Cover Image: Emma of 83rd Street

Emma of 83rd Street

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Member Reviews

I’m a huge lover of Jane Austen, so any book that has anything to do with her or her work is a book I need to read!

I don’t always get on with modern adaptions of her novels, but this one worked for me! Emma makes a great contemporary character and her story works so well in modern day.

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Much like the original Emma by Jane Austen that inspired this book, I could not break through the initial chapters. I put this book down after several attempts to read it and walked away.

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Fun reimagining of Jane Austen's Emma! Emma Woodhouse is a privileged Manhattanite who lives to verbally spar with her neighbor George Knightley. The Woodhouse girls and the Knightley boys have been neighbors all their lives and are used to living as one family. First Margo and Ben unite but Emma is uninterested in making the same leap. She is enjoying her grad school experience as an art history major and is preparing to interview for a coveted internship at the Met.
Emma is not my favorite Austen novel because Emma is just so entitled but I felt like this reimagining left in all of the good Emma characteristics and really didn't emphasize the bad ones. I loved that the "Harriet" character-while "clueless" ;), was a little more interesting and self-empowered than in the original version.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in return for my honest review.

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I haven't read Emma by Jane Austen, but I thoroughly enjoyed this modern retelling following a socialite on the Upper East Side. Emma is a charming character — while she can be a bit headstrong and unaware of her privilege, she has a heart of gold and is always looking out for those around her.

We see her grow as she wants to succeed on her own merits, and I loved her connection with Knightley, her lifetime neighbor and friend. Their tension in the early pages was crackling.

I do think it slowed a little in the middle, but such is the case with a slow-burn romance with lots of pining. Enjoyed this one overall and look forward to more from this author duo... hoping Mr. Darcy is up next!

Thank you Gallery Books for the advance copy; all opinions are my own!

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There’s not an iteration of Emma that isn’t enchanting. This modern retelling captures the essence of Austen’s original with some clever updates and a few character twists. Nothing will ever trump the original, but this is a great addition to the contemporary offerings on this classic tale.

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I thought this book was a very cute and fun retelling of Emma! As a huge fan of the Austen novel, I loved picking out all of the references and matching up the characters to their original characters. It was a little predictable since I know the original story, but that’s kind of what I signed up for when I picked up a retelling of a book I’ve read a hundred times.

I really liked the characterization of Emma. I found her to be sweet and charming while also having her flaws (although I wanted to punch her when she turned down the Met internship. I know you wanted to get it by your own merits but girl use your connections!!! The employment market is tough out there!)

I will say I didn’t really like the addition of Knightley’s point of view. I felt that it detracted from the main focal point of Emma and didn’t allow her to have the moments of realization as much as I wished.

Overall a very cute and easy read and a fun retelling of one of my favorite classics!

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3 1/2

I believe by now after many film adaptations and book retellings, we know the story of Emma, a rich girl who fancies herself a matchmaker. She lives alone (if living with a house full of help can be considered alone) with her aging father while next door lives Knightley, her best friend who seems almost like a brother and in at least the Clueless version is her ex-stepbrother.

In Emma of 83rd Street the author duo of Audrey Bellezza and Emily Harding do a good job of navigating the character of Emma, who can come off as un-self-aware, snobby, and self-centered in the wrong hands. Here she is constantly growing, wanting to be her own person and facing challenges on her own terms. Sometimes, yes, she does think she knows best but Knightley helps keep her from being arrogant.

I loved how Emma has unbreakable bond with her deceased mother through art, which Emma maintains by obtaining a degree in it and making it her professional life.

Much of Emma of 83rd Street is enjoyable as Emma acquires new best friend, Nadine, while her long-time best friends are off on adventures. Emma helps Nadine navigate the waters of Manhattan with a makeover and tips but it’s clear that Nadine is not a Barbie doll for Emma to simple makeover and manipulate as she has her own goals and desires and won’t be taken advantage of.

