Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Emma...thoughts along the way...a happiness project update

*Ana, Ana, Ana, how am I ever going to thank you enough for putting this series on my happiness project list?!! Volume One alone has completely won me over. I am charmed through and through. I love the setting (yes, me who is intimidated by all things Victorian England :P ). The art has this simple beauty to it that just makes me smile inside. And Emma--oh, how I already adore Emma!

*Volume 2. Okay, so I should have known things would get rough--after all, when is life ever innocence and happy hearts all the time, right? Oh but there's a scene in chapter 9 that truly cuts. This series is quite timely for my reading. I hate to admit the breath of my ignorance when it comes to issues of class, and these issues have been occupying my mind recently. (This would probably be a good time to mention for those who have never heard of this series--William is the oldest son of gentry-class family and Emma is a maid, though not for William's family. They begin falling in love. You can see where this is going, no doubt.)

*Still in Volume 2. Oh my. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes, and I truly love reading about ones that somehow fall outside the norm. In this instance, Emma and her boss Mrs. Kelly Stownar. *tears welling up*

*Loved finding out Emma's backstory in this volume.

*Volume 3. Sadness. Yet not hopeless. Hmmmm...and now some intrigue...

*I love Hakim. Seriously.

*Volume 4. Oh William. No no no no no...

*Mrs. Trollop--love.

*Love how this one ended. But of course, am very worried about what is to come. I know it is the way life goes, but it's so sad to see hearts broken...

*Volume 5. Snobbery abounds!

*Love Mrs. Trollop (Aurelia) even more.

*Eleanor seems like a sweet person. I really worry about her. Her father, however, what a frickin' douchebag!!! (Sorry, I really don't like saying that, but I can't think of a better way to put it.)

*Volume 6. Oh my, oh my, oh my...I'm not liking how this is going. The douchebag proclamation above--well, multiply it by a hundred. Why do people think it's okay to play with their children's lives? How is trickery and deceit ever going to lead to real happiness?

*Whew. And wowza. Wasn't this the action-packed episode?!! Things aren't looking good, no matter where you look at the moment. Ahh, but I have faith...

*Volume 7. Okay, here is where I confess confusion. Not with the book, but with the series. There were 10 volumes of Emma at the library, and after reading the first two and falling in love, I just went ahead and checked out all the rest on my next trip to the library. And I just assumed (bad me!) that all 10 volumes followed one major story arc. Hence my bewilderment upon discovering that Volume 7 is actually "the end" of the main story. The next three volumes apparently contain short stories that fill in gaps, tell tales of some of the minor characters from the main arc, fill in more backstory, etc. It's not that I mind this so much as I was just caught off guard. Here I was, thinking I had four more volumes of Emma's and William's story, and finding out that this was actually the last.

*All that said, I actually liked how the story ended. I don't want to spoil anything, thus the vagueness, but I love that it didn't overreach, didn't try to miraculously make everything "happily ever after."

*Volume 8-10. At first, I was going to talk about the stories in these volumes separately, but well, that just didn't feel right. Some of the stories could spoil things in the earlier volumes. What I can say is that I enjoyed these volumes, but not nearly as much as the main story arc of the first seven. They were quite an eclectic bunch of stories, some more engaging than others.

*By the way, the panels above do not necessarily match up to the volume being discussed. I just wanted to share some of the art from this series so you could see how lovely it is. It was a very big part of what brought me to love these books so much. They really are just so visually stunning and expressive.

*A few other personal notes: 1.) I tend to be intimidated by historical fiction. (Yeah, don't ask me why, when I love to read non-fiction history.) But this year, I've been reading just a bit more, and really haven't had a bad experience yet. The Emma series will be another tally in the historical fiction win column. 2.) I have this notion in my head that I don't like romance. This notion is blatantly false. Honestly, why I put this wall up every time someone mentions romance is completely beyond me...guess I've just told myself this for so long that my brain just automatically screams it. In trying to be observant lately about what I honestly do and do not enjoy, I've learned that I'm often very drawn to romantic relationships in stories, just as I am to other types of relationships. So...while I'd like to call this two lessons learned, I know how prone I am to setbacks, so I'll just call them two lessons I'm working on learning.

Projects progress:

Happiness Project: Ana's list of books

Unofficial-for-me reading challenges: Graphic Novels 2012 Reading Challenge and Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


Ana @ things mean a lot said...

I felt the same way about the last 3 volumes compared to the main story, but it was still really nice to be able to linger in this world for a little longer and to find out more about some of the secondary characters. And yeah, I also shy away from romance even though I AM really drawn to romantic relationships in books. I guess I just feel overwhelmed because it's such a huge genre that I know next to nothing about. How do I even begin to discover what I like? Probably this is how many people feel about fantasy :P

Susan said...

Debi, isn't it exciting when a series of graphic novels - or anything new in book form - suddenly grabs you? I haven't read this series, but from how you are talking about it, and those lovely illustrations, now I want to :-)

Love the Happiness Project Ana gave you the list of books for, too :-)

Yes, interesting you both reach to the word romance like that, when you both like relationships as part of the story.

Jason Gignac said...


I'm so glad you liked these! Ms Ana is without a doubt the BEST book recommendation source ever. EVER. I loved how the world felt rich and complex without ever feeling overwhelming. Have you read her other series, the one about nomadic tribes in central asia? GORGEOUS just like this one.:)