"Emma Woodhouse -- handsome, clever, and rich with a
comfortable home and happy disposition -- had lived nearly
21 years in the world with very little to distress her.
Until the vampire attacks began."
Wayne Josephson's Emma is perfectly comfortable arranging
tea with Highbury village society or whipping out a stake
to dispatch rabid wild vampires. Her proclivity
for fostering romance among her acquaintances is matched
only by the depth of her failures, as couple after couple
fails to fall in line with her plans. Josephson's verbal
sketches of the members of this suffocatingly close
upper-class Regency-era village are written with tongue
firmly in cheek. Their interactions on the public level
contrast hilariously with the underlying subtleties of their
true feelings toward one another.
The wit of Jane Austen is turned up several notches with
this delightfully offbeat tale of matchmaking among the
country set, the remarkable physical preservation of several
eligible gentlemen who never seem to eat at dinner parties,
and the rabid, feral menace who can't wait to dine on the
blue blood of the Ton.
EMMA AND THE VAMPIRES is Wayne Josephson's first novel and
an engaging froth of a read. It never takes itself too
seriously and is entertaining in the same way as a good long
gossip with a clever and cutting maiden aunt. It's the
perfect book to pair with hot tea and biscuits on a rainy
afternoon. I hope there are plenty more of Josephson's books
What better place than pale England to hide a secret society
of gentlemen vampires?
In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen's Emma,
screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of
the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village
vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who
imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to
arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully
disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith
declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she's the
one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately,
Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his
unbeating heart-his (literal) undying love for her... A
brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead.
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich, with a
comfortable home and happy disposition, had lived nearly
twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress
her. Until she fell in love with a vampire.
She was the younger of the two daughters of a most
affectionate, indulgent father at their estate, Hartfield.
Ever since her sister Isabella’s marriage seven years ago to
Mr. John Knightley, a stunningly handsome vampire with pale
skin and golden coloured eyes, Emma had been mistress of the
house. Her mother had died too long ago for Emma to have had
more than a vague remembrance of her caresses; in her
mother’s place, an excellent woman named Miss Taylor had
served as governess.
Miss Taylor had been less a governess than a friend, very
fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between
them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Miss Taylor
imposed hardly any restraints on Emma, living together as
mutual friends, and Emma doing just what she liked.
The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation were the power
of getting too much her own way and a disposition to think a
bit too well of herself. These were disadvantages which
would lead to danger which was presently
unperceived--everyone in her village of Highbury was pale,
this being England, so the vampires blended in quite nicely.
Emma was blithely unaware when she found herself in their
presence. And especially when she found herself attracted to
Then a gentle sorrow came. Miss Taylor married. The wedding
had every promise of happiness for Emma’s former governess.
Mr. Weston was a vampire of exceptional character, easy
fortune, appealing scent, eternally suitable age and, like
Emma’s brother-in-law John, he had golden coloured
eyes--they were both vegetarian vampires who feasted only on
Emma thought it slightly odd that Mr. Weston requested the
wedding be held at midnight. The guests struggled to stay
awake, but since Mr. Weston never slept, he was quite alert
throughout the ceremony.
How was Emma to bear the loss of Miss Taylor? She dearly
loved her father, but he was no companion for her. He could
not equal her in conversation, and the disparity in their
ages--Mr. Woodhouse had not married early--was much
increased by his having been a hypochondriac all his life;
and without much activity, he acted much older than his years.
Emma’s sister Isabella, being settled in London sixteen
miles off, was much beyond her daily reach. And many a long
October and November evening must be endured at Hartfield
before Christmas brought the next visit from Isabella, her
husband, and their pale little children with their precious
golden eyes, to fill the house and give her pleasant company
Highbury, the large and populous village in which Hartfield
was located, afforded Emma no possibility of new friends.
The Woodhouses were the grandest family in Highbury. All
looked up to them. She had many acquaintances in the town,
but not one among them who could be considered a replacement
for Miss Taylor.
It was a melancholy change, and Emma could only sigh over
it. But she needed to act cheerful for her father. He was a
nervous man, easily depressed, hating change of every kind.
He was still not reconciled to his daughter Isabella’s
marrying, when he now had to part with Miss Taylor, too.
“Poor Miss Taylor! I wish she were here again.”
“I cannot agree with you, Papa. Mr. Weston is such a
good-humoured, pleasant, excellent man, and--oh! how his
skin sparkles in the sunlight--that he thoroughly deserves a
good wife. We shall often visit with them. We must pay a
dinner visit very soon.”
“What is it, Papa?”
“It is just that Mr. Weston--he never eats. We shall arrive
at dinner and there will be no food to sustain us.”
Emma nodded at her father’s wisdom. “Perhaps we should visit
Her father smiled, and Emma hoped that a game of backgammon
might help her father through the evening.
The backgammon table was set up, but before they could
commence, Mr. George Knightley paid a call. He was a
strikingly handsome vampire who claimed to be thirty-seven
but was actually two hundred thirty-seven, with alabaster
skin and thick brown hair combed back off his high
aristocratic forehead. His blood of choice was human, and
since he had not feasted for a great while, his eyes were
black from need of sustenance. He had deep purple circles
under his eyes from lack of sleep. Mr. Knightley was not
only an intimate friend of the family but also the elder
brother of Isabella’s husband John.
