Mr. Knightly, a 37 year old bachelor, has reached a time of life when he is ready to settle down and start a family. But no young lady catches his eye – except for the pretty, young, and very privileged Emma Woodhouse, who, in his opinion, needs to learn to mind her business . . .
After having spent over half my life getting to know Emma through Jane Austen’s eyes, I confess I am delighted to read her story from a male perspective. In Amanda Grange's novel, Mr. Knightley's Diary, we meet all the characters, including Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Smith, Miss Taylor, Miss Bates, Frank Churchill, and Mr. Elton. In a sense, Mr. Knightley leads a curiously parallel life to our meddling Miss Woodhouse, and he encounters her, as well as all the main characters, in each of the crucial scenes in Jane's novel.
I am especially thrilled to meet the Martin family in their own environment, and to observe their affection for Harriet Smith first-hand. We see Mr. Knightley's jealousy of Frank Churchill unfold, and his awareness of his love for Emma grow. These details, implied by Jane, are more fully described by Amanda Grange. Interestingly, I found myself mesmerized by the plot: Would Mr. Knightley get his Emma or not? Even though I knew the ending, Amanda Grange's rewriting of the plot is so fresh that one can feel Mr. Knightley's jealousy as he watches Frank Churchill flirt with her.
Mr. Knightley’s point of view is all the more enjoyable for the reader who is well acquainted with Emma's plot. In addition to satisfying our curiosity about what goes on in Mr. Knightley's mind, Amanda Grange’s writing style is easy and elegant, and the novel moves along quickly. Mr. Knightley's Diary is not a new release, since the hardback version came out last year, and Amanda Grange has created other similar diaries for Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth. Apparently this prolific author is busy polishing off the final pages to Edmund Bertrum's Diary. I can't wait to read it.
My rating for this novel is three out of three regency fans.