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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Emma And the Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson

Emma and the Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (289 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fern

What better place than pale England to hide a secret society of gentlemen vampires?

In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she’s the one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately, Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his unbeating heart—his (literal) undying love for her… A brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead.

Recently, there has been an upsurge of books that are a combination of classic meets modern. In some cases, it is done in a manner that revises material to make it more contemporary. In others, it is created to make a beloved book something far different -- as well as undeniably macabre. It is the latter reason that tweaked my interest to read Emma and the Vampires. The retelling of the much loved Jane Austen tale combined with a merging of creatures that drink blood and wither in the sun was impossible to resist. For the most part, the concept worked. I was excited to meet a newer, feisty Emma who slays vampires while also finding time to match make, and engage in witty exchanges with the ever sexy (if now bloodthirsty) Mr. Knightley. The familiar faces and names were ones I was eager to see. Unfortunately, there was one very obvious difference in the work, and it didn’t involve blood sucking or suitors with black eyes and cold body temperatures.

In Emma, the women who surrounded the too-mischievous-for-her-own good heroine were all clever in their own right. While it is true that they missed certain clues placed before them, I found I couldn’t make myself believe these women who were aware vampires existed continually failed to see those gentlemen vampires directly in front of them. As the story progressed, it became rather annoying. Certainly there were portions of the book that caused me to laugh out loud, but more often than not I found myself disappointed at the path the author chose to take.

However, aside from this, I must confess that I was smitten with Emma and the Vampires. Mr. Knightley as a vampire is most swoon-worthy and the heart of the story remains intact. The writing is also quite good, and stays true to form of the work. I would recommend this book to anyone who is enjoying the newer mash-ups of classics with popular entertainment. Or better yet, encourage those who have never read the book that inspired Emma and the Vampires a chance to entertain you in the reading chair.