The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series deftly escorts Jane Austens beloved, meddlesome heroine into the twenty-first century in this delightfully inventive retelling.
The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury to prepare for the launch of her interior design business. As she cultivates grand plans for the future, she re-enters the household of her hypochondriac father, who has been living alone on a steady diet of vegetables and vitamin supplements. Soon Emma befriends Harriet Smith, the nave but charming young teachers assistant at an English-language school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard. Harriet is Emmas inspiration to do the two things she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world and put her matchmaking skills to good use.
Happily, this summer presents abundant opportunities for her to do just that, as many friends, both old and new, are drawn into the sphere of Emmas occasionally injudicious counsel: Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emmas former governess; George Knightley, Emmas brother-in-law and dear friend; the charming yet self-important Philip Elton; and, of course, the perfect (and perfectly vexing) Jane Fairfax.
Alexander McCall Smiths gentle satire and cozy, old-fashioned sensibility prove to be the perfect match for Jane Austens wit and characters. Though carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea with cappuccinos, Emmas story is wonderfully timeless.