I was five chapters into The Matchmaker Bride before I realised why the heroine annoys me so much. She is Emma. Yes, that Emma, Emma Woodhouse, who Jane Austen thought nobody would like but herself. Emma does, in fact, have lots of fans, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them. But I am a fan of Kate Hewitt.
So it surprises me when I didn’t gel with her heroine and find her increasingly annoying as the story goes on. And find the hero boring, something he turns into a joke, because it doesn’t really work. Nobody could make Mr. Knightley interesting. He pontificates through the original book, telling Emma she’s wrong, and annoyingly always being right about her decisions. The blurb to The Matchmaker Bride describes him as “handsome and sardonic.” I don’t see much sardonic, and handsome is as handsome does.
In the original book, the Jane Austen one, Emma is the daughter of a local landowner, upper middle class, I guess we’d call it, and the Big Landowner, still upper middle but richer, is Mr. John Knightley. John loves Emma, although we don’t see much sign of that until the last few chapters. Emma is an interfering busybody, in my opinion. She takes a patronising interest in a local foundling, Harriet, points her at several men and always gets it wrong, nearly wrecking Harriet’s life. She is taken in by a smooth charmer, Frank Churchill, who is secretly married to another character in the story. Her black moment comes at a picnic on Box Hill, where the whole community is present to see her make a catty and unnecessary comment about local non-malicious gossip Miss Bates. Her snobbery and self-delusion make her one of the most irritating and dislikeable heroines ever.
So for the first five chapters of The Matchmaker Bride, I read it wondering why the irritating, interfering heroine isn’t doing it for me and why the hero is so damn boring. Not from Kate Hewitt, surely? He even claims he’s not boring because he drives a Porsche. Really? Some of the most boring men I have ever met drove Porsches. Then it struck me Emma Woodhouse – Emily Wood. Doh! So blame it on the 41-degree fever I had over the weekend (really!), because I really should have spotted it sooner. All the clues were there.
So I went back and did more scouring.
Yep, there’s a young girl that Emily takes under her wing. She’s HR manager, so she does have some claim to interfere, and the story goes the same way that Harriet’s does in the original book. She’s pretty vapid, too. The hero is boring, there is a flashy male character who takes Emily and everybody else in, except for the hero, of course.
Emily is a little softened from Emma. She has a job, so she’s not bored and looking for mischief, but she still interferes and goes a bit too far, and like the end of Emma, I’m not convinced that she’ll stop once she gets her happy ending.
If you like Emma, the chances are you’ll love The Matchmaker Bride. It’s well written, but since I didn’t like the source material, I’m not too keen on the remake.
Will love conquer…her boss?
Beautiful, clever, rich—and determinedly single—Emily Wood is the youngest ever head of HR at her company. Whether dousing corporate fires or matchmaking lonely colleagues, Emily’s at the top of her game. Only her handsome, sardonic boss, Jason Kingsley, appears to remain immune to her charm…
Jason is used to women falling at his feet, but relationships, with all their illogical demands, are not for him. So why does he find Emily so attractive? She’s a highly unsuitable target for his seduction and merger skills—what with her misguided belief in the power of love…
Read an excerpt.