Where this novel falls short for me is the characterization of Knightley. Here we have a character who has been portrayed onscreen by Paul Rudd, Jeremy Northam, Jonny Lee Miller, and recently Johnny Flynn, actors who typically portray charming, nice guys (okay, Northam sometimes plays charming, un-nice guys but charming is still a key descriptor). Knightley is savvy, insightful, and kind. The Knightley portrayed in Emma of 83rd Street felt like he had more in common Pride and Prejudice‘s Darcy than Knightley, especially since Emma of 83rd Street is told from his POV as well as Emma’s. His charm is extremely lacking. The straw and the camel for me regarding this characterization was when he uttered something akin to “I want to f*** you all over this g**d****d house.” Oh, be still my beating heart with that eloquent and very romantic declaration. Nope. Just ugh. From that utterance forward, the tenor of the novel changed and became significantly less charming. Not that Knightley had been charming before. It felt like the authors decided to unleash the sexy gates and have two chapters of seemingly unbridled passion as the novel neared its end.

Likewise, it was at the point that Emma and Knightley came together that the novel began to drag as if the authors didn’t realize that once the lucky couple is finalized the book should be ending. Instead, for those readers who need open door gratification, it’s here in lump form. So, I guess you could say that the ending didn’t work for me.

Emma of 83rd Street is both a hit and a miss for me–which means that I should probably not use baseball terminology when describing it. 😉

I received a copy for an honest review.

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Try as a might, I just cannot get into Jane Austen. It's just too much extensive dialogue and not enough action for my taste. But I appreciate her role in literary history and give her all the credit for still having such a fandom hundreds of years later. She's like the Taylor Swift of her day. So many Austen inspired books have been written and movies made over the years. The options are endless for her superfan "Austies" out there! Emma of 83rd Street joins that crowd, but boy does this version of Emma come in with a bang. Emma of 83rd Street is a modernized version of Emma that I found so much more enjoyable than the original. The bones are all still there (rich privileged Emma playing matchmaker, Emma's health-obsessed elderly dad, her naive and relatively poor protege, the Knightley brothers, etc), but the sexual tension is absolutely rippling from the early pages and Emma is likeable despite her faults. If you've read the original, you will clearly see these authors paying homage to a master in Austie style, but in this case the modernization feels like an even better version. And if you've never read the classic, you can be oblivious to the homage and just enjoy an awesome story.

Thank you to Gallery Books and #NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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Emma of 83rd Street is an adorable retelling to Jane Austin’s, Emma! If you like friends to lovers trope, humorous banter, modern retelling, and books set in NYC, then you will love this read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the ARC!

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I was a little hesitant to read this book because Emma isn't my favorite Jane Austen novel - I find Emma whiny and annoying for most of the original book. But I really enjoyed this modern take on the story. Instead of being annoyed with Emma I found someone who I empathized with. The writing of this character is excellent, we get to know Emma deeply and the book is excellent for it. I'll be sitting her (im)patiently waiting for next book by these authors...hopefully another modern retelling of an Austen classic!

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On my first date with my future husband, he gifted me a copy of one of his favorite books-Emma by Jane Austen. That book has held a special place in my heart since then, so when I saw that Emma of 83rd Street was a modern retelling of the classic story, I was all in. And this book did not disappoint!

Emma Woodhouse is the youngest daughter of a wealthy family. Her older sister marries, and her friends are studying abroad, leaving Emma board in her childhood home with her widower father. George Knightly grew up next door and is one of Emma’s closest friends. Emma meets Nadine in her grad class and the two quickly become friends. Nadine recently moved to New York from Ohio, and Emma is determined to help her new friend settle into her new life and find the perfect man. Emma plays matchmaker, but George always seems to be there, judging and criticizing all her decisions.

This fresh take on the original was so fun to read! I breezed right through it, because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I felt like the book was very true to Ms. Austen’s style of humor and I absolutely adored the characters. Not only was this book entertaining, I also got a little teary-eyed a few times. The authors did a great job translating the story to modern times and a new setting. (Just a warning, there is a little spice toward the end of the book, but nothing extreme.) All in all, this book was a delight to read! I would love to read more retellings from this duo too. (I’m looking at you, Will Darcy!!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this story.

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Delightful Combination of Emma and Clueless!

Emma and Knightley grew up next door to each other and have seen each other through most major life moments. But now they find themselves realizing that what they had always assumed was best friend banter and support is really a foundation of love.

