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I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control is a quote you’ll find in Emma by Jane Austen, and it’s one you won’t be able to relate to when you decide to buy all of these retellings at once! Because, yes, they are that good, and you will — or at least, you should — forget that self-control and follow your heart.
The bad news is your bank account will be suffering, the good news is that you will be able to revisit this wonderful Austen novel over and over, but with a twist (or several). The best news is that you absolutely do not need to know anything about Emma to dig into these books and enjoy them individually, unrelated to the original, and simply for what they are.
Curious? Read on!
Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen
Gigi Wong has two goals: to be the winner of an app-writing competition, and to help two of her friends while trying to achieve this goal. But things get out of hand.
Love, Decoded is a cute novel where the main character has all intention of doing the right thing, but ends up creating a huge mess.
This is the second Jane Austen retelling written by Yen, so you may want to check A Taste For Love as well.
If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker
If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more is one of Emma’s most famous quotes, and I love that the author has decided to incorporate it in the title of this book.
With Theodosia Sullivan as our main character, her power of matchmaking is one of the main plots of this novel. Except, Theo quickly starts regretting how good she is at it.
Extra points for being a queer retelling!
Off Script by Kate Watson
This is the third book in the Seeking Mansfield Series, the first two being a Mansfield Park retelling.
In Off Script, Emma Crawford is a bit of a star, and she returns home after a year in college, looking forward to playing matchmaker to her friends.
But when Liam Pierce re-emerges in her life, and as she stumbles upon the darker side of Hollywood, she starts questioning a lot about her decisions and what she truly wants for life.
Fresh by Margot Wood
This is a very interesting retelling, with college and the start of adult life front and centre in the story.
Elliot McHugh is in her freshman year, and she’s enjoying all the party life college has to offer. But when the novelty wears off and reality hits her in the face, she needs to start considering her choices.
The connection to Emma is a bit subtle in this retelling, but it is still a fun story with great queer representation.
Emma Ever After by Brigid Coady
This book is a blast for those who love famous gossip, boy bands, and matchmaking.
Emma Woodhouse is great at finding love matches for celebrities, and to her, it doesn’t really matter if the romance is real or not.
But when she receives the task of finding matches for each of the members of the most famous boy band of the moment, Emma starts to lose her grip on things.
The Code For Love And Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor
Emma and George are presidents of the coding club, and when they are challenged to come up with a new project, The Code For Love is created.
Emma is excited about her genius idea of developing a matchmaking app, especially when it seems to be working great, with new couples popping up right and left at school.
George disapproves of the idea, and when those same couples all start breaking up, Emma has the eerie feeling he may have a point, and that maybe code isn’t a measuring tool for everything.
Amanda by Debra White Smith
This is the fifth book in Smith’s Jane Austen Series, composed of six titles.
After meeting Haley, Amanda is certain Haley is the best match for the town’s pastor. She comes up with a great matchmaking plan, which seems to be working well, until Amanda realises both sides are actually dating other people.
Still, she is certain she can find a better match for Haley, but when Haley turns her attention to Nathaniel, Amanda can’t really wrap her head around her own feelings and what to make of them.
Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
Kamila Hussain is a star: she loves her Bollywood-style parties, the easiness she finds in living her life, and being a popular woman with a job she loves — until she realises she has been so busy with her friends’ love lives, she hasn’t taken a minute to consider her own.
But Kamila has a lot to do and plan, she is too busy to worry about that… that is, until her nemesis returns to town and sets her eyes on heart-throb Rohan Nasser.
I Could Write A Book by Karen M. Cox
This romance takes place in the 1970s.
Emma has a stable life, with not much going on, but she is pretty alright with it.
And then her childhood friend, George, who leads an existence quite different from that of Emma, returns home to shake things up.
Aisha by Ikhlas Hussain
Aisha Ali believes that finding love is overrated: arranged marriages are the real deal, so she is very content using her matchmaking skills at The Islamic Marriage Bureau.
But then Adam Swift comes to town, and Aisha sees her strong beliefs being shaken up.
More than a romance, this is a book about confronting one’s prejudices and about changing cultural expectations.
The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
Another novel from a series all based on Austen novels, this is a great Indian American take on the original (the whole Rajes Series is).
Naina is 38. She’s been in a fake relationship for ten years, and all she wants is to focus on her microfinance foundation and to prove her father’s assumptions about her life wrong.
But when the brother of her (fake) ex shows up and threatens to take the funding of her foundation away for his own project, she starts questioning much of what she had taken for granted.
The Lifestyle by Taylor Hahn (June 7, 2022)
Georgina’s life is perfect: a perfect marriage, perfect job, perfect everything.
When she walks in on her husband cheating, Georgina isn’t willing to accept the failure of her marriage, and subsequently, the failure of the life she envisioned for herself, so she has a plan: her husband and herself will become swingers.
With a couple of friends supporting her decision, and even joining the swingers club themselves, Georgina is thrilled. At least, until she runs into an ex from college at a swinger’s party, which makes her reevaluate all of her goals.
I hope I have convinced you to discover these stories based on Emma, and if anyone gives you trouble for buying all of these, feel free to quote the original once more: I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other. As you should.
Want more Emma? Check these posts: Which Emma Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign? and Learning To Be A Little More Like Emma Woodhouse.