What makes Jane Austen a part of the literary canon is that her stories are timeless. Just over 200 years ago, her stories were published anonymously “by a lady” and slowly gained the popularity that turned them into phenomenons today. Chances are you haven’t taken an English class without having read one of Austen’s novels.
But just in case you don’t particularly enjoy reading the style of 1800s English, Austen’s stories have inspired countless retellings over the years. (Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, anyone?) To celebrate the 206th publishing birthday of one of her most famous novels, Emma, here are five modern bookish adaptations of the timeless classic.
The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham
If you’re a die-hard fan of Bridgerton, you’re going to love this Emma retelling. Lady Constance Stonewell unintentionally ruins the livelihood of a fellow Earl when she takes her gossip column a tad too far. She then feels obliged to offer the Earl of Apthorp her hand in marriage to make it up to him. But the more time the two spend together, they realize that their once faux engagement may turn into the real thing.
Off Script by Kate Watson
Nothing sounds more exciting than a classic novel taking place in the big city. Emma Crawford is a teen starlet who does everything she can to balance Hollywood with a semi-normal life. She goes to college, has normal friends, and goes home to visit family. So when she finds herself back in New York for a job, she winds up becoming a career match-maker on her search to finding an assistant. The only flaw in her plan? Her ex-best friend’s older brother. Well, and all the flaws he points out, too.
Aisha by Ikhlas Hussain
Aisha Ali may not believe in love for herself, but ironically, finding love for others is her job. At the Islamic Marriage Bureau, Aisha finds the perfect match for her clients so that their arranged marriages are successful. But when a new candidate moves to her small-town, she realizes that love may not be as bad as she once thought. Yes, the new man is Muslim, but he is everything else that her family doesn’t want. Can Aisha get past the stubborn ideas from her upbringing, or will she stay loyal to her family and culture?
The Highbury Murders by Victoria Grossack
Mix Jane Austen’s English flair with Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries and you get this stunning novel set in Highbury a year after the events of Emma. When the death of Mrs. Bates befalls the small town, Emma discovers more about her village than she bargained for. Is Highbury the same place that she has always known and loved, or has her town turned into something more sinister right under her nose?
The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
In the fourth installment of The Rajes series, Sonali Dev takes on Austen’s Emma from the perspective of an Indian-American. Knightlina Kohl is almost forty and has just ended a decade-long marriage. She wants nothing more to do with her ex-husband’s family and instead does everything to focus on growing her foundation. Suddenly her ex-husband’s brother Vansh Raje, a popular and rich man in society, enters her life, and lines get blurred. Can she balance getting the funding for her foundation as well as develop a relationship with the charming Vansh? You’ll have to wait until May 2022 to find out!
FEATURED IMAGE BY VOX