While watching the 2009 BBC mini-series adaptation of Emma, I fell in love with Jonny Lee Miller, who plays Mr. Knightley. Okay, compared to my passion for Colin Firth, it’s merely an infatuation. But there is a scene in the film that moved me in so many ways, not the least of which was to send me on a quest to create the perfect blending of Pride & Prejudice and Emma.
Coming later this month, I shall publish my umpteenth novel: Darcy, Lizzy, and Emma – A Regency novel. For those not familiar with Emma (how could they not be?) Emma Woodhouse is a wonderfully chipper, young lady who has a terrible habit—matchmaking. Not all her choices are spot-on, but it is the wrong picks and the misplaced credits that make this Jane Austen’s funniest novel. I am bringing together Emma as the Bingley’s visiting cousin, who determines to match ODC, plus a number of slightly odd choices, before we see her ride off in a coach with Mr. Knightley at her side.
Can Darcy and Elizabeth survive Emma’s good intentions? You betcha!
The scene that sent my heart pitter-pattering is when Mr. Knightley and Emma finally share a dance. Both come to realize that despite being best friends, long-time neighbors, and the difference in their ages, they are and have been in love. The looks on both their faces brought tears to my eyes, as that is what love should look like—at least in the movies. They convey the utter happiness, delight, and confusion of realizing they have been in love all along.
Strangely, the scene set me in mind of the final scene in When Harry Met Sally. It is New Years Eve and the bickering friends are startled to discover they are in love. We are all moved to moist eyes when best friends finally acknowledge what we the viewers have known all along! Note the expressions on their faces.
If you haven’t seen this BBC 2009 version of Emma, please do give it a try. Romola Garai is enchanting as Emma Woodhouse. She imbues the character with such joy that you cannot help feeling happy just watching her. And when she finally acknowledges to herself that she is in love with Mr. Knightley, you just want to jump up and down and squeee with her. And when Knightley comes to understand his feelings, it is nothing short of swoonful.
The things I learned while stalking—I mean researching—Jonny Lee Miller, besides that he is so scrumptious, is that he is a major British star. He has appeared in Mansfield Park, The Flying Scotsman, and a host of other well-known films. He has received an Olivier Award for Best Actor, and stars as Sherlock Holmes in the CBS drama: Elementary. The biggest surprise for me is that at one time he was married to Angelina Jolie—now that is a mismatch!
As a little teaser, here is an excerpt from my upcoming full-length novel. Please do look out for it, releasing in late January.
Charles Bingley took his place at the head of the Netherfield dining table with Caroline at his right side and his cousin Emma Woodhouse at his left. Mr. Darcy, a close friend of Bingley’s sat next to Emma. His height, even though he was sitting, made Emma feel small despite the fact that she was a tall young lady.
Emma took note of Mr. Darcy’s dark curly hair as one lock fell onto this forehead. He carried himself with the same air of confidence as did Mr. Knightley. But, whereas her neighbor exuded warmth, Mr. Darcy held himself in reserve. Perhaps he was merely shy? She determined to investigate him further since he was staying at Netherfield and there would be time enough.
Mrs. Louisa Bingley Hurst, sister to Charles and Caroline sat at Mr. Darcy’s other side whilst her husband, Mr. Hurst, was seated opposite her. Caroline Bingley had arranged the placement of the guests so that Mr. Knightley was at her side and Mr. Darcy across from her.
It didn’t take deep thought to understand that Caroline Bingley’s intention was to use Mr. Knightley as a means to provoke Mr. Darcy to jealousy. Miss Bingley indulged in a flow of artificial titters whenever Mr. Knightley made the slightest remark. The woman made a fool of herself while causing her guest discomfort. Darcy exchanged glances with Bingley who managed a sheepish expression but could not rescue his friend from his predatory sister.
It was the first night of Emma’s visit to Netherfield. Her cousins reiterated how pleased they were that Miss Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley had agreed to join them at the Meryton Ball, the following evening. It would be the Bingleys’ first venture into local society.
Miss Bingley expected to be bored beyond belief at the country assembly; it was only the thought of the grand entrance they would make that enticed her to attend. She imagined arriving in the company of Miss Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, and Mr. Darcy; it fed her ego with fantasies of the envy she would inspire.
Being an avid student of human nature, Emma observed how distracted her cousin Caroline was by the quiet, handsome, Fitzwilliam Darcy. The gentleman politely waved off every attempt Caroline made to flatter or cajole him. Frustrated, the scarlet-haired woman turned her attentions to Mr. Knightley, for he was both rich and possessed of a handsome countenance worthy of a flirt.
It was clear to Emma that her cousin Caroline was on the hunt for a husband, but if she were really interested in Mr. Knightley, then her aim was quite off for she had chosen a confirmed bachelor. She was better advised to pursue Mr. Darcy although that gentleman’s discomfort with her attentions became more evident as the meal progressed.
For more fun, click the link to see my pretty, little book trailer.
With love & laughter!