A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh

So you all know that I’m not really into  diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistles, letters, novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).

And that is what this book is about. It is a view of the novel Emma told in letters. But the letters aren’t between Emma, Harriet, Jane, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Weston or Mr. Knightley. Instead the author choose to tell the story from Mrs. Goddard’s point of view, the headmistress of the school that Harriet attends.

What?

I know. At first I didn’t want to read this book. Mrs. Goddard is hardly even in the story except when she brings Harriet to meet Emma and start the two’s friendship. I couldn’t fathom why they would pick her over any other character.

Uhhhhhhh

In fact, the story is told between Mrs. Goddard and her sister Mrs. Charlotte Pinkney, who is living in London after a hasty marriage.

I’m not sure about this.

I wasn’t sure if I would like it but decided to start reading so I could post a review.

So I read it and…

I was so surprised but I loved every page of it and couldn’t stop reading.

The characters were amazing. Mrs. Goddard is very sensible and tries to provide a good home for the girls at her school. She cares heavily for each one and tries to help them as much as she can. She even cares deeply for her staff, as when one maid gets pregnant and the father won’t marry or take care of her-Mrs. Goddard helps her out and keeps her job open for her return.

Mrs. Pinkney has always been happy and a spendthrift. After her husband died and she was left with his debts, she married quickly to the wealthy family friend, Mr. Pinkney. At first she is upset, angry, whiney, and just unhappy as she is still grieving the changes in her life and that her new marriage isn’t so fun and flitty: Mr. Pinkey is more concerned over finances than anything else. She is bored and lonely and instead of working on her marriage devotes all her time to writing her sister.

Mrs. Goddard writes to her everything that is happening in Highbury, even though she thinks the news to be nothing and rather dull.

But Mrs. Pinkney gets caught up in the tales and the story of Emma. Besides that she befriends a young girl, Charlotte, from the school next door (a horribly run establishment). Having her lightens up the home and brings Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney together as they both enjoy Charlotte’s company. They even take her to Bath.

Scene of Bath from Persuasion

There Charlotte meets a sailor and begins correspondence with him. Mr. Pinkey’s Admiral friend also agrees to look into whether Charlotte’s father is still alive, if survived the storm that took his boat.

Aw!

As Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney draw closer together, he too becomes interested in the news of Highbury and the story of Emma.

Now I read an article not to long ago how Emma is a mystery, but thought nothing of it as it didn’t really seem like a mystery to me.

hmm…

But then in this book Mrs. Goddard, Mrs. Pinkney, and Mr. Pinkney all collaborate to figure out different elements of the story. Who is Mr. Elton really after to be his wife?

Hmm…

Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith?

Hmmm….

Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him?

Hmm…

Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano?

Hmm…

Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends?

Hmmm….

Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

hmm…

And much more. The three are on the case:

I thought it was fantastic story telling. Joan Austen-Leigh knows how to have the perfect balance of the original characters:

With brand new, interesting, and fun characters

It was fun, captivating, and as said before, a real page turner.

I highly recommend it for any Jane Austen or Emma fan. This is one book that you shouldn’t miss out on.

For more on Emma, go to TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Emma variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues

 

TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

Last year I wrote a review of Emma (1996)

No, not that one. This one:

Some people agreed with what I said about it, and some people didn’t. That’s fine, we are all open to sharing our opinion-that being said this is my blog, I will always share my opinion.

Usually I don’t make a big deal over people’s criticisms of my reviews:

But then I received a message from someone on facebook who hated my review of Emma (1996). Not only did they disagree with me, they called me every horrible name you could think of, cursed at me, and went on spamming my inbox.

Usually I just forget it when people say stuff like that. No big deal. I mean:

But it was the venomous way this person spoke to me, and kept writing to me that made me upset.

I am not happy

And made me decide to answer their criticisms:

Jerk

In a polite way, of course:

 

TO: The Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

Be not alarmed, Madam, on receiving this letter, unlike you I am not crass, rude, use expletives, or call people names when trying to make my point:

I write without any intention of humbling myself: you must, therefore, pardon the freedom with which I demand your attention; your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice.

This could get ugly.

Many offences of various nature you laid to my charge. I will now go through them and defend my thoughts.

A) The Set

No madam I am not an idiot:

I know that “lightbulbs” do not exist in Regency times. I know they had to use candles as their only way of lighting a room. I have studied history and have studied the Regency time period.

What I SAID, and what you failed to read-perhaps your vision is ailing you? Maybe you should visit your optometrist and see if you need an adjustment? – was that I didn’t like the use of candles solely in the film. Yes it is realistic, yes it is accurate, and yes it provides a nice chiaroscuro effect to the cinematography. However, using that as the only source to light your room made it difficult for the viewer to see all that was occurring in the scene. As someone who works hard for their money, I like to use what I spend it on. And if I am purchasing a film I want to be able to see the film.

And I want my money’s worth.

B) The Costumes

You called me quite a few names for not realizing that that the costumes were accurate. I never said they weren’t. Unfortunately, you failed to understand what I stated, perhaps the vocabulary I utilized was too flowery? I will speak plainer here. Out of all the Austen heroines, Emma is the richest. Some may argue that the Dashwoods or Elliots may be, but they lose a lot of their money due to different circumstances. However, Emma starts the book off wealthy, and remains so throughout the book.

