In the Bookcase


Book Review: Emmeline

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (5 star review)


written by Sarah Holman

214 pages // published in 2017 // Christian historical fiction


What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?

My Review

5 Star Rating

"Emmeline" is a great historical twist on a Jane Austen classic, and is well-written. It certainly kept my interest piquéd from the first page to the last!

I'm actually not even an Austen reader (yet!), but this book is certainly nudging me to start reading some of her books. (Like, right now.) Similar to how fairy tale retellings are all the craze right now, this series is something new. It's a retelling of classic literature, set in a different time period than the original, and with some of the elements switched around -- but the skeleton of the story is the same. I'm in love with this novel idea. What avid reader wouldn't be?!

The time period sets Emmeline's story in America during the first year of the Great Depression (as opposed to Regency England in the original plot). American business is declining overall, workers are being laid off, and most families' budgets are already tightening fast. As Emmeline's neighbor and dear friend Fredrick Knight says, "I can't make any promises. These are uncertain times."

Let's talk about the main character. Emmeline is a young, well-meaning woman -- with designs to matchmake her friends together, like it's the most thrilling puzzle she's ever tried to accomplish. She encourages ideas for other people that are not always wise -- and especially in the case of how she "helps" Catarina, a German girl, to blend in with society better. In this particular and somewhat unusual friendship, it was like watching "My Fair Lady" unfold on the sidelines while reading the book. (i.e., kinda loved it!) But personally, I couldn't connect with Emmaline's character well, because she has a much different personality that I, but still I found her antics fun to watch! Even if she is kind, generous, and well-meaning, her ideas sometimes lead herself and others astray. There's a VERY touching moment as she comes to realize some of this. We can all learn from our mistakes if we allow the grace of God to shine His light on our life, even in the midst of romantic blunders and youthful perils.

I would consider this a "clean" read, with good Christian influences in it. You're not going to find any objectionable content! I fully respect how the book tactfully covered issues such as modesty in the late 1920s / early 1930s, and opinions of what some Christians thought of other moral issues in America, like dancing or going to see movies.

This novel has a professional polish to it! It's also well-researched and there are many historical details in there, which really help the story sparkle.

Visit The Vintage Jane Austen book series online!

The Vintage Jane Austen book series

Keep in mind, this is the first in a series of Jane Austen retellings by various authors. I, for one, look forward to seeing which one comes out next!

Available on Amazon in e-book format.

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1 comment:

  1. This book sounds so interesting! Jane Austen in America sounds very interesting.
    Check out my this week's review on Accidently on Purpose by Jill Shalvis Here!