Northanger Abbey, written by Jane Austen
First published in 1818.
Genre: classics, romance, British.
Description (from GoodReads.com):
During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen’s works
My rating: 5/5
When it comes to Jane Austen, you either love her or hate her. Personally, I love her and this book was a delight to read. The protagonist, Miss Catherine Morland, does come across as being dense and naive, but those traits are charming and not at all annoying. Her curiosity leads her to a variety of situations and social appearances, all which are interesting in their own rights.
This book isn’t so much about the plot as it is about the dialogue and the interactions between Catherine and those around her. The dialogue is very proper but the reader is constantly trying to make sense of what is really being said between the lines. At some points, Austen humours the reader through a direct conversation explaining why certain things feel a bit “off.” The writing style is so different from books that are published today, that it is a real joy in exploring this type of literature. It takes a bit of effort, but the experience is richly satisfying.
The plot itself is secondary. In the edition I have, the plot was split into two volumes. The first volume was mostly about getting to know everyone and the places they frequent. The second volume contained more excitement, suspense, horror, and additional concepts to consider. The pace of the first volume was slower than for the second volume, but both were filled with descriptive situations and interesting dialogue.
Published after her death, some say this novel doesn’t live up to the expectations of her other novels. I disagree. This is a wonderful book that any classics fan should find themselves reading.