Emma(Jane Austen Children’s Stories #4) by Jane Austen, adapted by Gemma Barder
I did not originally plan to purchase both the Northanger Abbey and Emma adaptations in this series so close together. If I had I would have done a dual post like I did for the Babylit series. I was just going to purchase the Northanger Abbey one, but a couple weeks after my cousin’s birthday party I discovered that my friend moved her daughter’s birthday party up to the first weekend in June. I needed a present stat and I always buy her a book and toy for her birthday.
So when I was trying to find a book for a 7 year old, the first thing that popped in my head was to get another one book from the Jane Austen Children’s Stories.
As I mentioned in my previous review, any time I spot a children’s book that has to do with Jane Austen, I try and purchase it to gift to them and hopefully influence spark a love of Jane Austen in them.
The Jane Austen Children’s Stories series takes the text of Jane Austen and adapts it for children who are reading on their own and want something longer than a beginning reader, but not quite ready for thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retains the plot of the original novels.
The recommended age for this series is 7-10 years old. The series has adapted Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Love and Friendship. You can buy them individually at ~$7 a paperback (hardcover is ~$12 per book) or in a set of all seven in paperback form (plus a journal) for ~$27.
Emma is the story of a girl who has been mistress of her house and doted on by her father. After her governess marries (a match she believes she put together) she becomes bored and intends on trying her hand at matchmaking. She pygmalions her new acquaintance, Harriet Smith, and plans to set her up with the new minister. Things do not go according to plan as her matches do not take hold and her “creation” takes a life of her own.
While I enjoyed the Northanger Abbey review, I loved this adaption of Emma. It was done a little different with it starting off with a breakdown of the characters, a who’s who of everyone.
The book easily captures the attention of the reader as it leans in to the already comedic tones of Emma. The illustrations were also well done, no complaints of the men’s outfits here.
I really enjoyed it, and I think the 7 year old who I purchased it for will love it as well. If you are looking for Jane Austen books for elementary schooled children in your life, then I definitely recommend giving this series a read.
So for those who haven’t been reading my posts or may have forgotten, this is the worst Jane Austen adaption I have ever seen.
On paper this show sounds great, four of the Austen heroines (Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse) have been set in modern times and all are friends with each other. Mr. Knightley, Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Edward Ferrars are in this as well. Should be fun right?
The problem is that the show’s plots have little to do with the plots of Jane Austen’s books. The episodes are all pretty boring, and it does the unthinkable-it actually makes you hate Mr. Darcy.
Yes, this is truly, truly, truly terrible and I really regret ever watching it. But I’ve started it and now I have to finish it. So here we go…
Quick recap – Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. Elinor is an accountant, Marianne a Smoothie Barista, Emma a divorce lawyer, Elizabeth a real estate agent, and Knightley/Grant I don’t know.
As I have said before the plots resemble little from the novels but this is where each character is at:
Elinor received a promotion and met IRS agent Edward Ferrars. The two have a lot in common and she had a crush on him, but it turned out he is already in a relationship. He apologized in the last episode if he ever made her feel uncomfortable or if he crossed a line, and Elinor became heartbroken that he isn’t single. She also held a mouse killing party and went on a date with Collin (Mr. Collins) who was only trying to pump her for info on Lizzie. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Marianne moved in with Elinor and the two always fight/argue. She was looking for a job and worked with Darcy and Emma for a bit until she found a job at the smoothie shop. She met Brandon (Colonel Brandon) when her skin was turning blue/purple and he likes her. She doesn’t seem super interested, but has reached out to Grant (Mr. Knightley) about how to keep a guy as she never seems to get a second date.
Emma is British (the only one) and a divorce attorney. She works with Darcy and the two fight a lot. She goes on a series of terrible dates set up by her friends (revenge for her terrible setups) and then went on a date with a former client only to realize that wasn’t the best idea.
Elizabeth was hired by Collin (Mr. Collins) to help him find a house but it turned out he was just trying to spend time with her to ask her out. Then she was helping Darcy find a house for “a special lady” but he was annoying and horrible and those episodes made me hate him. She also had to plan family photos, had acrylic nails and found life too difficult with them, and bought an exercise bike that she made the boys put together. Also she knows Grant’s (Mr Knightley) secret that he is in love with Emma.
Grant (Mr. Knightley) is supposed to be a main character but is really a supporting one to council the girls. I don’t know what he does for a living or anything about him other than he’s friends with the ladies and is in love with Emma. His best friend is Brandon who he called and brought into the plot when Marianne was turning blue. Elizabeth and Elinor know he is in love with Emma but he hasn’t told her yet.
