Featured Image via @ThePaperbackBruncher
“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” ― Jane Austen, Emma
This quote always hits right in your feels, but luckily for you, I love Emma by Jane Austen with my whole heart AND still have the strength to talk about it.
Between my re-reads of this beloved classic, and re-watches of Clueless, I have been building a list of stories inspired by this cult classic. Today, I’m channeling my inner Emma, and playing matchmaker, for you and your next Emma-inspired read.
On the sexier side,
The Lifestyle by Taylor Hahn
This romantic comedy follows Georgina, the woman who has it all – a great marriage, an incredible job at a prestigious law firm, and fantastic friends. She is living the life she has always wanted until she finds her husband in a compromising position in bed with a junior associate. To save her marriage and recapture the spark, she decides they will become swingers, and invites her friends to sign up alongside them. This sexy, hilarious read is a wild ride in and out of the bedroom, and is best paired with a cool drink to combat the steam.
Content Warnings: Sexual Content
The meddling matchmaker,
Off Script by Kate Watson
This young adult contemporary follows another beloved Emma, a teenage starlet returning home to Manhattan. She is preparing for the role of a lifetime and playing career matchmaker to friends. While searching for a new assistant, she meets Brittany and is determined that she is destined for the big screen, even if Brittany doesn’t know it yet. Emma’s plans begin to unravel when professional soccer player Liam Price re-enters her life, pointing out all of the glaring flaws in Emma’s plans. She begins to question the darker side of Hollywood and the world she has always known, summoning the courage to go off script.
A refreshing Indian-American twist,
The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
Vansh Raje leads a charmed life, named California’s hottest single by Vogue, he has yet to have a bump in the road of his smooth life. A few years short of turning forty, Knightlina (Naina) Kohli has just gotten out of a ten year long fake relationship with Vansh’s brother and wants only two things, to be rid of the Raje family, and to bring economic independence to millions of South Asian women through her microfinance foundation. As her dream starts to come true, Vansh Raje throws a wrench in her path with his misguided Emma Project. Now Naina is forced to fight him for funding, and can’t stop daydreaming about a friends-with-benefits arrangement, but is it worth risking her life’s work for some toe-curling fun?
Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, Panic attacks/disorders, Sexism, Vomit
Love and Academia,
The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor
Emma Woodhouse may be a math genius, but clueless about people. Numbers can be counted on, but people not so much. She is determined to make her senior all about numbers and how far they’ll take her. Along with the Coding Club co-president, George, they create a match-making app using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of the idea and meddling in others’ lives, but Emma sees all the proof she needs in the happy couples at school. Well, that is until the couples start breaking up, and the wrong people start falling for each other. Emma’s code is flawless, proving that love is anything but predictable.
Content Warnings: Medical content, Death, Death of a parent
The perfect book club read,
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Over six months, a group of friends meets to discuss all of Jane Austen’s novels. Marriages are tested, affairs ensue, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. Austenites (yes that IS what we call ourselves) will love this story of modern relationships, and tributes to Austen’s work strewn throughout the story.
Content Warnings: Sexual assault, Mental illness, Physical abuse, Sexual violence, Ableism, Adult/minor relationship
The bisexual main character we all needed and deserve,
Fresh by Margot Wood
Combine contemporary LGBTQ+ romance and a coming of age college story, with Margot Wood’s witty writing, and you guarantee plenty of fun! This LOL funny retelling follows Elliot, who most definitely does NOT know what they want to do with their life. She spends her first semester exploring everything college has to offer (tender chicken iykyk), namely all of the beautiful, consenting fellow students. When the poo hits the fan, and she realizes her sex life isn’t great despite the quantity, she goes down a road of self-discovery, friendship, and maybe even… love?
Content Warnings: Sexual assault, Sexual content, Alcohol, Sexual harassment
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match,
Emma Ever After by Brigid Coady
Emma Woodhouse is a celebrity matchmaker, and sure most of the relationships may be for the cameras, but there’s nothing wrong with a little “fauxmance”. Her latest challenge is finding fake girlfriends for each of today’s hottest boy band, Breach of the Peace. Bandmates Will and Ed add to the challenge by undermining her choices, and her best friend Gee won’t stop giving her grief about her career choice. As her carefully curated world begins to fall apart, Emma must confront that she may not know best after all.
Content Warnings: Unknown
Let’s go Bollywood,
Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
Kamila Hussain’s life is *almost* perfect and a life of ease. Her days are filled with her elaborate Bollywood movie parties, a dog with more Instagram followers than most reality stars, a job she loves, and countless friends who obviously need her help finding love. She spends so much time helping them with their love lives, that she has left no time for her own. Longtime family friend, Rohan Nasser, is greatly successful… and handsome. However, lately, her typical flirting is sending her heart for a loop. Between her very full agenda and very important image, she has zero room for distractions. Until her secret nemesis returns with an eye for Rohan, spinning her perfect life completely upside down.
Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, Panic attacks/disorders, Chronic illness, Mental illness, Death of parent, Sexism, Infidelity, Car accident, Misogyny
For the series reader,
Amanda by Debra White Smith
Looking for an Austenite rabbit hole to go down? Amanda is the fifth in a series of six Jane Austen retellings. Set on the gorgeous island of Tasmania, our local busybody, Amanda, always has her friend’s best interests at heart, and thankfully, they have her to assist in their love lives. She is known, and prides herself, on her incredible matchmaking skills. When nothing seems to be going according to plan, she must begin to listen to her own heart.
Content Warnings: Unknown
A WLW retelling,
If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker
Theodosia Sullivan manages of her family’s surf shop in Hanalei Ba, and the love lives of anyone who crosses her path. However, the equally happy bachelorette down the street, Kini ʻŌpūnui, has yet to need her services. Kini ʻŌpūnui is the owner and baker of Queen’s Sweet Shop, taking over the family business after her parents passed away. Her haupia shortbread and lilikoi malasadas are staples of the town. When Theodosia’s scheming and meddling spirals out of control, and she fails to heed Kini’s warnings, she realizes she may have missed the greatest match of all – her own.
Content Warnings: Unknown
Coming of age, high school setting,
Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen
Jennifer Yen is back with her second Jane Austen retelling, following High school junior Gigi Wong. Gigi strives to be the best, and live up to her everyone’s expectations. In an effort to stand out, she submits to an app writing contest. If she can secure a nomination to represent her school, she has a chance at a prestigious tech internship. For her winning entry idea, she notices new transfer student, Etta, struggling to fit in and gets an idea. What if she applies ideas from watching her aunt, a professional matchmaker, into a friend-making app? The app goes viral in Gigi’s school, making her the center of attention and a ginormous scandal. Gigi never meant to hurt her friends, can she save these relationships and still secure the tech internship?
Content Warnings: Bullying, Racism
Now dearest readers, get back out in the world, and remember the wise words of Emma Woodhouse,
“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”
You too, deserve nothing but the best and should put up with none of the rest! My tea is ready, so I am off to the parlor to dive into the latest novel, and (not so patiently) await my formal invitation to this season’s soiree.
Your faithful book matchmaker and Emma-obsessed friend,