In this adaptation, the dresses Emma wears are all boring and drab. I expect her to have something finer and more representative of her station and position in the community. Plus she is only 16 miles from London, she may not visit there but could order more elite fashion. I prefer her gowns in this adaptation:

And this one:

C) Harriet Smith

Now this part of your rantings, I really do not understand. I compliment the film on an actor’s portrayal, in fact the best portrayal of this character I have ever seen, and you yell and curse at me for doing so?

I know, right?

Perhaps you have never paid a compliment so you cannot understand when one is given?

Hmm…

You also yelled at me for misunderstanding the character of Harriet, but the charges you laid against me make me wonder if you have ever read the book, because you don’t seem to understand the character of Harriet.

So the first thing you wrote was that it was idiotic that I called Harriet illegitimate:

First of all I never said that Harriet was illegitimate, what I said-which you failed to read (maybe you need to slow down when reading so you don’t miss so many words?)– was that most people at that time period would assume she was illegitimate the way her father sent her to live in a boarding school and refuses to name himself-wanting to be anonymous instead.

And by the way, Joan Austen-Leigh, the great-grand niece of Jane Austen, stated in her book A Visit to Highbury that Harriet was illegitimate. As she is family and able to look at more personal works that you, I think I trust her information more than I trust yours.

And then you were furious at me for ever stating that everyone hated Harriet, well, once again, I have to say you misread me. Do you wear glasses? Maybe you need a stronger prescription, as what I said was because of not knowing her birth the other girls would not be intent on forming close relationships with her, just in case it turns out that she is illegitimate or from a poor family. Think about Great Expectations, how Pip freaks out when he discovers that his benefactor is the ex-convict Magwitch. He is afraid to tell anyone as he knows how they will turn on him.

D) Jane Fairfax

You went on and on about how I called Olivia Williams a bad actress and how I hated her portrayal, and all I can say is once again you have misunderstood what I said about a character and an actor.

What I had said was that she wasn’t really in the film. True, Jane does not spend a lot of time physically in Highbury, but her presence is always there as the Bateses talk about her constantly. In here we had barely anything about her-from people talking about her to her actually playing a part in the film.

E) Emma Woodhouse

I know you love Kate Beckinsale, and love her films. You went on and on about how well she has done in other pictures and I agree, Beckinsale is a talented actress and has done some great films-however I believe this isn’t one of them. I didn’t think her portrayal was all that great and felt it to be wooden and lacking the emotions if the book.

This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event-it is done, and it was done for the best. — On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer.

-MORELAND

Now to the rest of you, once again this is just my opinion. I am using my right to express myself and my thoughts. I know that not everyone will agree with me, and I am okay with that. If you like what I write:

Yay

If you don’t like it:

That’s okay!

If you want to follow me:

Yay!

If you don’t:

That’s okay

The choice is yours.

For more Emma, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Emma adaptations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen film reviews, go to You Are a Horrible Cook, But I Will Eat What You Prepare Anyway: Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

200 Years of Glorious Emma

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided instead of reading through each Jane Austen novel one by one, I will instead read four chapters of one and then move on to another, then another, etc; that way each book would get posted on. I decided to do this mainly because Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion are really forgotten in the Austen fan world. Also because it is more fun this way. I started with Pride and Prejudice as it turned 200 in 2013. Then I moved on to Sense and Sensibility as it was the first book published. I should do Mansfield Park next, but decided to wait as this year is a special year. Yes 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of 1985, of which I have written a post celebrating The Breakfast Club, will be posting one on Back to the Future, and one honoring the rest of the awesome stuff that came out that year. BUT, 2015 marks another anniversary, this Christmas marks the 200th Birthday of Emma.

emma

Emma is a very unique character unlike any of the other Austen heroines. Many people don’t like this book because they don’t like Emma. I know my friends who love Austen tend to like her least of all the Austen heroines as they think she is too shallow or silly. In fact Jane Austen herself said that in writing Emma:

“I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

Well I love Emma. Most likely because she and I have a lot of similarities.

WhichJAheroare YOu?Emma

Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, has meddled in friends’ love lives…need I go on?

I am who I am

I am who I am

There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences.

But Emma is more than just fluff and comedic moments. Through this novel Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one’s self (like Jane was able to) was nothing to look down on or pity.

Yep, just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

Emma_Buggin

Not to mention Emma has the amazing Mr. Knightly.

EmmaMrKnightlyP&PMrDarcy

Like with the other two books, I will also will be reviewing books and films that are either another version/interpretation of the story or based on the book with a twist. Hope you all enjoy!

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Books:

Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer by Jennifer Adams

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh & Jane Austen

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith edited by Christina Boyd

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

Mr. Knightley’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros #2) by Amanda Grange

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

Amanda by Debra White Smith

Daring Chloe (Getaway Girls #1) by Laura Jensen Walker

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

The Importance of Being Emma (Darcy & Friends #1)  by Juliet Archer

Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma by Rachel Billington

Only With You (The Jane Austen Academy Series #5) by Cecilia Gray

Emmalee (The Jane Austen Diaries #4) by Jenni James

Emma and the Werewolves: Jane Austen’s Classic Novel with Blood-Curdling Lycanthropy by Adam Rann & Jane Austen

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reave

Film:

Emma (1945)

Emma (1957)

Emma (1960)

Emma (1972)

Clueless (1995)

Emma (1996) AKA Gwyneth Paltrow

Emma (1996) AKA Kate Beckinsale

Emma (2009)

Aisha (2010)

Emma Approved (2013)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015)

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015)

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For more on Emma, go to Opening With…

For more quizzes, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover