The Watsons & Emma Watson–Jane Austen and Joan Aiken

A month ago I read a Jane Austen sequel by Maria Hamilton and a story of a modern writer tasked with finishing a Jane Austen fragment by Elizabeth Aston.  Neither was overly successful.  Joan Aiken, however, pulled it off.  Her addition to Jane Austen’s fragment was seamless.  Emma was sent to live with her aunt, but when her aunt is widowed and then remarries, Emma is sent home to her dying father and one kind brother and sister and two terrible sisters, who do not live at home  and one terrible brother and sister-in-law.  Her sister is written off as a spinster left to care for their father.  One terrible sister returns with an older doctor as her husband.  The other spends a lot of time trying to secure one.  Emma cares very little for herself and much for her two good siblings.  When their father dies, Emma and her spinster sister are sent to live with their terrible sisters and watch as both self destruct.  All ends well when, in the one departure from Austen, Emma leaves her situation to care for her newly re-widowed aunt and give music lessons.  Emma ends up married to a war hero amputee, her spinster sister to her recently widowed sweetheart.  Also missing is the long postscript to explain how everyone felt while the story was playing out.  Other than that, Emma Watson was a successful Austen sequel. 

Finished 11/6/2011


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