Emma for the 21st century

'Emma' by Alexander McCall Smith
'Emma' by Alexander McCall Smith

Following Joanna Trollope’s re-writing of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and Val McDermid’s ‘Northanger Abbey’, McCall Smith offers this sparkling retelling of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’.

We meet her as a precocious child living in an 11-bed house in Norfolk with her elder sister and bereaved father. After being appointed a governess, and learning to quote Latin, Emma is endearlingly reminiscent of Bertie from McCall Smith’s Scotland Street series .

Finally, we get to the real meat of the story: her meddling in other people’s business. It’s wonderfully updated, cwith gastropubs and Mini Coopers, gap years and reality TV shows. And it’s fun – a tongue-in-cheek, clever re-telling, familiar yet fresh.

‘Emma’ by Alexander McCall Smith is published in hardback by The Borough Press, priced £18.99 (ebook £6.64).