The Emma Project

The Emma Project (The Rajes #4) by Sonali Dev

When I first read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev and really enjoyed it, but each book since then has gotten worse and worse.

Before I read this book I suspected that I wasn’t going to like this book from the previous one as the person who is supposed to be Knightley is terrible. I mean she is manipulative, takes advantage of Yash, and exhibits truly horrible abusive behavior as she tries to force him to stay with her.

But I tried to keep an open mind, even though those actions are nothing like Mr. Knightley. But I was over this book in the beginning pages.

Picking up were we left off in Incense and Sensibility; we have Knightlina (Naina)/Mr. Knightley and Vansh Raje/Emma are in the balcony after Yash won the governor’s seat in the previous book, and they are joined by Yash (Edward Ferrars) and India (Elinor Dashwood) who have left his party for the balcony to get it on. They are then joined by his sister Nisha and brother-in-law Neel Graff who have also left the party to get it on. They interrupt them and then who should come along but Ashna Raje and Rico Silva who are also getting it on. The only one missing is DJ and Trishna. And lo and behold, they have been there in the pool house the whole time. Really? There is a fine like between cute and saccharine; with this being the latter.

Naina has a foundation she has been working on and was supposed to get an endowment from Jiggy Mehta but after she and Yash are a no go he has instead given it to her and Vansh forcing them to work together. Vansh has been traveling around the globe helping people, but all Dev seems to want to talk about regarding his personality is that “he’s hot”. We don’t really know much else about him. Vansh agrees to take the money and will create an app to solve homelessness. Why has he concentrated on homelessness? Well he found a guy working on Yash’s campaign who is homeless and it opened his eyes to the fact that homelessness can exist in his home town. Even though he’s 24 and from the Bay Area, he’s never seen homelessness before 2022. Wow, homelessness in the Bay Area has existed before I was born. And I’m older than Vansh. I know this is supposed to make me “feel” for Vansh; but instead just makes me think wow this guy is so privileged that he’s been all around the globe and just now realized that gee whiz homelessness exists in America.

Seriously

Also they don’t even go over this but Yash can’t afford to pay his staff enough to live off the streets. Wow, he sure cares about the average man.

So not to be rude but I feel like this author doesn’t understand what it is like to grow up in California. I really felt that in the previous book a lot, especially as there is an absence of Latino people and no one even mentions the Latino vote which really angers me as a Latina who grew up in California, and has lived in the Bay Area, and knows what governors always talk about when they run. But I digress…

Anyways, Naina and Vansh fight constantly, yep that’s right they are NOT friends, and even though they fight through a majority of the book but for then for some reason end up falling in love and together blah, blah, blah.

And then Esha is suddenly healed when she meets Siddharta Dashwood the brother of India and China. And the two fall in love and are married even though their conversations barely make any sense.

Huh

So this book was really boring I was only a few chapters in it and skimmed the rest of the book as it held zero of my attention.

I really did not care for it as Vansh and Naina are nothing like their counterparts. To be honest with you I think Dev wants to write a story about expectations that Indian women face and abuse in Indian households rather than a reimagined Jane Austen novel, but the problem was she had already mentioned in her first book that she had four Jane Austen books planned out and I’m sure she was also contracted with her publisher, so she had to complete it those stories-instead of writing her stories.

And why do I say that? Because the character of Mr. Knightley is a kind and caring friend who loves his family and would do anything for them; along with anything for the one he loves-even if it means giving up his home, status of man of the house, etc. The way he treats Mr. Woodhouse, Emma, his annoying brother John; is very admirable; but instead that is replaced with a woman who has made herself be alone as she’s has been hurt and abused by her father. She not only has no friends but no boyfriends; and is sealed like a tomb. Do you see any similarities?

Then we have Emma, in the novel she is a wealthy woman who grew up with no one really pushing her or making her apply herself; getting bored she sets herself to matchmaking and helping a girl that doesn’t know her background or history. In this Vansh is a man that has gone around the globe in the peace corps but we never hear anything that he does and we don’t know anything about him other than he knows everyone and is “hot”. Like that’s it. His family also hates Naina and all try to dissuade them from being together. He wants to help Hari “sort of” but his main focus from page one is getting Naina in bed.

Ugh…this guy

She also took one of the most comedic books in Austen’s repertoire and made it depressing.

Also have you noticed that since the first book all everyone has terrible parents and are all in awe of the HSH Rajes. Like DJ had a good family- but Ashna’s parents were terrible; Rico had a terrible father and then he has an aunt we know nothing about and one Rico doesn’t even go to see or call when he’s back in the US so I’m guessing he doesn’t like her (I mean family day on the cooking show she wasn’t invited); India and China have a mom who’s not truly terrible but she’s not memorable or “the” family the Rajes are. In this the adoration is extremely thick!

