Amanda's Reviews > The Watsons & Emma Watson: Jane Austen's Unfinished Novel Completed by Joan Aiken
The Watsons & Emma Watson: Jane Austen's Unfinished Novel Completed by Joan Aiken
by Joan Aiken
by Joan Aiken
Dec 22, 09
Read in December, 2009
** spoiler alert ** I really hate that I cannot do two separate ratings for this book. The first section is the original story by Jane Austen, entitled The Watsons - this part of the book is, of course, being written actually by Austen, completely brilliant. Unfortunately she did not complete very much of the story, it is just long enough to properly introduce all the characters. The second section of this book was written by Joan Aiken and entitled Emma Watson. She attempts to complete Austen's story, but does an incredibly poor job of it, I was very disappointed. I have several objections to her work, one of which is the inconsistencies between her story and the beginning that Austen laid out for her. One small but very irritating discrepancy is that Austen introduces one of the characters, a Mrs. Blake, as a widow with a 10 year old son, Charles, and they live with her brother Mr. Howard. Aiken's Mrs. Blake has four children and a living husband, who is a newly promoted captain in the navy. The first chapter of Emma Watson has Emma and her elder sister Elizabeth doing the washing, with constant interruptions from visitors. While Austen's characters may have had to do their own washing, she never, ever shows them doing such dull domestic chores, so immediately Aiken's book is off to an ill-footed start. Also, Aiken recaps the first part of the story told by Austen. This may be helpful if you were reading Emma Watson on its own, but published in a single volume immediately following The Watsons it felt a litle strange. My other complaints about this book are less specific and more general; the characters don't always act the way I think they would if Austen had written them, and there is way too much drama and scandal for my taste. Austen's novels have drama and scandal, but it is often handled with much more subtlety. For example, the scandal of Mary Edwards parentage was handled a bit too indelicately to feel like it was true to Austen's style. Not to mention the deaths of Mrs. Blake and Charles were a bit sensational.
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