Mr. Knightley lived about a mile from Highbury at his
estate, Donwell Abbey. He was a frequent visitor and was
always welcome, and at this time more welcome than usual,
having come directly from John and Isabella’s house in
London to say that all were well there.
Mr. Knightley’s visit this evening was a happy one that
cheered Mr. Woodhouse for some time. Mr. Knightley had a
reserved but pleasant manner which always did him good. And
since he never blinked his eyes, he flattered everyone with
an uninterrupted gaze.
Mr. Woodhouse gratefully observed, “It is very kind of you,
Mr. Knightley, to come out at this late hour to call upon
us. I am afraid you must have had a shocking walk.”
“Not at all, sir. It is my favourite time of day. It is a
beautiful moonlit night, and now I am so warm that I must
draw back from your great fire,” lest, he thought, I should
spontaneously combust into flames.
“But you must have found your walk very damp. I wish you may
not catch cold.”
“Damp, sir!” exclaimed Mr. Knightley. “I thrive in the
dampness and cold. The sun causes me to--well, it disagrees
with me. And by the bye, I have not wished you joy about the
wedding. I hope it all went off well. How did you all
behave? Who cried the most?”
“Ah! Poor Miss Taylor!” said Mr. Woodhouse.
“I should think she would indeed be crying on her wedding
night, Mr. Woodhouse,” said he, “from the anticipation of
the coldness of her new husband’s skin. Well, at any rate,
Miss Taylor has been accustomed to having two persons to
please--you and Emma. She will now have but one--her
husband. It must be better to have only one to please than two.”
“Especially when one of us is such a fanciful, troublesome
creature!” said Emma playfully. “That is what you have in
your head, I know. Mr. Knightley loves to find fault with
me, Papa--it is all a joke. We always say what we like to
Mr. Knightley was one of the few people who could see faults
in Emma Woodhouse. In fact, he seemed to possess a strange
ability to look into her mind and discern what she was
thinking. He was the only one who ever told Emma of her
faults. This was not agreeable to Emma--she wanted to be
thought of as perfect by everybody.
“Emma knows I never flatter her,” said Mr. Knightley.
“Well,” said Emma, willing to let it pass, “the wedding was
charming. Everybody was punctual, everybody in their best
looks, and hardly a long face to be seen.”
“I know that Emma will miss such a companion,” said Mr.
Knightley, “but she knows how much joy the marriage brings
to Miss Taylor.”
“And you have forgotten the considerable joy to me,” said
Emma. “I made the match myself, you know, four years ago;
and to have it take place, when so many people said Mr.
Weston would never marry again, may comfort me through
Mr. Knightley shook his head at her. His piercing eyes
stared at her, and he drew back, becoming paler even still,
employing his special power to know that Emma did not tell
Her father fondly replied, “Ah! My dear, I wish you would
not make matches. Pray do not make any more matches.”
“I promise to make none for myself, Papa. But I must,
indeed, for other people. It is the greatest amusement in
the world! And after such success! Everybody said that Mr.
Weston, who had been a widower so long, would never marry
again after his wife died. When I have had such success,
dear Papa, you cannot think that I shall leave off matchmaking.”
“I do not understand what you mean by success,” said Mr.
Knightley. “I rather imagine your saying to yourself one
idle day, ‘I think it would be nice if Mr. Weston were to
marry Miss Taylor.’ You made a lucky guess, and that is all
that can be said.”
“A lucky guess is never merely luck,” said Emma. “There is
always some talent in it. If I had not promoted Mr. Weston’s
visits here, and given many little encouragements, it might
not have come to anything after all.”
“My dear,” replied Mr. Knightley, “a straightforward man
like Weston,” whose heart never beats and lungs never
breathe except to smell, he thought, “and a rational,
unaffected woman like Miss Taylor, may be safely left to
manage their own concerns. You are more likely to have done
harm, than good, by interfering.”
“Emma never thinks of herself if she can do good to others,”
rejoined Mr. Woodhouse, understanding only part of what he
had just heard. “But, my dear, pray do not make any more
matches--they are silly things.”
“Only one more, Papa. Only for Mr. Elton, the village Vicar.
Poor, pale Mr. Elton! I must look about for a wife for him.
He has been here two whole years and has fitted up his house
so comfortably--though his black curtains are curiously
always drawn against the light of day. He must be very sad
to live alone. It would be a shame to have him single any
longer. I thought when he officiated the wedding ceremony
last night for Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston, he looked so very
much as if he would like to have a wedding for himself!”
“Mr. Elton is a very handsome young man, to be sure,” said
her father, having known the Vicar since he came to
Highbury. “I have a great regard for him. On Sunday mornings
as he delivers his sermon, his skin sparkles like an angel!
And when he touches my hand at communion, a shock like
lightning courses through my body, which must be the Lord
himself working his miracles. But if you want to show him
any attention, my dear, ask him to come and dine with us
some day. That will be a much better thing.”
“I agree with you entirely, sir,” said Mr. Knightley,
laughing. “Invite him to dinner, Emma, and give him the best
meal,” although, he thought, with his black eyes, I would
imagine his hunger lies in something other than the repast
you will offer, “but leave him to choose his own wife.
Depend upon it, any man who appears to be twenty-seven and
never seems to age can take care of himself.”