Monday, January 25, 2010

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma is essentially the story of the transformation of Emma Woodhouse from a self-righteous, headstrong young woman to a wise, joyful woman. Emma prides herself on her matchmaking ability. The happiness of the marriage of her former governess is her obvious proof. When she takes on Harriet Smith as her charge and determines to find the perfect match for her, her attempts fail time and time again. Disappointed in the outcome of her attempts, she resolves to only contribute to Harriet's happiness as her friend. In the end, when it seems that a match for Harriet may finally be made between Harriet and Mr. Knightley, only then does Emma realize the truth she has denied for so long and the folly of what she worked so hard for may cost her heart.

is a classic by Jane Austen and this is my first time reading one of Austen's works. I certainly understand why the book is considered a classic. Austen engages the reader who wonders about the outcome until the very end. The style in which it is written requires thought and time to truly understand the story. It is definitely not one that can be read through at a high speed and still comprehended at a high level. I browsed the introduction to this book as it was probably close to 50 pages long. The writer of the introduction seems to think that Emma had some gender-identity issues. I completely disagree. The portions he cited did not seem to prove his point to me and I believe the ending settles any question of if Emma is attracted to men or women. Personally, I loved this book. I would not recommend it to anyone who does not enjoy reading, but I would recommend it to people who are fans of romance.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake

When Doctor Taylor Bestman, a woman, agrees to move to Texas with her twin brother, Enoch Bestman, a veterinarian, she had no idea of how her life and practice will change. Both of the Bestmans have signed four year contracts to serve the people of Gooding, Texas and while Enoch is readily accepted by the town, many leaders of the town balk at Taylor offering medical treatment to the men of the town. Taylor is not daunted by the opposition and quickly finds a friend in her first patient, Karl Van der Vort. As their friendship grows, so do the dangerous threats to Taylor's practice. Taylor finds she must stand her ground, but be willing to serve as God calls her to.

I enjoyed That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake. The story was quite entertaining and I loved the Taylor Bestman's character. It was an easy read that kept drawing me back for more. The only think I did not care for was the way that Enoch and Mercy's relationship developed. Somehow, it just did not seem believable and it was just too convenient. At one point, Mercy develops breast cancer and one of her breasts is removed. I wonder why this was even in the book. It did not really have anything to do with the main plot or serve to enhance the story. I suspect that Hake may have another book coming on Enoch's character as there were some loose ends left open at the end of the book.