Emma by Jane Austen | Book Review


Published: May 6th 2003 (first published 1815)


Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

Add to Goodreads

My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Genre(s): Classic

Page Count: 474

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 0141439580

This was used for the Popsugar challenge: A book written 100 years ago. here

My thoughts on this were pretty conflicted after finishing it; on one hand the main character really bugged me, but on the other hand I liked the story and once I got past Emma’s flaws, liked her as well. Which is why I rated this 4 stars in the end, although at first I might’ve gone with a 3.5 or 3 star rating. Read on for a full review! 🙂

Quick Summary

Emma Woodhouse had never been interested in her own marriage. She has no need for it, after all, she is well cared for without the help of a man’s fortune. She does, however, take pride in her matchmaking skills and spends a lot of time in interfering aiding the love lives of others, which she finds throughout the book to have severe consequences. A story of social status and matchmaking troubles, Emma


I did like the plot, although I suppose it didn’t blow me away. There was nothing wrong with it, I guess it just didn’t interest me as much as, say, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice’s plot. But don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, and it’s one of the reasons I gave this book 4 stars. The plot was tactfully created, I just kind of flowed with it all and enjoyed it. Does that make sense? Point being, I liked the plot.


This is where most readers have issues. Emma is a very flawed character. I will tell you that right off the bat, and I’m sure most of you know that, if you’ve heard even a bit about this book. She’s naive, meddlesome, stubborn, and is quite vain; all in all, not very likeable. That being said, it was refreshing and interesting to see through the mind of such a character, despite the fact that I often felt like shaking Emma or slapping her so she would awaken and smarten up. I am happy to say, however, that even though Emma was hard to like, I still enjoyed the book. Sure, she got on my nerves, but she was still an enjoyable character, if that can be said about a person like Emma. After all, Emma isn’t a bad person, simply…  needs to be more educated and less of a vain, stubborn and meddlesome character. She did have her good qualities though; I appreciated her compassion and patience with her father, she was relatively good-humoured, and she is in some ways, mature (as she should be). By the end of the book I appreciated the development her character goes through, so all’s good. 🙂

Writing Style

Like with Pride and Prejudice, I like the writing style, but it does take some time to get used to. If you’re new to classics, I wouldn’t say I completely recommend this one as the writing style can be hard to decipher sometimes, but if you think you can understand the writing style, and enjoy the writing style, you should be able to enjoy the story overall. Otherwise you kind of might just skim stuff, or read and not understand fully what you’re reading. 😉

Movie Trailer

I haven’t watched any adaptations of Emma, but here’s a movie trailer of the 1996 one!


I really liked this book! I honestly wasn’t expecting to, especially with Emma as the protagonist, but I ended up liking this. I praise Jane Austen for creating a not-so-likeable character, it was at the very least a good portrayal that humans are flawed. If you tend to dislike annoying, stubborn and meddlesome characters, then Emma will most certainly get on your nerves, but if you can look past all that, and understand the writing style, then this novel truly isn’t that bad.

Want to have a taste? Then go! Emma is waiting.


25 thoughts on “Emma by Jane Austen | Book Review

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, even though Emma herself is very annoying as you say. You’re right when you say she’s not a bad person, just deeply flawed. Plus, her being annoying is a good way to get us on Mr Knightley’s side too (even though he does like to lecture a bit too much) – I get the impression he’d love to slap her sometimes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m glad as well, I was worried I wouldn’t because of Emma’s character, but luckily that wasn’t an issue in the end. Ha ha yes, that’s for sure! It’s not like she doesn’t deserve it sometimes… no offence! XD Their interactions were pretty entertaining. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I adore Emma and I actually like it more than Pride and Prejudice lol. And I love reading about unlikeable characters because it gives me a different perspective and I don’t read just to like the characters. I highly recommend the youtube webseries Emma Approved! It’s so fun and it made a really good companion to the book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh gosh, I think I started this book back in March and it’s still on my GR currently reading shelf. I really need to finish it! I used to read so many classics in high school. They were assigned reading but nonetheless wonderful books that I enjoyed. I hate that I haven’t read even one this year. I’m glad you enjoyed Emma though! Emma isn’t my favorite protagonist but she’s a well developed character despite her flaws. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha my fingers are crossed for you to finish it by the end of this year at least! 😉 Yep, same here, we got assigned classics in school too, and although that was kind of a downer, I enjoyed it as well. 🙂 Yes, Emma isn’t the best, but isn’t the worst either; she’s simply deeply flawed. I’m glad I was able to look past her flaws, because the book was really good. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I already have the book, I haven’t got to it yet but I think I should start it sometimes soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As well as pride and prejudice, Emma is also sat on my shelf ready to be read! After reading your review I think I’m going to read slightly easier classics before I move onto Emma but this was and awesome and very helpful review! Thank you! -Ayesha x

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you’re new to classics, then yes, I agree, reading slightly easier classics will definitely help before you read Emma. If you’re new to Jane Austen I would say you could try out Pride and Prejudice before Emma. 🙂 It’s a more enjoyable story, however both are great. ❤ Glad you found this review useful! ✡

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I read Emma sometime in the past year. (I can’t say when because it’s all been jumbled up and flown by so quickly!) Well, I listened to it and read it (thanks to Kindle Whispersync). While Pride & Prejudice is still by top favourite classic, I did enjoy Emma. I think Emma is SUPPOSED to be unlikeable, as the while she tries to make the story about all of her successful matches, the real story is about her growing up and learning to stop getting in other people’s business.

    The only thing I found weird was the age gap between Mr Knightley and Emma… The fact that he was an adult when she was a baby and remembers holding her. I can’t help but wonder when he started to be attracted to her…

    As for adaptations, I really liked the 1996 TV movie with Kate Beckinsale. And don’t forget that Clueless was based on Emma!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have only read one Jane Austen novel — “Pride and Prejudice”. I first read it in high school, where it just bored me to tears. Having read it two more times recently, I can now better appreciate Austen’s humor and thorough knowledge of human nature. “Pride and Prejudice” satirizes the social norms of the time, which include all the silly gossip and manipulative games engaged in by the women of the time, in order to snag a husband. Once I began to see the novel this way, I was able to just go along with the plot. I even began to enjoy the sharp, witty dialogues.

    It seems that “Emma” will be much the same, from what you write. Having come to appreciate “Pride and Prejudice” for its quirky characterizations and even funny satire, I’d like to dive into this one, as well. I’m sure I’d get a great, big laugh out oi if!

    Thanks for the informative review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I totally get that. I wasn’t a big fan of it myself at first, but it soon came to grow on me and I love Jane Austen’s novels so much now! (Especially P&P.) I do hope you enjoy Emma, although it’s not fully like Pride and Prejudice in terms of writing and things, it’s still an entertaining novel. ❤

      No problem, thank you for commenting!


Leave a taste of your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s