Book Reviews - Sallie Eden Book Reviews 2020

Book Review – October 2020 – Sallie Eden

Emma (A modern retelling) by Alexander McCall Smith

Published by The Borough Press, 2014

Not a newly published book but I was prompted to read it following recent film and tv adaptions of the original.

I love most of Jane Austin’s writing, although I recall not being inspired by Emma when I first read it. With you in mind, dear reader, I decided to give it another go. Oh dear! Sadly, Emma was just as much of a smug busybody as I remembered.

But, to Alexander McCall Smith’s “retelling” of the original: the characters are there, their personalities are intact, even if the outcomes are slightly different, but Emma remains an inveterate meddler in the lives of others, being determined to marry them off to her preferred candidate, to correct the ideas and perceived faults of everyone she meets and to generally irritate the reader.

It’s a clever idea and it’s well written but, sadly, short of a personality transplant, there’s not much to be done about a character so devious and determined to prove she’s right. Careers in Interior design and Mini Coopers can’t overcome the fact that, in trying to follow the original, the author is stuck with a deeply annoying and self centred “heroine”.

Disappointing (but not the author’s fault)

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