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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

Emma can be enjoyed as a charming love story, a detective story, and a comic and lively picture of English life 200 years ago.

Austen's beautiful, clever, wilful but fallible heroine Emma Woodhouse believes she knows best. Perfectly content with her life she sees no need for either love or marriage, yet nothing pleases her more than meddling in the romantic lives of others. But when she fails to heed the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and schemes to arrange a suitable match for her protégée, Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. She discovers that she understands the feelings of others as little as she does her own heart.

With a cast of unforgettable characters, it is a lively comedy of manners that explores the concerns of genteel women living in Regency times.

Jane Austen was an English writer known primarily for her six major novels which focused on the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Her plots often explore women's dependence on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security.

Narrator Biography

Jenny Agutter began her acting career as a child in 1964's East of Sudan and is well known for appearing in three adaptations of The Railway Children. She starred in the critically acclaimed 1971 film Walkabout as well as receiving a string of Hollywood roles. She won an Emmy for her role in The Snow Goose (1971), as well as a BAFTA for her role in Equus (1997).

More recently she has appeared in several television dramas, including Spooks (2002-2003), and Call the Midwife since 2012. She has performed in numerous theatre productions, including roles with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has also narrated audiobooks like Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, and featured in the Doctor Who audio dramas inThe Bride of Peladon, and The Minister of Chance. In 2012 she was appointed OBE for her charity work.

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Emma

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

pure pleasure

Jenny Agutter gives one of the best readings I've heard here. This is a wonderful, witty, and wise rendering of the novel. Her characterizations are subtle and smart; it's clear she's given such care and attention to the novel and to Austen's world. Her skill in delivering the meaning and emotion of the words makes this such a delightful journey. Loved it!

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun story, but narrator could have done better

Listening to this on audio was only my first time reading Emma and my third time reading a book by Jane Austen, and it did not disappoint. I just love how Austen makes me feel I am being transported into another time in history and how lifelike and fun her characters and stories can be. It is not necessarily my favorite Austen novel, but Emma's antics trying to be a matchmaker were very enjoyable, and I will definitely read it again someday.

To rate the technical side of things, the performance of the narrator, Jenny Agutter was not awful, but it was not the best either. Jenny has a pleasant voice and reads with clear pronunciation, but she did not always do quite enough in the way of changing her voice for different characters' dialog and because Jane Austen also did not always use dialog tags when there was a back-and-forth between two characters I sometimes got confused as to who was speaking or who had just done what and ultimately had to look the book up online to clarify as to whether or not I had understood things correctly. Since listening to this book I have since discovered a narrator by the name of Juliet Stevenson who has become my favorite narrator when it comes to Jane Austen. She does much better in the way of giving the characters unique voices and pausing to be sure the listener knows the speaker of the dialog has changed and I will and have gone out of my way to make sure any Jane Austen novel I want to listen to is narrated by her and no one else

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Needs chapter breaks fixed

For some reason the chapter breaks that are in the book are not the correct ones.
When the chapter changes, it is said, however the breaks that are seen are not correct. Once I was so lost that I listened to a whole chapter again, because I couldn’t find where the next one started.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Matchmaker thy name is Folly

This age old favourite by Jane Austin is always pleasing. The characters are well drawn and interesting. The main character, Emma may be, " handsome, clever and rich" and have an exceptionally pleasant lot in life but she has some important lessons to learn.
Humility and being less judgmental of those around her are two for a start and then there is her profound belief that she is a matchmaker without exception!
Many of her views on those she believes beneath her station or attention might be held to be unacceptable today. However, at the time the book was written her views would have been considered quite correct and "proper" for a young lady born in her circumstances. For all her failings it must be said that she has a good heart and luckily for her she has Mr Knightly as her conscience and guardian angel so all ends happily.
I like Jenny Agguter but in this instance the speed at which she read the book was disappointing and had I not known the story so well I might have had to re-listen in some sections. Hence the 4 stars for performance.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Emma

