[Synopsis from GoodReads]
'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 protegee 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.
I must admit, I did not like this book half as much as I should have. At least the first half. For some reason, it took me a great deal longer to read, but by the end I was the happier for having read it.
By no means is Emma Woodhouse perfect. You discover this fact within the first few pages. The theme of this story, by the famed Jane Austen, is of a hopelessly flawed girl and her attempts at matchmaking. We find that Emma is rich, clever, quick-witted, and a bit of a romantic. She sees people as classed in ranks of poor, to whom she can stoop to help, modest, whom she would have nothing to do with, and rich, those equal to or perhaps superior to her, if any. She has great compassion for those who have nothing and assists them in her neighborhood, whether it is providing a meal or simply being there. However, and this is what got me, she has nothing to do with farmers and the like, laborers who work hard for their living each day to provide for their family. When her little, weak-minded friend Harriet receives a marriage proposal from a modest, young farmer, Emma does what she can to "persuade" Harriet to refuse his offer and set her eyes on a more "noble" gentleman. The result is disastrous, but I will not go into that.
I confess, from the beginning I did not like her personality. Well, her character in general. Probably because she snubbed farmers. . . (I mean, come on! I'm a farmer!) =] But, ironically, her faults are what makes her a likable character and one we can relate to.
With the help of a family friend, who graciously points out the mistakes of her character and is the only one to whom she listens on such things, Emma grows and matures completely, wishing to correct the many offenses she has made and to better herself in such matters. From there on, her love story unfolds and all ends well regarding her own marriage, as well as that of Harriet (to the farmer) and another couple. Happily ever after for all. =]
Because of the style in which this novel is written -- meaning the dialogue, wording, and writing style in general -- I would recommend readers from the age of 14+.