Emma: A Modern Retelling (Paperback)
The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to live with her widowed father and launch her interior design business. Apart from cultivating grand career plans and managing her father’s hypochondria, Emma busies herself with the two things she does best: matchmaking and offering advice on everything from texting etiquette to first date destinations.
Happily, this summer presents abundant opportunities for both, as old and new friends are drawn into the sphere of Emma’s counsel: George Knightley, her principled brother-in-law; Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of her former governess; Harriet Smith, a naïve but enchanting young teacher’s assistant at the local language school; and the perfect (and perfectly vexing) Jane Fairfax. Carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea by cappuccinos, but Alexander McCall Smith’s sparkling satire and cozy sensibility are the perfect match for Jane Austen’s beloved tale.
About the Author
ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH is the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.
“One of the most delightful books of the year. . . . A literary jewel, just like the original.” —Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (Critics’ choice)
“McCall Smith brings all the wit and deft characterization of his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series to this reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic. . . . The lessons and pleasures of her tale are timeless.” —People Magazine
“With his fluent, soothing prose . . . [McCall Smith] takes Jane’s characters and invites them warmly into our world. . . . We like his Emma, a contemporary small-town girl who worries over dinner parties, pours gin and tonics and drives a Mini Cooper—much to the delight of her friend Harriet. . . . Jane Austen is incomparable, but if she were still with us, I can see her hastily tucking away her handwritten notes and extending her hand to Mr. McCall Smith.” —The Washington Post
“Alexander McCall Smith and Jane Austen?. . . . A delightful match it is. . . . McCall Smith’s Emma answers many interesting questions, such as how Miss Taylor went from governess to such an important friend, how Mrs. and Miss Bates became destitute, and what sort of car Emma might drive (a Mini Cooper).” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“[A] very pleasant modern update of Emma. . . . McCall Smith’s contemporary updates of Mr. Woodhouse’s hypochondria and neuroses are particularly amusing.” —Flavorwire (Staff pick)
“The Jane Austen we know is delicious enough on her own, but Austen filtered through the mind of Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith could be the best of both possible worlds. . . . Certainly unmistakable is Emma, Austen’s heroine, a born controller who believes (with unshakable certainty in both books) that other people’s happiness can be arranged for them and that she is just the one to do it. . . . This rewarding read is a fascinating pastiche of two of the most enjoyable writers in the British tradition.” —BookPage
“[McCall Smith’s] latter-day Emma possesses all the youth and beauty and a good deal of the wit of Jane Austen’s heroine. . . . McCall Smith has written a delightfully droll, thoughtful novel that reflects on money’s enduring role in relationships as well as on the nature of this meddlesome heroine’s long-lived appeal.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The keen sense of social realities and moral rightness that imbues McCall Smith’s novels is immediately evident when reading his Emma. . . . Surely Austen would be proud.” —Library Journal