A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma
About the Book
Charming, intelligent, and imperious, Miss Emma Woodhouse, the eponymous heroine of Emma, is one of Jane Austen’s best-loved creations – as is the village of Highbury turned upside down by Emma’s well-intentioned but misguided matchmaking. Joan Austen-Leigh, Austen’s own great-great-grandniece, takes readers back to this world with a novel of such style, wit, and wisdom that it is sure to thrill Austen fans both old and new. Utterly faithful to the original story of Emma, A Visit to Highbury is a parallel novel that looks at life in Austen’s beloved village through the eyes of Mrs. Goddard, the mistress of the local school attended by Emma’s protegee, Harriet Smith. Mrs. Goddard’s London-based sister, Mrs. Pinkney, has made a rather hasty second marriage. Lonely for company, she begs Mrs. Goddard for news. In the gossipy exchange of letters that ensues, the sisters speculate about such mysteries as the origins of Jane Fairfax’s pianoforte, why young Harriet would have declined Robert Martin’s marriage proposal, and what caused Mr. Elton to rush off to Bath. These stories unfold along with Mrs. Pinkney’s own heartwarming tale, for – in true Austen tradition – hers is a story of love threatened by misunderstanding. With prose as sparkling and insightful as her esteemed ancestor’s, Austen-Leigh offers a work that is an essential companion to Emma and a delightful novel in its own right.