Emma and Knightley
As Emma and Knightley opens, the titular couple has been married for over a year when tragic news arrives: Jane Fairfax, married to Frank Churchill, has died following childbirth. Her demise sends Frank into a Byronic tailspin and back into the environs of Highbury—where his indiscreet and increasingly wild behavior causes Emma much distress. Meanwhile, the finances of Mr. Knightley’s younger brother, John, take a drastic turn for the worse, necessitating a sudden trip to London. Can the relatively new Knightley marriage—already a little tense as the spouses adjust to their new roles and to Mr. Woodhouse’s constant presence—survive these sudden strains?
First published in 1996, this is a lively, absorbing continuation of Jane Austen’s classic, with a plausible storyline and a cast that includes both familiar faces and some memorable newcomers. Billington’s characters are true to their originals, yet stand well on their own, even managing to surprise the reader from time to time. Janeites and non-Janeites alike should enjoy this engaging novel.