Ew. How’s that for a review in one word?  In the interest of full-disclosure, I have to admit that I generally don’t like any diary-formatted types of stories.  I’ve always found them to be too weak. The author basically gets a free ride on character development.  And half of the fun of novel reading is getting into other people’s heads, seeing the way that they tick, and then buying it in the plot line that hte author has weaved.  I should also say that I have read a couple of other books by Amanda Grange, and really was just not impressed.

So Mr. Knightley’s Diary is his perspective from Jane Austen‘s Emma. He’s the only other Austen male protagonist that I’ve ever thought, ooh, lovely, broody, and yummy.  He’s a little on the anti-social side, but his heart is in the right place and he calls it like he sees it.  What’s not to love?  So I’ve longed to read a good Emma-from-his-perspective kind of novel.  And this wasn’t it.

There was really nothing deep into his thoughts and his reasoning.  At most there were a few conjectures about his relationship and visits with his brother John in London and a possible card club that he participated in Highbury.  There was really no addition to the story. You don’t get to know him any more than he appears in the original story.  More importantly, and the reason for my disappointment, there was no true or reasonable delving into his psyche to see how he comes to love Emma. I think the author wants you to see it as a gradual progression of falling in love and then realization that is sudden. But it’s light on believability.

And that’s kind of entertaining to me because I have the same problem with the original novel. Notice that before I said Mr. Knightley was my second favorite Austen man (only behind Darcy :)) but I did not say that Emma was my second favorite Austin novel. I’ve never really cared for it because Emma herself is so ruddy annoying. She’s spoiled, selfish and an annoying creature. That she landed Mr. Knightley has always irritated me because I couldn’t even buy Jane Austen’s version of Mr. Knightley falling in love with her. Falling in convenience? yes. Falling into expectation? Sure. But Love? Not so much. He’s too smart and level-headed for her. I think she would drive him batty for the rest of their natural lives.

So maybe I’m too hard on Ms. Grange . . . I needed her to fix what not even Ms. Austen herself could.  Still, a little more imagination would have made this read more enjoyable.  If your library has it and you’re determined to read something Emma-like, fine, read it. If you have to buy it, pass.

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