Along the way Emma figures out what she wants in life and helps Nadine, her new friend from Ohio, do the same.

My favorite part of this Austen’s version of Emma meets Clueless is that we get to be in Knightley’s POV and it’s delicious! Oh, and we get more than just a kiss…and it’s definitely worth the wait!

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This book is not my normal preferred genre but the cover caught my attention and I am sooo glad it did! I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the build up. Would be so excited for a second book, maybe focusing on Nadine!

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I adored this Emma retelling. I swooned, I yelled and I loved it all. Such a fun and sweet book. The push and pull between Emma and Knightley was perfection. Their misunderstandings, although frustrating at times, really lent to the angst of the book. much chemistry!

Emma was insecure about many things and she often felt that Knightley (aka George) focused on those weak points and made her feel bad about them. There was a seven year age gap between them which made Emma often feel young and inexperienced. Then things Knightley might say would feed that feeling and often led to frustration and fights between them. Once they could wade through it all and see it for what it truly was...actual attraction....the story got even better.

The story was full of well-written secondary characters that really helped to enrich the overall storyline. The book was like being wrapped in a warm hug....with some spicy times thrown in. I have no complaints.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.

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Really enjoyed this modern retelling of Emma! It was utterly charming in every way. I will definitely be picking up the author's other books in the future. I would recommend it.

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This one was cute but just OK for me. I actually almost DNF at about 50% but am glad I finished. It’s got a little slow burn action happening, but just felt like it was slow getting to the good stuff, which was clearly coming from page like, 5.

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Did not finish this book (made it 20 %) . I found the main character, Emma, absolutely intolerable, maybe I’ll come back to it, but probably not,

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TLDR - read it even if you don’t love Austen or adaptations, it’s a great standalone romcom.

Emma of 83rd Street is absolutely delightful. It’s the rare Austen adaptation that works as both a retelling and as a stand alone novel. For the Austenites, it stays true to Emma’s themes with characters who have similar interests and flaws but are just as charming as the original crew. The translation from 19th century England to 21st century NYC feels organic enough that it won’t make the non-English Lit majors cringe. As long as you like romcoms, it’s gonna hit.

Two other quick thoughts:
1. That epilogue!! My jaw dropped when the authors finally revealed the last name of Knightley’s friend Will DARCY who pops up throughout the story (and who, per Emma, looks like he’s waiting for a root canal - LOL). Can’t wait to read his story next!
2. I read the printed text version (thank you netgalley!), but the audiobook is read by two of the greats - Teddy Hamilton (The Love Hypothesis, The Friend Zone) and Brittany Pressley (Local Woman Missing, American Royals, The Beach Trap) - so it’s bound to be worth listening to if you prefer audiobooks!

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Just watch Clueless again instead.

A lot of books have attempted a modern retelling of Emma, and for the most part it doesn’t seem to work very well. This book is no exception to that, and unfortunately it also has some bad editing and factual errors that make it a even tougher hang than most.

I’m not sure the story works all that well as a modern reimagining (Clueless excepted), and here as in others I’ve encountered, the Emma of the story comes off as shrill and dim, the male lead arrogant and out of touch, and the “project” as unrealistic and infantilized.

Nadine is lazily imagined as a hayseed from Ohio. Except she’s not from, say, a farmstead in Amish country, she’s from Akron. This is an urban area less than an hour from Cleveland where I assure you, everyone has heard of Miu Miu (rolls eyes).

And about the girls’ grad program: NYU’s Art History graduate program does not hold classes at the downtown campus. The entire program is part
of the Institute of Fine Arts, which is located at Duke House on the Upper East Side. I know because I went there. For the graduate program in Art History. How did an editor not catch and correct this? Yikes.

I might even be able to forgive these sorts of sloppy errors if the book were funny (it thinks it is, but it isn’t) or sweet (it’s much too forced and try-hard), or original (strike three, you’re out).

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I've never read an Emma retelling that I didn't love and Emma of 83rd Street is no exception to the rule. Add in a few extra chapters of *spice* and it was everything I needed a retelling to be.

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