Saturday, July 25, 2009

Emma, vol. 4

The story: While Emma's been away at the Meredith house in the country, William's trying to keep a calm front in London and failing miserably. When he thinks all hope of seeing Emma ever again is lost, he finds himself growing ever closer to his sister's friend Eleanor. Almost simultaneously, the Merediths find themselves in London, servants in tow. When a chance meeting between Emma's employer, Mrs. Meredith, and Mrs. Trollop occurs in a London department store, Emma is commissioned to accompany Mrs. Trollop to a party, where her connection to William is finally revealed.

Reaction: Oh my, what a hole William has dug for himself in this volume! I would go so far as to call him a jerk, if it weren't for the oh-so-apparent despair he feels at Emma's loss. Meanwhile, Emma is dealing as best she can, raising suspicions among her fellow servants when they all venture to London alongside their bosses. All in all, this volume is full of emotion, complication and surprises.

Deep thoughts: I found Eleanor's sister, Monica, to be an interesting character in this volume. When Eleanor asks her if she loved her husband upon marrying him, Monica responds, "Not a whit." Instead, she married the man that seemed to "worship" her the most. While this seems awful in a modern world of equal love in a relationship, it also inherently seems practical to the point of selfishness. But, in my opinion, it feels as if Monica is marrying the man who will put up with the largest amount of her ridiculousness. While marrying out of love wasn't an option in those days, there are plenty of other things Monica could have considered before committing herself to the poor sucker who married her.

Artwork: The beauty of Emma is in the details -- from lace-edged clothing to cobblestone streets to the beautiful Indian fabrics of Hakim's living quarters -- it's all done with an exquisite eye for the little things that comprise the world of Emma. There's also some tasteful nudity in this volume, but it's done particularly well and realistically. It was oddly refreshing to see a naked woman with a real body, curves and all.

The verdict: Highly recommended. While the beginning of this volume seemed a little slow going at first, things quickly picked up and left me on an emotional cliffhanger once it ended. I will definitely be reading the next volume soon! Emma is available in the U.S. from CMX.

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