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5 March 2016

Review: 'The Trouble with Emma' by Katie Oliver (2016)

There’s a fine line between matchmaking and meddling…

Stuck in a boring job, living at home with her parents and without even a glimmer of romance on the horizon, Emma Bennet’s life isn’t turning out how she planned. And since hit reality show Mind Your Manors started being filmed at the Bennet household, she’s felt more like a spare part than ever.

Matchmaking her assistant, Martine, is just the distraction Emma needs – and, whether Martine likes it or not, Emma is determined to see her coupled up before long! But when she meets Mark Knightley, the genius behind Mind Your Manors, Emma finds her own heart on the line...

Mark is everything Emma isn’t: quiet, reserved…and forever minding his own business! And suddenly, Emma is determined to prove to Mark that she’s ready to stop thinking about other people’s love lives – and focus on her own.

Ever since I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ when I was in secondary school, I’ve been in love with Jane Austen and her novels. I’ll give any adaptation or retelling of her works at least a try (yes, I’ve also read ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and am still not quite sure what to think of it…), so when I discovered author Katie Oliver was releasing a new series titled ‘The Jane Austen Factor’, to be published by author Carina UK, I immediately got excited. To be honest, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to finally check out one of Katie Oliver’s books, because she’s a big Austen fan as well and this comes back in many of her works. However, I luckily managed to get a review copy of ‘The Trouble with Emma’, which is quite a new release, and I was really excited to start reading!

Emma Bennet’s life definitely isn’t as exciting as she would like it to be. She still lives at home together with her father and younger sister, there’s no special man in her life, and she has no fantastic job to keep her occupied. So, when she sees a great opportunity for matchmaking the in-house help Martine, Emma immediately considers it her new project. However, other things are about to turn Emma's life upside down when her family home is chosen to be the next country house featured on TV show 'Mind Your Manors.' When she meets Mark Knightley, who works behind the scenes of the show, Emma can't help but be intrigued and start wondering whether it might be time to start focussing on her own love life instead that of others...

I've read hardly any modern-day adaptations of Jane Austen's classic novel 'Emma', but Katie Oliver's 'The Trouble with Emma' is definitely my favourite so far. I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary retelling from start to finish and didn't want to put it down. Of course I was already familiar with the basic plotline of the book, but author Katie Oliver really added some great modern elements and twists to the story, making it not just a great read for Austen fans but for chick lit fans as well. It's quite a challenge to have a main character who is on the one hand quite frustrating and difficult to warm to, but on the other hand you can't help but find yourself rooting for her. That's one of the strengths of Austen's original novel, in my opinion, and in this retelling the author has done a wonderful job with this as well, because I did really like Emma (but wanted to slap her in the face every now and again as well!).

The secondary characters in the novel, such as Mark Knightley, Emma's father and younger sister, and Martine, really had the author's own touch and interpretation and I loved what she did with them and how she made everything fit together. I really found myself flying through the pages of this book. Katie Oliver's writing style is fantastic; the chapters were of a perfect length and it was just a well-paced and comfortable read which I didn't want to put down. I also want to quickly mention the book covers of this series which I love; they're a great combination of modern and historical times, which suits the series really well. I'm so glad I finally got to read one of Katie Oliver's books and already can't wait to pick up the first and third instalments of her 'The Jane Austen Factor' series. 'The Trouble with Emma' is a brilliant read; a captivating and thoroughly entertaining retelling of a Jane Austen classic; I loved it!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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