Emma Woodhouse is rare in the Austen canon in that she is financially well-off. Arguably, the novel recounts the emotional and intellectual journey of the protagonist - and perhaps the reader - wherein she discovers the greater importance of inherent personal value (intelligence, taste, generosity, kindness) as compared to external features such as wealth or charm. Adapted in 1995 into the movie Clueless, Emma, like all of Austen's work, remains startlingly relevant to modern audiences. Perhaps this is because Austen, although she employed exaggeration for comedic effect, was essentially a realist.
Emma appears to have everything she could want - money, beauty, and admiration - and consequently has a very high opinion of herself. Both because of her status and her intellect, Emma finds herself almost without a true equal amongst her acquaintance. After reveling in this position for much of the book, Emma eventually comes to understand the loneliness of sitting at the top of the social pyramid.
As with all of Austen's work, readers can expect, above all else, some of the wittiest dialogue and most amusing secondary characters in all of literature. Particular favorites in Emma are the rude and obnoxious Mrs. Elton and Emma's father, Mr. Woodhouse, whose constant worrying and general depression are amusing to the reader but require a great deal of effort on Emma's part.
Your perspective of this classic story, which has been remade as the contemporary movie Clueless, will evolve as you gain life experience. Emma is an 18 year old who believes she understands everyone's feelings and motives; she has no compunctions about matchmaking and arranging others' lives with amusing results.