Member Reviews

This was adorable and the perfect fun and uplifting, cozy read.

This retelling of Jane Austen's Emma takes place in the rarified air of New York's Upper East Side, and modern day Emma is an adorable very rich and well connected girl in her early 20s finishing school.

Of course there's a neighbor and longtime family friend and a clueless newcomer for Emma to makeover. Everything about this book is cute, and it was a relaxing, fun read.

I honestly have not loved an Emma retelling so much since Clueless. I look forward to the hinted about sequel as well.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a fun read! I read it in one sitting on a long flight and just couldn't put it down. If you love Jane Austen's, "Emma" and the movie "Clueless", then you are in for a real treat. There was so much chemistry between the main characters and it really stays true to Austen's style of creating romantic tension and angst.

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Wow. I read this book and then immediately started reading it again. There's so much to savor. Yes, this is a retelling of Emma, but it's so much more than that. I love this Emma who works so hard and also loves her father. She is underestimated by everyone around her, and she wants to show them that she can earn her own way. Knightley is infuriating and pompous and caring and steamy. He's everything. The authors really have him dialed in. I love present-day New York in this book. I love that the characters have tease and right and have sex and it feels realistic. I couldn't love this book more.

Thanks NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book..

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This is a cute, easy read and shouldn't look too deeply into characters or storyline developments. Emma's character is very childish, yet she sometimes sounds grown up. She's not the only character that voice is not consistent. I guess I didn't look at the fact two authors wrote it. However, I've read books with multiple authors, and the character is very consistent.

Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for letting me read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This was so much fun to read! I enjoyed the NYC setting, including all of the details about the city. The story transported me to a world I am definitely not familiar with so it was a pleasant break. The nods to Jane Austen were appreciated throughout and I loved the side character of Nadine. She found her own way throughout the story with just a little help from her friends. The ending wrapped everything up nicely and left you feeling inspired. Overall, this was a great way to spend a day of my winter break!

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EMMA OF 83rd STREET - Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding

Thank you to @netgalley and @gallerybooks for giving me the chance to view an advance readers copy of this book. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan so I was thrilled when I got the email.

This is a modern retelling of Austen’s Emma, set in New York City and Emma is a 23 year old wealthy socialite. What I love about a good retelling is that despite knowing what’s going to happen, it still feels fresh. This book nailed it!

It follows the original book pretty closely - more so than Clueless (but it has similar vibes). We have a cast of very similar characters, including Mrs. Pawloski, who serves as a great Miss Bates. Emma’s father, Mr. Woodhouse, was also done really well. He was the perfect mix of overprotective, yet somewhat removed. There is also Nadine, serving as our Harriet Smith. Her ending was a little different from Harriet’s, but I loved it.

And of course there is Emma and Knightley! Emma was… infuriating. In the best way. The story just doesn’t work if Emma is someone already fully developed. She’s messy, she makes mistakes, she’s selfish and spoiled - but we want to see her succeed. Knightley is sweet, but condescending. He wants to do right by people, but is also quick to judge. Their banter is perfect and the chemistry is undeniable.

What makes this version really different, is that we get a few chapters from Knightley’s point of view. We get to see him realize he’s in love with Emma, and how he comes to terms with it. I thought this was a really great addition to the story - it certainly drew the familiar plot along.

The book also plants seeds for a possible Pride and Prejudice retelling in this universe! So let’s make this book a hit so that can happen, yes?

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Adapting classics can be very hit or miss, but Emma of 83rd Street is an example of how to do it extremely well. The characters were charming and had great chemistry. While the plot loosely followed the structure of the original, enough adjustments were made to keep the story engaging.

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Emma of 83rd Street was an absolute delight! The premise intrigued me immediately, however, I'm not always the biggest fan of adaptations, but this book knocked it out of the park!

Emma was sweet and her character growth was superb, and Knightly will be one of the favorite book boyfriends of 2023! It was friends to lovers with sarcastic and slightly antagonist banter that left you wanting more and more. The characters push each other to grow and become their best versions. And the chemistry between the two main characters was off the charts. The cast of supporting characters was lovable and goofy.

I also loved the writing style. It was mainly told from Emma's perspective, but there were just enough chapters of Knightly's POV/inner monologue to make you love him more and give a fresh perspective on the story. The authors also have another spin-off story set in Austen's world teed up at the end and I will be first in line to read their next book!

I absolutely recommend Emma of 83rd Street to anyone looking for a sweet modern romance, especially those who love Jane Austen!

Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an ARC of this fantastic book!