Brandon was introduced late in the series, the episode where Marianne was turning blue. He was instantly attracted to Marianne, but hasn’t wanted to ask her out until they get to know each other better, as revealed in the “putting the exercise bike together” episode. He’s the only character I really enjoy as he is the only one that feels like he’s based off the source material. He also is the only character who when they are a part furthers the original plot.
But here we go, last episode everybody!
Lizzie and Marianne are hanging out shopping online as Lizzie wants to treat herself after having to deal with Darcy (can’t say I blame her as in this adaptation he is a total jerk). Elinor warns her she should wait until the sale has completely gone through, but Lizzie is very confident as Darcy wanted the perfect house for his “special lady” and finally found it.
Elinor and Marianne are intrigued with who this lady could be, and it turns out so is Lizzie. I know it is Georgiana Darcy (his sister), but the ladies try to guess is it sister, cousin, or wife? Lizzie is like family members don’t just buy houses for each other, (but some do), and thinks there is a romantic connection although she doesn’t seem that happy about it. But I don’t know why she would like him as they have hardly had any nice scenes together.
Elinor is moving Marianne’s heavy box out of the hallway and trips and drops the box on her foot. Marianne then calls Brandon to come and check if it is broken or not. Yay! I love Brandon, he’s the only good character in this.
We then switch to Darcy and Emma who are working when Elizabeth interrupts them to see Emma. Darcy seems to be in a better mood, but Emma keeps coughing. Emma and Lizzie discover the girl Darcy bought the house for is named Georgiana, and Elizabeth seems a little too curious about Georgiana’s relationship to Darcy.
Grant then comes to see Emma and offers to take her out after she ended things with “her amazing guy” (he was not amazing). Grant and Brandon talk about this, Brandon revealing he plans to ask Marianne out, but I’m not sure she will say yes. This Marianne is all over the place, in the one episode she seemed into him, but the last she didn’t seem to think of him at all. But Brandon seems pretty confident, and if he is confident in the TV world that means she will say no.
This makes me sad, but at the same time I’m happy we are back on track to the original Austen plot. Thank goodness for Brandon or else I’m sure we would have another mouse killing party episode.
Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s new house after everything has been completed and meets Georgiana. The actress they chose for Georgiana is adorable and does the part perfectly. She’s like a delicate little flower you want to protect.
Brandon tries to ask Marianne out but each time is interrupted or something happens. He’s so cute though. Even though it hasn’t happened how he wanted, he’s still going to try.
Grant shows up at Emma’s work to take her on their “date”, but she is most definitely sick. Grant takes her home instead, makes her tea, orders food in, and they talk about her family and their childhood. They imitate her father and it’s super adorable and all I can think is why wasn’t this in the earlier episodes? Like this is good writing, this is great plot, this show could have been so much better if they hadn’t wasted all the “Austen” until the end.
Elizabeth brought food for Elinor, who’s still resting as her foot bothers her. Elizabeth tells her about how she talked to Darcy and is seeing him different, agreeing to go out with him for Thai food. I don’t agree with this as the awful way they made Darcy doesn’t track with Austen’s depictions. If I was her friend I would have told her to pass on him and his bad attitude, which is the exact opposite of how you want your Darcy to be.
After Elizabeth leaves, Brandon comes over to ask Marianne out, but she isn’t home. He decides to wait but when Marianne comes home she has a giant bomb to drop. Marianne met John Willoughby, a photographer, who invited her to come to Paris with him. Brandon hearing how excited she is, decides to bow out and head home.
We end the episode with Elinor trying to convince Marianne not to run off with a stranger, but Marianne convincing her she needs to follow her dream (she never expressed modeling before, like why is this her “thing” now?)
Marianne also orders another heavy box, a present for Elinor and drops it on her foot. And that’s the end.
I think the crew behind this thought they would be able to make more episodes/seasons, but it doesn’t surprise me that it ended early/after one season. So little happened to make it interesting, and to be honest, all the episodes and scenes without Brandon are not worth watching.
The biggest problem with the show is that there was too little Austen in it. The writers saved most of the plot lines that were based on the source material for the later episodes instead of having them be earlier and interweaving them all.