Jenny Agutter does a superb job as narrator. She "does" each character's voice to just the degree needed for the listener to discern them without the voices being grating or annoying. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Biting Satire of Manners

I greatly enjoyed the book and the narration. This is only the fourth Jane Austen novel that I have listened to/read and found it very different than the others. It is much more biting in its satire of the life, manners, and prejudices of the English country gentry. Unlike the other novels that I am familiar with- Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion - the main character is not particularly likable as are almost all of her acquaintances except for Mr. Knightley and Jane Fairfax. I especially liked the fact that by the author focusing on describing the interactions of the many characters, I could not determine the final outcome of the plot until almost the end of the novel. The narrator was terrific. It is obvious that Ms. Agutter is a very experienced and talented actress; she was able to bring all of the novel's many characters to life, each with their own distinctive personality.I recommend this Audible recording most highly.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love Story - performance, not so much

I have read all of Ms. Austen's books many times. Recently listened to Pride and Prejudice and thought it was great - allowed me to enjoy the genius of her writing in a whole new way. So looked forward to this version of Emma. What a disappointment. Voice is shrill, story telling lacks nuance and overall is read too quickly. I won't finish it.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Disappointed

What a disappointment! I was all set to enjoy Emma, really my first non-movie Austen, when it became apparent Jenny Agutter, an actress of some experience, has only one voice, her own. No way to even tell between male and female. Why do recording companies allow this?

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

hard start but worth it

The story starts with some pretty glaring faults for our heroine but she does improve. The Emma of page one is hard to read, for me. The language and story are very "Austin", meaning amazing.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Am I too old?

When I was much younger, close to half my current age, I read this book and absolutely loved it. I recently reread a different Jane Austen book and it enjoyed it so much more than when I was younger, I decided to revisit more books of hers. Through almost this entire book, I kept asking, what is WRONG with her, referring to Emma. At one point I complained to a friend, this spoiled little brat, spoilers, etc. Don't misunderstand me. I know that is likely the point, the description of her in the very first few lines pretty much states it right out. But when that is your main character, it got old fast! So then why did I love this book so much when I was younger? Did I relate to her more? Am I just too old now?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Birgit
  • 01-19-12

Not good enough

I've known the novel for at least 30 years, and though it is not my favourite Jane Austen, I have enjoyed reading it and enjoyed the dramatisations of it, and was looking forward to the listening to it being read aloud.
Unfortunately Jenny Agutter goes through it as if she isn't really interested in it, like she's waiting for the bell to release her from the classroom. She speaks quite fast and does not use her voice much to characterise the different characters. She is a fine actress, but it seems that the combination of Jane Austen and Jenny Agutter does not really work. A great pity.
I would recommend you to try another recording of the book. They are better.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-13-09

Very disappointed

I love jane austen's Emma and Jenny Agutter. The two together don't work for me. It takes a long while for Jenny Agutter to get into the characters, and for the first part of the book its difficult to work out who is speaking. By the end she has mastered it - but her Mr Knightly is dull and boorish whilst Emma is silly and snobbish. I struggled through the last 2 hours out of duty rather than enjoyment. The saving grace are Miss Bates and Mrs Elton. They are both done excellently.

32 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 01-07-16

Great story, poor arrangement

Any additional comments?

The chapters in the recording do not in any way match the actual chapters of the book, which makes this recording exceptionally hard to synchronise with a text you happen to be studying.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Lilly
  • 05-11-15

Warm and Friendly Reading of a Great Novel

I am a great admirer of Jenny Agutter as an actor, and get great pleasure from listening to her warm, friendly English posh voice. However, there is an unsettling inaccuracy of diction, a failure to hit terminal 'T's that make this a lesser reading of Austen than Juliet Stephenson's, which is faultless.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K.Suffolk
  • 04-17-16

poor quality recording

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

if the quality of the recording had been up to standard it would have been excellent. Jenny Agutter is one of my favourite narrators but the recording speed was very fast at times and this was intrusive and spoilt the narration .It was a shame .

