Penguin Classics
by Jane Austen, Fiona Stafford (Introduction)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Mass market paperback, 416 pages
Price: $9.00

"I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," wrote Jane Austen in planning Emma (1816).

Yet few readers have failed to enjoy the ironies of Emma's high-handed vanity, or to warm to her liveliness and wit. While she devotes her formidable energies to matchmaking between friends and acquaintances in the village of Highbury, the plot turns on a romance of which she is wholly unaware. Her own falling in love delights readers who have been anticipating it as profoundly as it perplexes Emma, who has not.

"I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall."

Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

This edition includes a new chronology and additional suggestions for further reading.

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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Attitude
Summary: Emma's meddling ways lead to trouble for those around her and for herself.

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  Well Worth Your Time
HappyHomemaker of Oregon, 5/18/2011
This book begins with a fairly unlikable heroine. She's pretty and rich and admired by all, and therefore thinks herself fit to control the lives of all those around her. This book, then, is the story of how she finds that she's quite mistaken, and it is told with all the wit and deft that Jane Austen is known for.
I had a hard time getting into this book (the 3rd or 4th try I finally made it!), but the insight Austen shows is well worth the effort.