Emma of 83rd Street by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding
May 23, 2023 by Gallery Books
Taken from Goodreads: In this witty and romantic debut novel, Jane Austen’s Emma meets the misadventures of Manhattan’s modern dating scene as two lifelong friends discover that, in the search for love, you sometimes don’t have to look any further than your own backyard.
Beautiful, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse has lived twenty-three years in her tight-knit Upper East Side neighborhood with very little to distress or vex her…that is, until her budding matchmaking hobby results in her sister’s marriage—and subsequent move downtown. Now, with her sister gone and all her friends traveling abroad, Emma must start her final year of grad school grappling with an entirely new emotion: boredom. So when she meets Nadine, a wide-eyed Ohio transplant with a heart of gold and drugstore blonde highlights to match, Emma not only sees a potential new friend but a new project. If only her overbearing neighbor George Knightley would get out of her way.
Handsome, smart, and successful, the only thing that frustrates Knightley more than a corked whiskey is his childhood friend, Emma. Whether it’s her shopping sprees between classes or her revolving door of ill-conceived hobbies, he is only too happy to lecture her on all the finer points of adulthood she’s so hell-bent on ignoring. But despite his gripes—and much to his own chagrin—Knightley can’t help but notice that the girl next door is a woman now…one who he suddenly can’t get out of his head.
As Emma’s best laid plans collide with everyone from hipster baristas to meddling family members to flaky playboy millionaires, these two friends slowly realize their need to always be right has been usurped by a new need entirely, and it’s not long before they discover that even the most familiar stories still have some surprises.
My Thoughts: Emma on 83rd Street is a quick and easy book to read. I found the story moved quick enough that I was never bored. I enjoyed the characters and found the dynamic between Emma and George (aka Knightley) flirty and realistic. They grew up as friends, almost sister and brother, but realized that there could be more to their friendship. Neither of them wanted to take that first step. They did not believe that the other felt the same way.
Emma’s family was a lot. They were constantly in each other’s business. The dad, he was not a good father. He did not mean to, but he held his daughter’s back from living their lives. I am not sure that the author meant to write him as an unlikable character, but I cringed every time he was making a statement. Emma’s sister was happily married and that left Emma to live with her dad and deal with his negativity. Then enters Knightley, the next-door neighbor. He is something else, but I felt from the beginning that he had Emma’s best interest at heart. He was like a little kid, if I am mean to the girl, it means I like her.
Emma of 83rd Street is a book I read in one sitting but I will admit that the characters were not overly likable. I did skim some of the pages as I felt there was too much description and not enough conversation, but that could be because everyone was always telling everyone else what they did wrong or what they should be doing.
Thank you Gallery Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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