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Jane Austen wrote the untitled fragment that was later called The Watsons in 1803-5, and it was published posthumously in 1871. Joan Aiken, well known for her Jane Austen sequels and children's books, finishes the fragment, introducing a new hero and seamlessly continuing where Jane Austen left off to a satisfying ending for all Austen fans. Emma Watson returns home after 14 years spent with a beloved aunt, whose re-marriage has caused a significant change in Emma's circumstances. Used to a life of ease, warmth and intelligence, Emma is thrust back into a home where, with one exception, her sisters are petty and jealous, if not vulgar, her father is ill and weak, and her brothers are not men of fine minds. This is a poignant exploration of a young lady's endurance in the face of reduced circumstances, and in true Jane Austen fashion, there is an admirable hero to make all right in the end.
The late Joan Aiken was a prolific author of children's books and Jane Austen sequels and continuations. She is the author of Lady Catherine's Necklace, which follows Anne de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Fairfax, a sequel to Emma.