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Emma of 83rd Street was SUCH A DELIGHT! Wow did I love this book so much! As a massive Jane Austen fan, this just totally hit the spot and was such a fresh and well done retelling of Emma. I was really pleasantly surprised by how well the chemistry between Knightley and Emma was written. Bellezza and Harding managed to meld the story of a charming, if somewhat spoiled, young woman's growth with a really lovely friends-to-lovers romance that was believable, sweet and sexy.

I am SO excited by the tease for Will's story and am VERY eagerly awaiting the next installment from these authors!

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This modern take on Jane Austen’s Emma is just fantastic! I read Emma many years ago and yet I could get a sense of how this book’s Emma was similar to Austen’s Emma. I loved that the story is based in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and loved the group of characters.

Emma is a little entitled, thinks she can matchmake her friend Nadine and make her over into a more fashionable self. Sometimes you get the feeling she’s like a puppet master and she’s moving the strings. In spite of her machinations, she has a heart of gold and her essence is to help others. Her father is a riot with his horrible kale smoothies, her sister Margo is a little intrusive and dominant but she also means good.

I loved broody Knightley. I don’t remember the character in Austen’s book, but this one was perfect for the story and perfect for Emma. The slow burn in the story, Emma’s ingenuity in not recognizing the chemistry between them, her constant optimism were all the layers that made this book so enjoyable. Poor Emma was so deluded and she was the last one to even realize her feelings, it was so cute.

The transition from friends to lovers is slow and completely believable. Actually, we knew they were in love way faster than they realized. I loved that it was a slow burn, no sexy times until later in the book, so we were delighted with a beautiful story, completely dependent on character and plot line. It was beautiful and now I want more. There’s a character, one of Knightley’s friends called William Darcy so I already have designs on the next one!

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Wow; I loved this! Not all Austen adaptations are created equal, but this one captures the essence and charm of its source material with a few winks to other notable Emma adaptations, like Clueless, along the way. The setting, in high society NYC, really worked for the base of this story - I loved that the city and the houses felt like they were characters too; the use of brunch at Tavern on the Green to mirror the picnic at Box Hill was a particular delight. The thing about reimagining a classic is that many many many people understand how the story is going to go and it can be really hard to have a unique and charming take, but even though the story was family, the characters felt inspired and modern. This venture capital entrepreneur Knightley felt so right and I loved seeing him and Emma finally understand that their one true love has been right in front of them the whole time. I truly can't wait to make everyone read this when it comes out!

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This was a cute book. I liked that it was dual POV, something I hadn’t known in advance that ended up being a nice surprise. I liked the way all the side characters had formed a solid group (though I wouldn’t qualify this as “found family”) and would hang out with and support each other. And though I’m going to get into things I didn’t like about their relationship later, the fun banter between them and how much they clearly cared about each other was nice. And this was definitely a lot more interesting than the original Emma.

As for what I didn’t like, I’ll start with Emma and Knightley’s relationship. Obviously an age gap is kind of a given in an Emma retelling, but I just was not a fan at all of that aspect of Emma and Knightley’s relationship. The way he would correct her about things and hold the fact that he was a “real” adult over her head (whether on purpose or not) felt too much like parenting for me to be comfortable while reading it. There’s even a line somewhere that says something like “Emma’s dad never was the one to discipline/yell at her when she does things wrong, Knightley was the one who did that.” I’m sorry but I just can’t get over knowing someone from when they’re born then getting together when you’re 30 and she’s 23. Also I felt like I wasn’t really seeing their relationship developing that well. I am the biggest sucker for childhood friends to lovers, but a big reason for that is because I like seeing long time pining. That was not the case here, as both of them realized their attraction to each other was more serious within the plot of the book. But somehow I wasn’t really seeing where that had come from and I wished we could’ve seen more of a backstory (but also with that 7 year age gap, it’s a good thing they didn’t realize too much earlier). It felt like the second they both realized they had real romantic feelings, they were miscommunicating, avoiding each other, etc.

I didn’t love Emma’s character, which was also part of the nature of an Emma retelling. She was either too pushy or a pushover, no in between. And I felt like Knightley was kind of frustrating to read about because of the whole parenting type dynamic he had with Emma, and how he seemed to unintentionally look down on her.

There were randomly time gaps and events were talked about later that should’ve been written on the page. It was jarring when a chapter would start with events happening two weeks after the events of the previous chapter. Obviously if nothing important to the plot had happened in that time it would be fine, but that wasn’t always the case and I felt kind of left out as a reader.

I feel like this review is really negative but honestly my main problem was with Emma and Knightley’s relationship dynamic, and most of the things I didn’t like were subjective problems. Honestly, I would likely read something from these authors again if I could tell from the start that the romance would be different from the one in this, especially considering the clear set up for a P&P retelling at the end.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book!

