Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs
By Mary Jane Hathaway
length: 254 pages
file size: 447 KB
Pub date: May 24, 2013
by Gumbo Books
Current eBook price: $0.99
Source: Amazon, I grabbed it while it was free
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at the Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’ misgivings and throws herself into the project.
Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?
I have to admit upfront, I love anything Austen. I like to see how a modern author tries to spin these classic tales, even if they take liberties in doing so. This really testifies to the long lasting appeal of these classic romances; authors today trying to capture and personalize the characters Austen created two centuries ago. I do not expect complete fidelity to the original characters and actually enjoy when authors deviate and let the characters take on a life of their own.
This retelling, set in the South, does a great job of capturing the essence of Emma. I think the setting has to be my favorite part of the book. It is the perfect place to remake Austen's England. The characters are similar to their Austen counterparts, but have enough of their own appeal that they do not feel simply like a carbon copy. I don't believe that you actually have to have read the original to enjoy this book. The story is darling and an enjoyable weekend read. At its current low price of $0.99, you can't really go wrong. I also suggest reading the first book in the series, called Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits . Each book can be read as a stand alone, but characters from the first book make their way into the second.
My Rating: 4 Stars