Reviewed by Carla F.
Our heroine: Emma Woodhouse is the new Marketing Director at Highbury Foods. She is embarrassed to remember the teenage crush she had on older family friend, now brother-in-law, Mark Knightley. Her father who is the head and owner of Highbury Foods wants Mark to be her mentor. Just what she doesn’t need is Mark telling her what to do (again)!
Our hero: Mark Knightley has recently returned from his job in Mumbai for the family owned Donwell Organics so that his father can go on an around-the-world cruise with his second wife. He has also taken his father’s place as a non-executive director at Highbury Foods. He gladly agrees to be Emma’s mentor. However, he surprised to see her all grown up with beautiful curves and great legs.
This retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma has all the romance of the original plus it has a very appealing modern heroine. She is still the Emma that we recognize who believes that no one is better at matchmaking than her. However, she is also a college graduate who is ready to inject some new life into the family business that has been run conservatively by her father. I also liked the fact that she has been sexually active and that her growing attraction to Mark is not just one of romantic feelings.
Besides Emma’s and Knightly’s story, what made the original novel so much fun was the cast of quirky characters. They are here as well. One that stood out for me was Emma’s temporary PA Harriet Smith who is definitely not one of the upper crust. Another one was Emma’s father who worries by his health and diet so much that he won’t eat anything made by his own company.
Archer has brought all the charm of the original, updated it, and made it into enjoyable friends-to-lovers story.