When I first heard that Dav was going to stop her Austen retellings after this book, I was sad. I was interested to see how she would do Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. But after reading this, I realized I am more than happy for this to be over. I think Dev was done with this series a while ago and that she needs to move on to writing other things, what she really wants to write now.

For more Emma, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Emma

For more Emma adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

For more on The Rajes, go to Incense and Sensibility

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Beside Two Rivers

The Clergyman’s Wife + The Question is Mr. Collins Really THAT Bad?

The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley

I saw this audiobook and ebook on MeetLibby and decided to give it a read as I heard a lot of positive things about it.

However, I did not finish it as I could not get very far through it. I was about 18% of the way through the audiobook and did not get much farther in the ebook, before I finally called it quits. I tried, but this work just couldn’t capture my attention.

It wasn’t badly written, but the story just couldn’t capture my attention. The story takes place after the end of Pride and Prejudice, with Charlotte Lucas-Collins dissatisfied with her life with Mr. Collins. She has nothing to do, no one to talk to, and finds herself drifting. She then strikes up a conversation with Mr. Travis, farmer and recently turned gardener (thanks to Lady Catherine), later this turning into a friendship. After the time they spend together, Charlotte finds herself falling for Mr. Travis. This is not at all what Charlotte planned for her life? What should she do?

Hmm…?

As I mentioned before, I tried but could not connect to this woke. One of my biggest issues reading this was Charlotte saying she had nothing to do. She’s a regency woman who’s a minister’s wife. I’m sure she would have plenty to do, in her own home and in the parish. I mean she’s not working hard like a servant, but she still had duties and responsibilities; it wasn’t as if she was so wealthy as to have people do everything for her.

Secondly, Greeley make Mr. Collins incredibly insufferable. But I found issue with this as I wonder, is he really? I have been thinking about this for a while, ever since my book club read Pride and Prejudice back in March. Is Mr. Collins really as bad as Elizabeth thinks?

Reading Pride and Prejudice we never see a true uncritical view of Mr. Collins as most of our opinions of him come from Elizabeth Bennet and her family, all of which are not the most reliable as they are all very judgmental people (except Jane); additionally they already do not care for him as he represents a loss of their home and life.

Secondly, none of the circumstances in which we as a reader interact with Mr. Collins puts him in a positive light, as the situations are not ones where he is most comfortable in. First, we know that Mr. Collin’s father and Mr. Bennet had a falling out years ago, so much that there has been zero contact and Mr. Bennet was surprised at Mr. Collins reaching out to him ( which Mr. Collins only did after his father died). Mr. Collins comes to the Bennet home and we have no idea what Mr. Collins has been told about his Bennet relations from his father nor what his father might have warned him about how they would react to him. We also don’t know if he has any other family or has ever grown up learning how to talk to family members besides what he may have observed from friends/classmates. Part of the reason why he is so awkward could be because of all this tension he grew up believing was between the family, him trying not to upset his relations, not knowing how to interact with people related to him, and him possibly going on about things they aren’t interested in as he’s afraid certain subjects might come up that will turn this visit into a terrible one.

Then we have him staying at a home where he is to inherit everything when Mr. Bennet dies. That would not only put you in an awkward position but also mean that every person in the house is bound to be bitter and a tad hostile toward you.

Thirdly, we see him embarrass Elizabeth at the ball going up to Mr. Darcy without being introduced, but to be fair we don’t know what his discussions with Lady Catherine have been like. Maybe from what they have discussed he earnestly does believe that Mr. Darcy would know who he is. He also might have been really nervous when going to a ball where he knows no one and the people he does know don’t really like him that he clings to the only person familiar.

In fact, I do find it interesting that Elizabeth is horrified with Mr. Collins’ behavior, yet Mr. Darcy doesn’t even mention it in his letter.

“The situation of your mother’s family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father.”

Mr. Darcy’s Letter from Pride and Prejudice

And the last time we see Mr. Collins he is showing off to Elizabeth, the girl who rejected him, all that could have been hers. Even though this behavior is rude; let’s be honest, I don’t know a single person in this world who would not try to show off to someone who rejected them.

