Title: George Knightley, Esquire
Subtitle: Charity Envieth Not
Author: Barbara Cornthwaite
Publisher’s Synopsis: George Knightley is the owner of a considerable estate, a landlord, a magistrate, and a bachelor-a state that his brother John is perpetually prodding him to change. Thankfully, there is no one remotely suitable in his entire circle of acquaintance…or so he thinks. An unwanted interloper, a few romantic mishaps amongst his friends, and the dawning realization that Emma Woodhouse is no longer a child might just change everything.
In the tradition of fellow Crownhill Writers Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman) and Susan Kaye (Fredrick Wentworth, Captain), Barbara Cornthwaite has written a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s novels from the hero’s point of view. Carefully researched and skillfully written, George Knightley, Esquire tells the other side of Emma’s story.
I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have the privilege of reviewing this book for Barbara Cornthwaite. An expert writer with the ability to write flawlesly in the style of Regency era authors, Barbara has taken Jane Austen’s Emma and written the story from a new perspective– that of George Knightley. One of the most beloved of Austen’s heroes, the esteemed Mr. Knightley is best described in Emma’s words to Harriet when discussing the qualities of underappreciated Mr. Martin, “You might not see one in a hundred with gentleman so plainly written as in Mr. Knightley.” While Emma may have been wrong about the poor farmer, her recognition of Mr. Knightley’s excellent character and manners is spot on.
This book is the first of Barbara’s expansion of the beloved story of Emma Woodhouse. All of my favorite characters are faithfully rendered while giving me a bit of insight from other points of view, primarily Mr. Knightley’s. Minor characters come to the forefront and I became caught up in their lives as well. I didn’t read a single line that said, “Wait, that wouldn’t have happened!” Which, in my opinion, is quite impressive. The author gave me a glimpse of Emma from her perspective without removing Austen’s . That seems to me to be a very difficult thing to achieve.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that I am very nit-picky, but I truly only have one complaint about this book. I’m very sorry to say that with all of its perfections, it has one very glaring flaw. I feel badly for mentioning it, but I don’t think it would be an honest review without telling my major (and one) disappointment. The book ends before the story does– and book two isn’t written yet! This is appalling, and I think the author needs to rectify the situation forthwith!
Truly, if you are an Austenophile, buy the book. Do not go past the checkbook, do not look and see that it only has $200.00. Just buy it, wrap it for yourself, and enjoy on Christmas morning. I would tell you not to wait until then to dive into its wonderful depths, but the longer you put off reading it, the shorter the wait for the next book. Make sure you have plenty of hot chocolate, ‘biscuits’, and of course, strawberries.
As my own promotion of this book, I am giving away a single copy. It will be purchased online and shipped directly to the winner’s door. If I can get the author to do it, I will ask her to autograph a bookplate and mail it to you, but I can’t make promises (She’s in Ireland so it isn’t something I can guarantee).
Just leave a comment and tell me who your favorite Austen character is and why. You can enter multiple times, but then you have to find other things to tell me about what you like about Emma… maybe who you hope is in it, who you hope isn’t, or something of that sort. I will draw names on New Year’s Eve and announce New Year’s Day.