(2021) Lume Books (Kindle Publication)
By Lume Books 2021
As I read Jane Austen’s novel Emma, once more I saw an opening for myself as humble follower. The whole story is a mirage, a concoction of a literary imagination quite a dictatorial as Emma. Of course they wouldn’t be happy. Knightley, over two decades older, is more like a severe schoolmaster than a lover, even Emma can only commend his ‘tall, firm, upright figure’. Worse still, they are going to live with the wingeing Mr. Woodhouse. Jane Austen has created the most unlikely happy ending in the world. Nor could flirty Frank possibly stay faithful to delicate Jane Fairfax.
I admired Jane Austen’s wicked genius more and more and picked up my own pen to write the title ‘Perfect Happiness.’ And as I wrote, the mean abbreviations of modern Englishgave way to the glorious language of Latin A levels, complete with ablative absolute and impersonal passive. The fading away of motherhood and daughterhood forgotten, I plunged into the world of Hartfield.
‘I forgot about Austen forgot about Billington and just allowed the characters to hold me and lead me forward.’ Maureen Lipman
‘Faithful, gratifyingly orderly, delicately thrilling… It is great fun to read’ The Spectator
‘Delicious — Ms Billington is both witty and wilful and in love with her heroine… It is exhilarating fun’ Fay Weldon