Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Austen-Inspired Original
SETTING: Modern-day, small town USA
MAIN CHARACTERS: Emma Sanders, Warner Hall (History teacher at Emma’s school), Ron Banks (Emma’s boyfriend of 5 years), Emma’s friends and family
SYNOPSIS: In her first year of teaching high school English Emma meets and befriends a fellow new teacher as well, Warner Hall. Since she is in a long distance 5 year relationship with Ron, Emma has determined that she and Warner could only be friends, no matter how amazing she thinks he is. But when feelings start to emerge, Emma has to make a difficult decision about the men in her life and the direction she thought everything was going…
WHAT I LOVED:
- Important Message: In this story we learn that Emma’s relationship with her long-term boyfriend Ron is one of neglect, selfishness, and disappointment. But Emma still holds on and stays with him…even when better prospects cross her path. Some may read this and find Emma’s actions crazy and hard to understand at first glance. But as we read on the author illustrates that with her feelings of allegiance, the investment of five years of her life, and Emma’s optimistic hope for the things to get better – it isn’t so easy for Emma to move on and leave this relationship. I thought this was a very interesting and realistic look into how emotionally damaging some relationships can be. And how challenging it can be to give up on something you were planning and waiting for and accept the idea of something new and unknown. It was lovely to witness Emma grow and overcome her feelings of insecurity, fear, and mistrust!
- An Ode to Austen: Heads up, this is not a Darcy/Elizabeth/Wickham romance. This is an original story with lots of Jane Austen flavor mixed-in! Our heroine is a Jane Austen lover and teaches Jane Austen novels to her Women’s Lit class. I enjoyed seeing her class discussions about Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen’s other novels – how fun it must be to teach Jane Austen in high school (I wish my school did it!) I also loved Emma and Warner’s debates about Jane Austen, how he insisted she doesn’t want Mr. Darcy, and how he planned some extraordinary surprises for her that would make any Austen fan squee!!!
- Witty Banter and Feels: I had a perpetual smile on my face when Emma and Warner started to flirt with each other! They were so cute with their innocent banter and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer. There were many special and sweet moments that will stay with me – some of my favorites include: going out for milkshakes, stargazing together, and Warner’s phone call for relationship advice.
- Deeply Entrenched in Emma’s World: I very much appreciated how detail-oriented Ms. Schroeder was with this story. Readers learn everything about Emma throughout this novel, her friends, members of her family, what she eats, what she wears, and significant scenes from her past. This may feel a little overly descriptive to some, but I really enjoyed knowing Emma so intimately and seeing her world so vividly.
- Warner Hall: *sigh* this adorable, kind, and considerate man is a heart-stealer! He doesn’t bear any strong resemblance to a particular Austen hero – if I had to describe in “Austen terms” I’d say he has the attractiveness of Mr. Darcy, the sweet flirtatiousness of Henry Tilney, and the honorableness and compassion of Mr. Knightley. Quite a lovely package, wouldn’t you agree?
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Falling Action: I guess if I were to pinpoint it, I’d say I felt the rising action with the flirting, chemistry, tension, and conflict was so riveting and consuming that the latter half of the book paled by comparison. While the ending was very well done and satisfying, I kinda felt the resolution of the conflict to be a little weaker than I was hoping for.
I loved my time with Emma Sanders! This tender and inspiring tale of heartache, self-discovery, and love is sure to delight and charm readers! The romance between Emma and Warner is enthralling and beautiful to witness and the nods to Jane Austen are an extra-special treat!