about this admirable and benevolent gentleman? Would you like to gain a greater understanding of his thoughts and feelings?
Author Barbara Cornthwaite delivers a pleasing and absorbing augmentation of Jane Austen’s Emma, told from the perspective of Mr. Knightley, in her wonderful series George Knightley, Esquire! This novel, the first of two, begins just as Emma did with the Weston’s nuptials and closes with Frank Churchill’s departure from Highbury. So be prepared to not have a completed story at the end of this book and to have an intense desire to obtain book two right away!
I love retellings of Jane Austen novels and to read one where one of my favorite Austen heroes is respectfully and accurately portrayed filled me with sheer delight! I took great pleasure in reading about Mr. Knightley’s interactions with his household and various members of Highbury, especially the new characters Ms. Cornthwaite skillfully crafted. In addition, I loved being privy to Mr. Knightley’s speculations about the Emma/Harriet/Elton dilemma and comprehending his predisposed dislike and prejudice towards Frank Churchill. But what I enjoyed most about this book was spending more time with Mr. Knightley! (What Austen fan wouldn’t want to do that?)
While I am pleased that the author interwove parts of Emma with her novel and did NOT take license to alter or paraphrase Jane Austen’s original dialogue, I did, however, observe that some of Mr. Knightley’s speeches were shortened a little. Mr. Knightley does make many great speeches in Emma, and most of the content of these speeches can be found in Barbara Cornthwaite’s retelling. There are just a few incidents where she omits a part of his speech and summarizes what he says using “he explained…” or “he told…” Some of my favorite Mr. Knightley quotes are “Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief” and “Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.” I was a little disappointed that these quotes were not fully included.
Barbara Cornthwaite’s George Knightley, Esquire Series is sure to delight and satisfy admirers of Pamela Aiden’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy and Susan Kaye’s Frederick Wentworth, Captain Series. I am so grateful for writers, like Barbara Cornthwaite, for giving us a closer look into the lives of these Austen men!!