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The Importance of Being Emma – Juliet Archer

I bought this book based on the review in the Jane Austen Regency World magazine – they were very favourable. Just by looking at the cover I should have known better.

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.
This novel started off so promisingly – The Woodhouses run ‘Hartfield Foods’ and the Knightley’s ‘Donwell Organics’, Miss Bates is a PA and Jane Fairfax ends up on a work placement at Hartfield Foods’. Flynne Churchill is a brash celebrity chief who lives in Australia (with his Aunt Stella).
However, my Mr Knightley would never say ‘you get wet and I get hard’! Mr Woodhouse, Batty (Miss Bates) and  Gusty (Mrs Elton) were brilliant and worked well in this new setting. My main problem with this novel was Emma and Mr Knightley – Emma was aware way too early ofher feelings for him and I thought Mr Knightley was repellant. Also, it’s a brave person who adds characters to Austen (Tamara – Mr Knightley’s lover), George Knightley (Mr Knightley’s father – just to be a bit confusing she’s named Mr Knightley Mark and his father George) and Saffron (Mr Knightley’s step-mother).
If you’re an Austen fan, I would recommed giving this one a miss. 

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