If I were to do this I think I would start with characters from Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice to begin with (later introducing characters from her other works), but to have each season be focused mainly on one particular book. For example I would start with Sense and Sensibility. The first season’s arc’s primary focus would be on how Mr. Dashwood died and left everything to their older half-brother. Marianne would quit college and move in with her older sister to work a bit before she could finish her degree. I also would make the Dashwood sisters biracial, so that could further villianize Fanny Dashwood and it would add an extra tone to her comments “they aren’t really your sisters”. I think Elinor’s story arc would be to meet Edward she likes him, later discovering he’s engaged, and becoming upset at being disappointed by every man in her life. In the end she would seek counseling and that would end her first season story arc, with Edward of course coming back in a later season. With Marianne I would have her not be interested in Brandon because he is too stable and right now the two “stable men” in her life disappointed her (her father and brother). She’s interested in a spontaneous man, getting involved with John Willoughby, who I would make one of those guys who are like I’ll take care of my woman, she’ll never have to do anything, women shouldn’t work, etc.-so Marianne decides to forgo her original college plans; and of course is brokenhearted by the end of it. I like the idea of John being a photographer, director, etc-someone in power who chooses to marry a wealthy woman so that her family money can fund his lifestyle. Marianne’s ending season would be when she decides to focus on herself and agree to one date by Brandon. I would also have the season end with Emma, having encouraged both women, believing that she is the one that brought them to where they are (Elinor in counseling and Marianne dating Brandon), therefore deciding to further her “good works” by directing her attention to two new interns/hires at her company Fanny Price and Harriet Smith. Fanny I would I make her a foster child of the Bertrams, or she is the child of a family friend that they become legal guardians of (so that we don’t have to deal with the incest issue.)
Season 2 would be all about Emma, I see her as being expected as the one to take over her father’s company. I would have had in season 1 that an article come out about her that doesn’t paint her in the best light, or she overhears someone taking about how she is a horrible person and she decides to do some charity work to improve her image. In my head I imagine a character like Taraji P. Henson’s character from Think Like A Man, or Fallon in the new Dynasty. She also believes she’s the one responsible for the resolutions in the Dashwood sister’s lives and decides to try and help others. We could go the sweet Harriet Smith route, or we could do a new depiction of and make Harriet Smith slightly like Eve in All About Eve. I would have Fanny not follow Emma’s “help” but does end up becoming her “real” friend. Also we could introduce the other characters in Emma, such as the Elton’s, be clients of the company. This season could end with her finally finding herself, with her friend Knightley and end with introducing Darcy, maybe a a company party where Darcy and Elizabeth have their interaction and bringing in Emma’s old friend Anne Elliot.
Season 3 would be Pride and Prejudice, this one would probably be the easiest to adapt to modern times as there are a lot of different avenues you can take. End the season with them staring to be together, and introducing Catherine Morland, maybe as a friend of Marianne’s? Season 4 could be one of these ladies, I unfortunately haven’t plotted those out as much as the first three. But they are all easily adaptable to modern times. And there are quite a few different ways to interweave all their stories together.
I kind of hope someone takes another shot at this as it has a lot of potential. You also could make it a rainbow cast and have a lot of different ethnicities in this as well.
So while the potential was there, the series just wasn’t up to it. I don’t not recommend watching unless you wish to be bored.
I had a hard time trying to decide what to entitle this year’s post,was there something I cared for that was having a special anniversary? After looking through the years the only thing I found was Emma (1972) is turning 50. Of course that mean I will be reviewing it (as soon as I finish the last episode of Austentatious.
With that it means a very Emma year, which has already started. I don’t know about you all but lately I tend to waffle between these two thoughts, getting ready for things and having plans fall apart due to some new COVID related issue:
And trying to maintain a good attitude in these trying times:
But no matter how bad it gets, there is always Jane Austen to make you feel better.
I’m going to try and carry on with the attitude of Emma. Whether you love her or hate her-she knows what she deserves.
Now on to the year in review!
This year I had over 100,000 views! That might not seem like a lot to some but I’m thankful for every one.
The Top Five Posts
Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although again none were posted this year. I guess whatever I post in the actual year is never popular enough? Who knows.
On Instagram (@janeaustenrunsmylife) I try to achieve a Bookish Bingo every month. I usually read whatever I like and then see which slot it fills. I write how it fits the categories in my stories and save them for the moth and the one after, replacing it with the new month’s selections. It is a lot of fun, and I recommend trying it out.
What Pop Culture book/film/movie/idea do you think the Jane Austen characters would be obsessed with?
If there was a company that allowed you to hire Jane Austen cosplayers would you? Who would you want to hire?
Which Jane Austen Character is the most annoying
What is a Jane Austen adaption you like to watch or read over and over again
If you could cast any actor (alive or dead) as Mr. Darcy who would it be?
