Emma Woodhouse leads a life blessed with wealth and privilege and feels it is her duty to help those less fortunate than herself. Charity work isn’t within her compass, however – she insists on arranging her friends’ love lives and realising their unfulfilled fashion and romantic potential. Admirable though this may sound she ignores their wishes and often their best interests to achieve what she decides is best.
This gives Rushton’s narrative a delightful double edge – just as Emma’s unfortunate friends and acquaintances remain oblivious to her motives and manipulations, she seems unable to see the evidence before her eyes that a childhood friend has fallen in love with her. It is only when her complex web of schemes has disintegrated and she has finally realised her own folly that she gets what she really needs. Rushton adroitly creates a sugar-spun world of tinsel celebrity and shallow self-satisfaction, contrasting the shallow aspirations of its key players with the humility needed for real self-knowledge and a truly satisfying life. All is well in the end but the journey is never less than entertainingly convincing.