Title: George Knightley, Esquire: Lend Me Leave (Book Two)
Author: Barbara Cornthwaite
Publisher’s Synopsis: A rival for the hand of Emma Woodhouse has brought about George Knightley’s realization of the true nature of his attachment to her. He is determined to win her in spite of Frank Churchill’s charming ways, and he has only to figure out how to make her realize that they were meant for each other. As he joins the ranks of the heart-sore men of Donwell, hope grows ever more faint, but good news sometimes comes at the most unexpected moments.
Barbara Cornthwaite has written a retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma from the hero’s point of view. Carefully researched and skillfully written, this final book in the George Knightley, Esquire series tells the other side of Emma’s story.
I’ve been waiting, drumming my fingers, impatient beyond any measure of impatience you’ve ever imagined for this book. Mrs. Cornthwaite did not disappoint. I feel guilty for admitting that I like this book even better than the first, but who wouldn’t as long as it was done well? Done well… kind of like Donwell, isn’t it? Anyway, my point is, the second half is when the greatest conflict of the book occurs. Of course it’s better! Again, better if she did it well. Did she?
DEFINITELY! The characters stay within character. The plots, old and new, are engaging and faithfully rendered (where appropriate). She manages to tie up loose ends without wrapping them so neatly that you are left with the feeling that it is all a little too convenient. Isn’t that just the worst part of a story? When every character reforms so perfectly that you cannot imagine them as real. Barbara doesn’t make that mistake. She does a flawless job of leaving her characters human enough to relate to, her plots clean enough not to depress, but enough realism to leave you inspired and satisfied.
Within these pages, three men all suffer from the same malady– unrequited (for now anyway) love. Knightley swings from a “checklist” of things that he can do to secure Emma’s love to the realization that those things are doomed to failure and finds his own heart plummeting at that thought. From the Regency version of a cold shower (I laughed aloud for several minutes, trying to explain it to my husband. I got a half-smile out of him… and that’s pretty cool), to late night confessions of love– to a cat– the story advances with as many giggles as sighs. Isn’t that the very essence of what is Austen?
I sympathized with Spencer, groaned at Edmund Gilbert’s foolishness, meddled alongside Knightley in Martin’s business, and was keen to read of Knightley’s ultimate success. It was fabulous! Seeing Emma’s flaws and virtues through Knightley’s eyes was a treat that Austen didn’t give us. BRAVO! Mrs. Cornthwaite! In this book you also gain a deeper appreciation of both John Knighltey and Isabella Knightley.
All in all, our hero lives up to his name in every way.
You know, I keep trying to state just how fabulous this book is, but I can’t do it. Until you read each sentence yourself, see the masterful way Mrs. Cornthwaite has crafted her story and wove them so skillfully into those of Miss Austen, you cannot possibly understand the brilliance that is this book. The books are so well written, so faithful to the original while digging deeper into the characters, that I think if I was forced to choose between owning Austen’s Emma or Cornthwaite’s Knightley, I’d pick Knightley without hesitation.
The book is available from the author’s website, on Amazon (Kindle too!), and at Barnes & Noble.
So, if you’d like to win a free copy of this book, just post a comment and let me know if you read the first or not and how you liked it!
The Winner is:
I read the first book some months ago and I love it. My review is at my blog in case you want to read it. Honestly, I need to reread it to refresh my memory. Finally Book 2 is available so I plan to get it if I don’t win. Thank you.