Honor Arundel John W. Conner - Essay

John W. Conner

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Being sixteen and in love with a boy of nineteen who likes you but does not love you is a peculiar kind of living hell. Honor Arundel explores this adolescent inferno with marvelous insight in her engaging new book, Emma in Love. For Emma, being in love is a thoroughly unpleasant experience. (p. 1384)

Of course the theme is a well-worn one. But in the capable hands of Mrs. Arundel, Emma's anxieties become achingly real. Adolescent girls will sympathize with Emma, yet realize the important lesson about life this experience is teaching Emma: one must actively participate in life if living is to be joyous. Emma must experience an adolescent love affair in order to learn how to love seriously….

Emma in Love is a much more sophisticated novel than Mrs. Arundel's earlier The Terrible Temptation. The characters in Emma in Love are well developed; most of them are struggling students who are preparing themselves for as yet unknown futures. Their struggles are rewarding, however, because the future promises interesting and satisfying pursuits. Emma in Love contains some interesting comments about life's values which will provide thoughtful moments for older adolescent girls. (p. 1385)

John W. Conner, "Book Marks: 'Emma in Love'," in English Journal (copyright © 1972 by the National Council of Teachers of English), Vol. 61, No. 9, December, 1972, pp. 1384-85.