A Jane Austen YA Thriller? // The Forgotten Book // Book Review

I’m a simple person. I see Jane Austen and I buy. Ok? I can’t really resist. But you know what I haven’t ever read? An Emma retelling. And I certainly can’t resist that sort of book.

Because Pride and Prejudice gets WAY too much attention.

I’m pretty much in love with with Emma. I adore her spark, and humor, and zest for life. And Mr Knightley is my FAVORITE Austen suitor. He’s just all the adorable feelings.

(I contend that Knightley’s the Gilbert Blythe of the Austen world, and being a redhead purist, that tells you pretty much ALL you need to know about my feelings)

The Forgotten Book takes one of the cutest heroines & classic stories and blends it all together. Add in some mystery and crushes, and it’s a pretty cute Jane Austen retelling.

The Forgotten Book by Mechtild Gläser

Published January 2018 // Book Depository

3/5 stars 

… Synopsis …

Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon.

As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true.

But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her―and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

A new boy in school―the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter―becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.

This book has a very fun feel. It’s easy reading, and does get fairly intense towards the end of the story.

I felt like the pacing was a bit slow towards the beginning? And maybe it dragged a bit in the middle?

But the story of the magical book, how the book dictates so many things, and the blend of fairy tales is really amazing!
Though I do wonder if I found a magical book would I use it every day?

How in the world would you decide when to stop using it? What about when it starts backfiring? This is a BIG PROBLEM. Also, why are they dealing with this magic book so calmly? 

But maybe college is making me a bit too smart?

How would I have reacted to a magical book when I was 16? Probably panic. 

  • Emma – Emma isn’t Lizzy. I was terrified Emma would be Lizzy, seeing that the love interest is Darcy. *AHEM* WHERE IS MR KNIGHTLEY???

^ Oh, here he is! Dear world, this guy is A LOT better than Mr. Darcy ^ 

Emma is always Emma. She’s spunky, silly, and full of machinations. The whole story is her character.

  • Lots of Austen Characters – This story revolves around Emma and Pride and Prejudice. We loose the most annoying characters, Lydia, Mrs. Bennet, Wickam.

But we get to keep the characters the laugh out loud characters. Miss Bates is the school cook – and she’s just as quirky and chatty in The Forgotten Book as in Emma. (With an absolutely perfect niece, of course)

Also Emma’s Dad is so funny! I really, really like his character. A quirky mix of Mr. Bennet and Mr. Woodhouse.

  • Darcy and Gigi – AGHG! I love this relationship. In this story the famous siblings are twins and Gigi isn’t a foolish little girl trapped by a conniving fortune hunter.

She’s a deep thinker, and Darcy is still a jerk. (Apparently, he was dating and too busy to notice his sister REALLY needed him?) Also, why is it ok to be a jerk if your name is Darcy? 

  • Fairytales – And not just ordinary fairytales. Dark and mysterious German folklore.

I love how this story blends a classic story with a dark European story. The kind of story where Faeries are really bad and your wishes can hurt you.

  • Darcy + Emma – first, this is a weird pairing. Emma DOES NOT HAVE Lizzy’s wit and biting sarcasm. Even when she is sarcastic, it’s just not as harsh. Ok? Just no.

Darcy & Emma aren’t bad. Just not perfect. Also, he’ s 20. And Emma’s only 16??? Why are they a thing?

Also, he totally does have the right to call her a silly school girl! Because that’s who she is! She’s only 16! And he’s a college student! She’s even sillier for getting offended at his comment!

  • No School Happening – So, this is a boarding school. But the only lesson in the entire book is an etiquette lesson? Oh, and some history thrown in. It just didn’t feel real.
  • Hit and Miss Drama – I felt like the story was going for some high school melodrama. But it didn’t happen? It just ended up weird.

And the drama with the Frank Churchill character? I was so relieved he wasn’t a Wickam. But he was just boring! The Frank Churchill/Jane Fairfax pairing fell terribly flat.

Jane is supposed to be a nice girl, so I also felt like that characterization just went off the road. Maybe the Jane character was secretly Caroline Bingley? That could have been made a bit more clear.

  • No Character Development – This is a touchy issue with retellings. Either you diverge from the original, or there’s no major character development.

I don’t mind a bit more diverging for character development. Flat characters are just so meh and boring.

The fairytales and magical mystery really pulled this story together. And I actually really liked the relationship and story of Darcy and his sister. We could have really dropped all romance between Emma and Darcy and this story would have been fantastic.

Actually, I think this Emma reminds me of Nancy Drew? YES! That’s what this story really should be.  A magical Jane Austen/Nancy Drew mix.
Just drop all the Darcy/Emma pairing and it’s SO MUCH BETTER.

You do know I hate giving less than a 5 star rating? Because I feel terrible. 😭 I know authors spend so much time on their stories, I just want to sprinkle everything with 5 stars. But, I also know that I’m being highly impractical. So here goes…

3 Strawberry/Stars. Yes, the story could have been much better. Just follow my idea about Emma being Nancy Drew. And KEEP MR. KNIGHTLEY!

Content Warnings 




Also, this story is set in Germany, and the teenagers drink. It’s not considered underage, since the legal age in Germany is 16.


lets chat

Are you a Jane Austen fan? Thoughts on Emma versus Lizzy Bennet?

Isn’t Mr. Knightley the BEST? 

Do you like Dark(er) Fairy Tales? What about retellings from classic books? 


  1. January 30, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    Oof, magical books that have the ability to create the future are tough- except! As books show, good stuff does not happen around them, so I think I would try to get rid of it as soon as possible.
    Haha, I feel like no school in a book that takes place at a school happens a lot.
    I can’t say I’m a Jane Austen fan YET because there are still quite a few of her books that I haven’t read. In other words, the only one I’ve read so far is Pride and Prejudice, which needs to be reread preferably with some help. That means I haven’t read Emma so I really can’t give a fair opinion, but if only because of The Lizzy Bennet Diaries, I love Lizzy! And Darcy! Actually, more like I LOVE Lizzy and Darcy.

    • Elizabeth Hunter
      January 31, 2018 / 10:06 am

      Lizzy and Darcy are adorable, but I just love Mr. Knightley so much. He’s incredibly kind & gentle, which just wins my heart.
      I really, really recommend the 2009 BBC Emma. It’s about 4 hours, but so well done & worth watching.

      • January 31, 2018 / 10:26 pm

        Oh, that sounds amazing! I also need to watch BBC’s super long Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

  2. Urooba
    February 25, 2018 / 3:43 am

    I love this review! Suprisingly, I never heard of this book and I’ve heard about almost every other Jane Austen Retelling out there.
    I’m reading Emma right now, and so far I just feel like that everyone is just putting Emma on a very high pedestal for no reason at all. She is very status conscious, so that’s one thing I don’t like about her.

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