Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Review: The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer

Description (from Goodreads):
Mark Knightley - handsome, clever, rich - is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who's like part of the family - and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning? Emma's grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It's just like the old days, except that now he's seeing her through totally new eyes. While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She's never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He's still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill - the man of her dreams - turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else? With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern re-telling of Jane Austen's "Emma" stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.

My thoughts:
Emma Woodhouse is 23 years old. She is successful, beautiful, and rich. Her father owns a food company at Highbury, a little village in England. After studying marketing at universities like Harvard, Emma moves back to Highbury and starts working at her father's company. What Emma does not know when she is coming to Highbury is that her father Henry has asked Mark Knightley, Emma's teenage crush, to mentor her. Mark has been working at India for past 8 years and last time he has seen Emma she was still a silly teenager. Mark notices fast, that things have definitely changed during the 8 years of his absence.

Emma and Mark has always been like brother and sister. That is at least what they say. Emma is still embarassed about her teenage crush to Mark. When they see each other again, especially Mark notices that Emma has become gorgeous and he definitely has some un-brotherly thoughts in his mind. Emma also sees that 35 year old Mark is still as gorgeous as he was before.

Like we know from Jane Austen's Emma, Emma Woodhouse likes to do matchmaking. She thinks she was the one who matched Tom Weston and Kate Taylor. Kate worked for Henry's company, but after she got married she stopped working. To replace Kate Henry hires Harriet Smith, a pretty but a little bit silly girl. Emma sees Harriet as a project and she starts to match Harriet with Philip Elton who works for the Finance at Highbury Foods. Quite fast Emma notices that Harriet is not the one Philip has his eyes for.

Flynn Churchill, the son of Tom Weston is a legend at Highbury. Everyone is talking about him but nobody has really met him. When he finally arrives to Highbury, Emma believes that he is the man of her dreams. Quite fastly she notices that he is not the one for her, but she still thinks of him as her friend.

A night after Highbury Food's party something important happens between Emma and Mark. The next morning they both try to make the actions of last night look un-important, but in the end they both know that what happened was really important and unforgettable. When they clear their heads by avoiding each other they notice that they are the one's for each other.

As a lover of Jane Austen I just had to pick this up when I saw it at the bookstore while I was in London. And I must say that I really enjoyed it (it was among the top 10 books I read in 2009).  It is funny, romantic, exciting and it had a gorgeous guy, Mark Knightley, on it. What else could I wish for?

Currently Juliet Archer is writing a book called 'Persuade Me' which is a 21st century version of Jane Austen's Persuasion. It will be published later this year. You can read the prologue and first chapter of the novel from here.


  1. Great review! This seems to be a great modern version of Emma. "Persuade Me" intrigues me as well. Since I have a thing for "Persuasion", and for "Emma", I will check out Juliet Archer. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Irena, no problem, I hope you enjoy 'The Importance of Being Emma'. I can't wait to read Persuade Me.

  3. That sounds like a fun rendition of a old classic. :)

  4. The is like The Importance of Being Earnest! But I like this one too!

  5. Yeah, the title is probably copied from Oscar Wilde's title. :)


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