If you are not a fan of the pastiche, of Jane Austen, or of Regency Romance you can skip this post and go back to your sci fi or westerns or whatever it is that you prefer, though I must say you're missing out on a lot by ignoring these genres. (I think Jane Austen has become an entire sub-genre of her own by now.)
Mr Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange is just what it sounds like it's going to be, and a fine pastiche it is. Some of the many books that have been written purporting to continue the story of the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy after Pride and Prejudice or to tell us about the lives of minor characters in Austen's novels - well, they don't quite make the grade. This book meets and exceeds my requirements.
Austen writes her novel, Emma, from the point of view of the title character. We are occasionally able to infer events going on in the lives of other characters and what they are thinking, but a lot is left out. Grange has filled those gaps and has added an occasional twist that I doubt Austen had in mind when she was penning her novel. Grange's sub-plot concerning Miss Bates in particular is delightful.
Grange's prose doesn't sparkle as much as that of some other writers who have taken inspiration from Austen, and certainly never gets near the brilliance of Austen herself. (Whose does?) But this is a well-made book and it pleased me greatly. If you like the gentle sort of novel that I'm so fond of and if you don't require bel canto writing, I can recommend Mr Knightley's Diary wholeheartedly.
Grange has written other, similar pastiches: Mr Darcy's Diary, Captain Wentworth's Diary, and Edmund Bertrand's Diary are available in Britain and I feel certain will be here on American shores before long. I'll be waiting at the dock.