Weakened as the vampire was from lack of sustenance, it was nevertheless clear that Harriet had only frantic moments to live before she would succumb to his vicious designs.
Mrs. Goddard fainted dead away and fell to the ground as Emma came running from the house, waving her father’s old sabre in both hands.
With a single, clean swath of the sword, Emma severed the head of the vampire. It bounced on the ground and rolled a few feet, and then the body of the creature collapsed as well.
(from Emma and the Vampires, page 17)
Emma and the Vampires is a fun and silly retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The plot is the same as Austen’s original, but with vampires thrown in (of course). Emma Woodhouse is essentially a frivolous, spoiled rich girl, who also happens to be clever and has a good heart. No amount of chastising from her friend and brother-in-law Mr. Knightley will stop her from trying to match her friend Harriet Smith with the vicar Mr. Elton, and nothing he can say will persuade Emma to think poorly of Frank Churchill, who waltzes into Highbury seemingly interested in winning Emma’s affection.
While Emma is busy making a mess of her love life and Harriet’s, a pack of wild vampires is roaming around Highbury, attacking the young girls at Mrs. Goddard’s school and draining them of their blood. Mr. Knightley, an aristocratic vampire, insists something must be done about the vampire menace, and while he prepares the final attack, Emma finally realizes she’s been clueless about everything, including her own heart.
In Emma and the Vampires, Wayne Josephson sometimes uses Austen’s original prose and sometimes paraphrases, almost like he’s simplifying the text for younger readers while inserting vampires for excitement. The vampire additions, however, leave much to be desired. Whether Emma realizes that Mr. Knightley and most of the other gentlemen of Highbury are vampires, how these men became vampires, their feeding habits, and the difference between the aristocratic and wild vampires are not fully explored.
However, I enjoyed Emma and Harriet as vampire slayers, lopping off heads and reaching under their skirts to pull out the wooden stakes tied to their legs with ribbons. I could picture Emma and Knightley fighting the vampires side by side as equals, while Mr. Elton and Frank Churchill stand back with the fainting ladies. Emma and the Vampires is not meant to be taken seriously, and while it was the right book for me at the moment, I would have enjoyed it a lot more had Josephson given more depth to the vampire story line. I think this book would be a fun, light read for fans of the Austenesque and an amusing introduction to Jane Austen for younger readers.
I was saddened to learn that Shanna from Existing’s Tricky lost her battle with cancer in April. To honor her memory and her love of books, I am determined to complete her challenge. May she rest in peace.
Disclosure: Emma and the Vampires is from my personal library.
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.