If you could cast any actresses (alive or dead) as Elizabeth Bennet who would it be?
Which Jane Austen adaption needs to be turned into a film, TV show, or needs to be remade?
If the characters from Jane Austen lived today, what would their fashion style be?
Should I make some Jane Austen Runs My Life stickers?
Which Jane Austen hero is actually the worst? And why?
Who is more desperate to marry off their children: Mrs. Bennet or General Tilney?
If you could cast Aiden Turner, Lee Pace, Kit Harrington, or James Frain in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
Which Jane Austen Parent is the worst?
If you could cast Emily Mortimer, Natalie Dormer, Rachel Weisz, or Michelle Dockery in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
Which Jane Austen adaption is the worst?
What Jane Austen opinion will you not be talked out of and believe until the day you die
I assisted MadsenCreations in her Noirvember and posted my reviews of the films on my tiktok. We reviewed the following films (although I still need to post the remaining few reviews). Don’t be surprised if some of these pop up during this year’s Horrorfest.
So as I have been saying in every post, I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years (it was originally supposed to be my 27th birthday celebration but things happened); and I was finally able to have it.
So originally I had planned for three games, but I ended up doing four. The first game I had wanted to play a type of guess who game where I gave an Austen character to each party guest. I planned for each to have a short bio of their character along with a list of characters everyone else was going to be. I planned for each to act out their character, the first person to get someone to guess them right would receive a prize. I thought it would be a lot of fun, but then my sister and mother pointed out that the people attending were not really Austen fans.
Yes it turned out that all my friends who had actually read or watched Austen’s works were unable to come and the friends that were attending had very limited exposure to Jane Austen. So it was back to the drawing board .
My next thought was that I would do a game that was more of “Who Am I?” I would give everyone a list of characters and then I would read out a short bio of each character and they would have to match up who goes with which storyline. I thought this would be easier and I could do it either before or after the trivia game, that way it would help people get a boost in answering one of the games.
But when I presented it to my mom and sister, they both still thought it would be too hard. So it was back again to try and come up with a new idea.
I decided to shelve it altogether and instead work on the Jane Austen Trivia game I had planned. I sat down and wrote it up, but then when I looked it back over, I realized it was too hard. I ended up throwing it out and starting all over again.
So I rewrote it, and then this time it was far too easy. I thought if I used it then everyone would be a winner. That one joined the other in the trash.
I did a few more drafts and then finally settled on one that I thought wasn’t too hard, but also not too easy.
However, it still appears that I made it too hard as everyone said it was really difficult.
My friend who won got 9/15 questions correct and chose prize three. I will attach the Trivia file below and let me know what you think. Was it too hard? Too easy? Or do you think just right?
So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.
Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.
So starting with sandwiches, remember how we’ve been having those The Magician’s Nephew Bible study/book club/tea party? Well, those have also been a dry run for me as it gives me a chance to try out recipes and see which ones I really love. I decided to start off with one I really loved: Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches
I also really love cucumber sandwiches and wanted to use the recipe from SpendWith Penniesbut to save time I used Chive and Onion Cream Cheese Spread.
But I used a cookie cutter to make them into teapot shape; along with cutting the other half of the cookies into a teabag shape. And I dipped them in chocolate
Chocolate Dipped Cookies:
Have your cookies baked and cooled.
Using a double broiler, melt a chocolate bar or chocolate chips.
If you do not have a double broiler, get two pots about the same size or have one be slightly smaller than the other. Heat water in one until it boils. Turn down the flame and take the other pot and hold it over the one with boiled water. Place the chocolate in the top pot and stir until melted.
When chocolate is melted, dip cookies and lay on wax paper. Put cookies in freezer or fridge to get chocolate to harden.
The last cookie I made was Better Home and Gardens Sugar Cookies.
2/3 Cup of Shortening
3/4 Cups of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
4 Teaspoons of Milk
2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (Sifted)
1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
Throughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla.
Add egg; beat until mixture light and fluffy.
Stir in milk.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Blend dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Divide dough in half.
Chill for one hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness.
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.
Cool slightly, then remove from pan.
I had wanted to make Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cakebut I ran out of time and I ended up just buying an Almond Poppyseed cake from Raleys. It was good, but not as amazing as the Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake.
My friend also made Carrot Cake (my favorite) and carrot cake cupcakes. I didn’t take a picture of the cake (so good) but in the picture below, where the cupcakes are is where the cake was placed. All the cupcakes were gone by the end of the party. The recipe is a secret or else I would have shared that too.
I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!