What other book might you compare Emma to, and why?

Mansfield Park read by Juliet Stevenson was a much better experience bringing a loved classic to life.

Have you listened to any of Jenny Agutter’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I loved Music and Silence by Rose Tremain..beautifully read , haunting…A cold weather read though! oh , and Nancy Mitford's Love in a cold climate….a wonderful period feel to the narration.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Emma?

I wouldn't dare.

Any additional comments?

gives speed reading a whole new meaning.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Toni
  • 03-29-15

My attempt at experiencing the classics ....

I enjoyed the overall tale, although it took me a while to get into the style and and use of language of the era. I will definitely be listening to some more. Jenny Agutter is superb as the narrator

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Red Kitty
  • 03-22-15

Classic

This is a great listen. Narration very good, with a good distinction between characters. Story is a classic and a book one can always keep going back to time and time again.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Caz
  • 12-07-18

Not the best rendition

I love Austen's work although nothing tops Darcy and Elizabeth. In this reading, the characters in Emma never quite come alive for me. In fact, I generally find them all quite irritating. In hindsight, I really should have sat down with the book myself. I'd expect they would have had a very different "voice" and perhaps they would have had more appeal because of it. I think I'd enjoy the dramatization, I remember quite enjoying the BBC dramatization in 2009. This book however, not so much.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 05-25-15

A classic RomCom book

I've seen the film, heard various radios plays and watched umpteen TV / Film homages to Emma so though I'd listen to the book, via the Daily Deals. With the language concentration is upmost in this book, and a good knowledge of the story line i.e. I knew what was going to happen, so when I slipped in concentration I soon picked up what was happen. I enjoyed this book, but would have struggled if I hadn't known the plot, so beware on that front.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hanneke Marshall
  • 06-22-22

Speedy narration

It is obviously a genre that you must be open to as in parts it can be a bit tedious. The narration is very lively and consistent although really rather rapid. I tend to listen in bed but found the speed of the narration an issue while tired! I did overall enjoy the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-09-21

Wonderful reading brought the story alive.

The narration was easy to follow and the intonation of the dialogue conveyed the characterisations perfectly and made it easier to follow the story. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 06-24-22

Witty and amusing

Great stuff from Austen as always except... "I have loved you since you were thirteen years old..." YUCK!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-28-22

Same beautiful sentences but more comical than P&P

Must confess to some slight struggle first third, but as with almost all great Victorian era English novels it grew better and better, presumably because geniuses like Miss Austen make us care about their characters and weave in plots which offer such compelling insights into the human condition. Now we stray into bare assertions (other world views are available). Human nature, unlike culture, does not change and Austen offers timeless insights, instantly recognisable to to us two centuries later, but set against a much changed cultural background (indeed, it is almost like a created world). For me being fascinated by the past, the combination is perfect: An up to the minute relevance on human nature combined with immersion in the culture of those who went before and experienced the same feelings that we do but processed them in keeping with their own cultural code. All of which is to encourage newer readers to perserve. You will not get a car chase on page 1 or Jack Bauer racing a ticking clock. It will not create the same sort page turning suspence as a Clancy, but you will derive a different pleasure, infinitely more sublime, and in many ways more real.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Yvette F
  • 01-28-22

Lovely reading

I really loved this reading of Emma. Brilliant narration. Tempted to listen again as soon as it was over.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebekah Tripp
  • 01-09-22

Half way and struggling.

If this were a book published today I would first recommend a great deal more editing. The sentences are so very difficult to say aloud, as they stop, and have oxford commas, and seem to flow backwards.
As far as personality allows Austen and I do not have a similar flow of thought. Even both of us being autistic doesn't seem to help.
As far as story and character I cannot judge them because I am not really sure what's going on. I think this might be one of those books you have to spoil to keep yourself going so you know what details to pay attention to...