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A visit to Highbury
Austen-Leigh, Joan.
Adult Fiction AUSTEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The Austen connection is tenuous but real: Austen-Leigh is the great-granddaughter of Jane Austen's nephew. Here she offers a retelling of Emma that's at once playful and respectful. By adopting the point of view of Mary Goddard, headmistress of the school where the ingenuous Harriet Smith is a parlor boarder, the modern-day author is able-with a minimum of intrusion-to observe much of the romantic goings-on of Highbury's young singles. Like Jane Austen's own early novel, Lady Susan, this tale proceeds through an exchange of letters, between Mary Goddard and her much younger sister, Charlotte Pinkney, currently on her second marriage-to an overly reserved and unaccountably stingy husband. Mrs. Goddard regales her unhappy sister with a chronicle of the romantic mishaps well known to Emma fans. Then Mrs. Pinkney recounts the small events of her own life, her thawing relations with her new husband and an amusing trip to Bath, during which she meets Mr. Elton and his odious bride-to-be. As the narrative wends its way to its buoyant conclusion, alert readers can amuse themselves by picking up the author's numerous sly references to the world of 19th-century writers and literature. Though the tone does not ring true in scattered moments, for the most part this novel adds a pleasing postscript to Austen's brilliant original. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In the dubious but best-selling tradition of authors like Alexandra Ripley (Scarlett) and Lin Haire-Sargeant (H: The Story of Heathcliff's Journey Back to Wuthering Heights), the great-great-grandniece of Jane Austen offers a sequel to the classic novel Emma (1816). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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