I also think that while his letter to the Bennets regarding Lydia running away with Wickham was quite the letter, but to be fair I do think him being untactful stems from him not knowing what to say in this situation and Mr. Collins presuming his time with the Bennets meant they were much closer than the Bennets thought they were. His letter doesn’t read to me as a cruel unfeeling man, but one that is not graced at emotional norms. We see where he tries to make the Bennets feel better, that maybe their parenting isn’t completely at fault for Lydia’s ruinous behavior, but perhaps it was a predestined occurrence that would have happened even if they were perfect parents. This isn’t what anyone would want to hear, but that is the exact type of thing people always say with tragedies when they aren’t sure what can be done to help. I would see this a lot when I used to work with grieving kids-people who have never experienced grief and want to do something to help will always say terrible things, not meaning to and not knowing it is the last thing the person wants to hear. I think that Mr. Collins knows he should say something to comfort his family- but that type of thing always happens to OTHER people, not people YOU know- and he asked Lady Catherine for advice (and she was zero help), and wrote a letter that was not soothing at all.

The other thing that bothers me about these adaptations with the Collinses, is we never see Mr. Collins at home relaxed. For instance, we see the real Mr. Darcy, once he is at Pemberley and all pretense has faded away. I would like an adaptation that shows Mr. Collins in a normal home situation, where he would be more comfortable and not trying to please everyone or show off his accomplishments.

So while Mr. Collins may have his annoying moments, is silly, socially unaware, untactful, a people pleaser, and presumes relationships are closer than they really are; he does have a good heart and he strikes me as someone who would be a good husband and treat his wife well. I would like to see an adaptation where he isn’t being compared to Mr. Bingley or Mr. Darcy; but where we have someone write his story.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice Audiobook Narrated by Kate Kellgren

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptations, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more on Mr. Collins, go to Charlotte’s Story

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Emma

Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Emma

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.

For more Jane Austen Children’s Stories, go to Northanger Abbey

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

For more on Emma book adaptations, go to Emma Manga

For more on Emma, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen Children’s Stories #5) by Jane Austen, adapted by Gemma Barder

If you’ve been following me, you know that I love to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my nieces and my friends’ children.

So 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.

One day I was on Amazon when this Jane Austen Children’s Stories series came across my book recommendations. This 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 a thick chapter books. Each novel has easy to read text, illustrations, but at the same time still retain 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.

Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is a parody of gothic novels and a satire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, and the. delightful and handsome Mr. Tilney. She also has another less moral man vying for her affections, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home, Northanger Abbey, and while there wonders if there is a dark secret on the premises. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?

I thought the adaption was very well done as it reminded me a lot of the Great Illustrated Classics series I used to read when I was a child, but geared for a slightly younger age. They kept the plot of the book, but removed some of the language or plot points that would sail over a elementary aged child’s head.

I also enjoyed the illustrations, well…except for the men’s outfits, they were not accurate.

I love the way they drew General Tilney. Look how sour he is, there is no doubt that General Tilney is an unpleasant man. Just look at his face.

I really enjoyed it, and I’m hoping my 10 year old cousin, who I purchased it for, will love it as well (fingers crossed). If you are looking for Jane Austen for an elementary schooled child in your life, then I definitely recommend giving this series a read.

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

For more on Northanger Abbey book adaptations, go to Jane in Love

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to What’s a Girl To Do When Your Parents Won’t Allow You to Live Your Gothic Dreams?

Pride and Prejudice Audiobook Narrated by Kate Kellgren

I love audiobooks!

I never was really interested in audiobooks until I downloaded overdrive (now MeetLibby) to become better familiar with it, in order to assist library patrons. However, I started listening to them when getting ready in the morning, traveling, cleaning, etc.; and was hooked.

My book club met last month and my pick was Pride and Prejudice. I lent out my copies to the book club members and was going to read off my kindle app, as I always have it with me, but then I spotted this audiobook on MeetLibby and figured why not give it a listen as well? After all:

I really enjoyed this audiobook version as I felt Kate Kellgren did a wonderful job at distinguishing the different voices. As you may recall from earlier reviews, if I don’t like the way the reader/narrator does the voices then I cannot listen to them.

I especially loved Kellgren’s Caroline Bingley voice as she sounded posh, cold, and mean. Exactly how I imagine her to sound when I read the book.

Listening to an audiobook can sometimes bring to light passages you forget about or help see it in a new light. For instance we always laugh about how Elizabeth’s mind changes seeing Pemberley.

But listening to it I was reminded that while she thinks better of Mr. Darcy, she isn’t completely won over until she meets his housekeeper, sees how he honors his father’s wishes and keeps the miniature of Mr. Wickham up (even though he hates him), and how he treats her “Cheapside” relatives with respect. After this she changes from believing she inaccurately judged his character to admiration for the type of person he is.

And of course after he helps her and her family, she fully moves from admiration to love!

If you are looking for a good audiobook to listen to, I highly recommend.

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to An Affectionate Heart

For more audiobooks, go to Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl Audiobook