by Rachel Billington
So, part of the reason that I read Emma was so I could read this sequel (and Joan Aiken’s Jane Fairfax). Frequently, Jane Austen sequels/rewrites are basically pornographic novels, which is quite depressing. However, Emma & Knightly was a delightful little read.
Billington explores the the most obvious potential pitfall of the marriage between these two characters–the fact that Knightly has grown up regarding Emma as his personal young charge, to admonish and guide. Through the story, they learn to relate to each other two adults, husband and wife. Old characters appear, and even Mr. Woodhouse has his opportunity for romance.
I would give this happy story an easy 3/5. It would be a 4, except for Frank Churchill, whose part in the story spiraled completely out of control–
The downside to this book is the storyline involving Frank Churchill. At the beginning of the story, the tragic news reaches Highbury that Jane Churchill (formerly Fairfax) has died in childbirth. Throughout the rest of the tale, Frank keeps cropping up, getting crazier by the moment. He even manages to scare Mrs. Bates literally to death by peering in the window to see Jane’s old pianoforte. (An actual impossibility, actually, as Austen is quite clear that the Bateses live on the second floor of building.)
I just really feel that the story could have moved along in other ways without the implementation of the over-dramatic Frank hiding out in the Abbey threatening to kill himself all the time.