Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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RATING: 4/5

BLURB: “Catherine Morland, an unremarkable tomboy as a child, is thrown amongst all the ‘difficulties and dangers of Bath’ at the ripe age of seventeen. Armed with an unworldly charm and a vivid imagination, she must overcome the caprices of elegant society, encountering along the way such characters as the vacuous Mrs Allen, coquettish Isabella and the brash bully John Thorpe. Catherine’s invitation to Northanger Abbey, in her eyes a haven of coffins, skeletons and other Gothic devices, does lead to an adventure, though one she didn’t expect, and her misjudgement of the ambitious, somewhat villainous General Tilney is not wholly unjustified. However, with the aid of ‘unromantic’ hero Henry Tilney, Catherine gradually progresses towards maturity and self-knowledge”

REVIEW: I think part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much was due to the great affinity I felt with the character of Catherine Morland. Much like Bronte’s Jane Eyre, she is never described as beautiful and rarely described as pretty, but she is full of a wit that makes her hugely entertaining. I related to her vivid imagination and the way it often leads her into trouble – as, I suspect, many readers will. As well as being widely considered a Gothic satire, Northanger Abbey is also a traditional Austen romance, with the typical unwanted suitor in the shape of bullish John Thorpe, the villain in the shape of General Tilney, and of course the hero – witty, well-read, handsome Henry Tilney. The character of Isabella also fulfills the role of the spiteful false friend, who is held up as a foil for Catherine, whose good nature and intelligence makes her instantly likeable. The book takes lots of interesting turns and is, as always with Austen, just as easy to read as a modern-day romance. The end is hugely fulfilling and made me smile for several minutes even once I had closed the book. I would recommend this as highly as any other of Austen’s works. 

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