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What an absolutely adorable twist on one of my favorite Jane Austen stories. I was immediately hooked and loved the main character, Emma, and her friendship with her long time neighbor George. The banter was top notch, and while I'm not always fond of the miscommunication trope, this story was so fun to zip through while the main characters figured out what we already knew!

RUN and add this to your upcoming 2023 TBR line up

5/5 stars and thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the advanced digital copy for my honest review.

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Run don’t walk to add this book to your TBR list! I absolutely loved this new modern day Austen twist!! Emma as a NYC socialite (in a sense) really worked! I loved how they tied in the MET (one of my favorite places). Knightley was my favorite character and I read this book almost in one setting. Thank you netgalley and publisher for the advanced copy. I will definitely be purchasing this book when it comes out. 5 out of 5 stars!!

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Hehe! I LOVED this Austen remake and all its cuteness and romance!
Modern-day Emma is busy as ever and the next-door neighbor Knightley is both annoyed and intrigued by her. Her matchmaking skills get her into a mess yet we all know how Emma is and her friends understand her. A cute novel and a fun idea for a story!

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I was hesitant about reading this, since I am a huge Jane Austen fan, and sometimes dislike modern retellings. But I was pleasantly surprised by this book! Emma as an NYC socialite worked really well. And I liked that the authors for the most part kept to the original story. Knightley was a perfect modern-day version of the original. I do think that this book will be more enjoyable for people who have read or watched the original Emma. But overall, I would recommend!

Thank you to Net Galley for this advanced reader copy!

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Holly moly! How did I miss this splendid, addictive novel? This is most intelligent, entertaining, absolutely sexiest version of Emma! The high chemistry between Knightley and Emma leaves you breathless! Enemies to lovers and friends to lovers tropes blended in modern Manhattan elites’ lives where Emma is trying to find her life purpose, dealing with Knightley’s criticism to learn to be more mature: a grown up as her sister Margo and Knightley’s hot chef brother Ben start their own family.

Emma is sweet, smart, somewhat spoiled but still has good heart and good intentions. She is about to graduate with honors from NYU in art history, planning to apply her dream job at Met without using her father’s connections.

In the meantime she becomes wingwoman of Nadine who is her new classmate from Ohio. She helps her makeover, convincing her ditch her boyfriend, finding her own love story with Big Apple but in the meantime her sister pushes her to date with successful businessman/ entrepreneur Montgomery Knox however Emma cannot get the big boy next door out of her head. She realizes she has feelings for Knightley. And Knightley also hardly resists his feelings about her but instead of coming clean, he prefers to run away as always.

Emma has to find what she truly wants from the life and embrace with by making more honest mistakes and learn from them. And Knightley has to leave his past burdens, his problematic relationship with his father behind, living a little, opening his heart for love!
Oh boy! I loved the dual POV! I loved the characterizations!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"They're not perfect, are they?
And that's kind of the point. Even the masterpieces have flaws. Mistakes the artist tried to fix or hide. But that's not a bad thing. Those flaws don't detract from art's value. If anything, they add to it. They make them more real. More human. And no human is perfect, just like no work of art is perfect. The mistakes and idiosyncrasies are what make them unique. It's what makes them worth something."

Overall: if I could give 10 stars to this book, I would give them or donate the entire galaxy for this book! After release day, I plan to reread it! And after learning Knightley’s colleague Will’s full name, I am expecting another brilliant sequel! I cannot wait to read Elizabeth and Will’s love story!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books, Tyrinne Lewis for sharing this incredible book’s digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

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This book was fantastic! As a fan of Jane Austen and the movie "Clueless", I could not imagine a better rendition of the beloved classic. It was smart, funny, witty, and embodied the essence of Emma. Would recommend this book to those who read Emma and those who did not.

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Emma of 83rd Street by Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding is an enjoyable contemporary romance that has threads of the classic Emma woven throughout.

I enjoyed this modern take and twist of Jane Austen’s Emma. The authors take the timeless characters, add modern surroundings, concepts, ideas, and thoughts to bring us a NYC-based telling of the classic.

I always enjoy reading new takes on classics as long as it is done right, and I feel that this held true to the former. The characters were new (obviously I will never be able to compare any to the epic classic), but one can tell the inspirations for each.

It was a nice, relaxed read that was a nice break from the heavier-handed books that I have been reading.

4/5 stars

Thank you NG and Gallery Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/23/23.

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This was a solid debut! I was immediately hooked. At times Emma was immature but she’s young and she’s learning. Coming of age. Kingley was swoony!! Add this one to your list!

Thank you NetGalley for eARC in exchange for an honest review

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