“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
So, as you may know, I recently started back up at school - eek!! It’s been such a crazy transitional period, but I think I’ve finally found my footing. One of the courses I’m taking this term is, amazingly, a course all about Jane Austen. Seriously, all we do is spend 3 hours a week talking about Jane Austen, reading her books, and watching film adaptations. Heyy Mr. Darcy (*waves*). Our first book of the term was Northanger Abbey. Although it’s part of my school curriculum, I thought since I’d never read it before, it was still worthy of a blog review!
Northanger Abbey follows country gal Catherine Morland on her journey from her family home to Bath, where she intends on staying for 6 weeks with the wealthy and childless couple, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. In Bath, she meets the Thorpe and the Tilney siblings - both pairs teach Catherine about the world beyond her boundaries.
As some may know, Northanger Abbey was the first of Austen’s novels to be prepared for publication - although it didn’t actually come out until after she died, in 1817. She actually wrote this when she was in her late teens and I think that you can really see her age in her writing. I think that’s what makes this book less of a hit with me, compared to her later works like my personal fav, Pride and Prejudice. But that’s definitely not to say that the writing in Northanger Abbey is immature!! Jane Austen was always wise beyond her years and I still think Northanger Abbey is a great novel, just not one of the best. You know?
I thought it was quite clever that Jane Austen used Catherine’s love for Gothic novels almost as a flaw in her character; it was quite the tongue-in-cheek jab at Ann Radcliffe. Catherine’s imagination and obsession with the novels gets her into quite a bit of trouble, which is a fairly amusing storyline.
The one thing that irks me though is that Henry Tilney, for the majority of the novel, is quite annoying. He’s presumptuous and condescending. Most of his time spent with Catherine, and his sister Eleanor for that matter, is by berating her for her interest in Gothic novels and how her perception of things is wrong. Blah blah blah. He does get less tiresome throughout the last half of the novel. THANK GOD.
All in all, it was a pretty good read! I might not read it again, though.
Are you a Jane Austen fan? Do you like Northanger Abbey?
Goodreads Challenge: 27 out of 50