Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in December 1815, about the perils of misconstrued romance. The main character, Emma Woodhouse, is described in the opening paragraph as "handsome, clever, and rich" but is also rather spoiled. Prior to starting the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like."
Emma Woodhouse is a young, beautiful, smart, and witty woman in Regency England. She lives in Surrey in the village of Highbury with her father, a valetudinarian (that is, one who is afraid they will become ill), who is principally characterized by excessive concern for the health and safety of his loved ones. Emma's friend and only critic is the gentlemanly Mr. Knightley, her neighbour from the adjacent estate of Donwell, and brother of her elder sister Isabella's husband. As the novel opens, Emma has just attended the wedding of Miss Taylor, her old governess and best friend. Having introduced Miss Taylor to her future husband, Mr Weston, Emma takes credit for their marriage, and decides that she rather likes matchmaking.