“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine… But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine…”
During an eventful season at Bath, Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. When she is invited to stay at her new friends’ grand house, Northanger Abbey, her melodramatic imagination threatens to run away with her.
Having finished this book I have now read all six of the Austen canon and have finished my challenge: to read all of her novels before I go to university! (I wrote about it in my first post on here.)
Northanger Abbey was one of Austen’s earlier written novels, so it perhaps seems ironic to read this one last? Although it was published later alongside Persuasion, my last Austen book I read (you can read my review of it here), so it is rather fitting that I have read this one after!
The writing in this novel has a distinctly narrative voice, speaking to the reader and (rather obviously) expressing Austen’s own views and opinions. As a result of the writing style this novel is also very obviously satirical. Austen is known for her satire, but Northanger Abbey is, to me, the most direct about it out of all of her books.
The characters are interesting: Catherine is a very unconventional character, and her innocence makes me can’t help but like her. However, her relationship with the male protagonist, Henry Tilner, seems forced. They don’t seem to be very compatible at all: Catherine never truly understands what he talks about half the time. Yet Austen does not present many scenes of their friendship or blooming relationship, so it’s difficult to tell if this is the case or not.
The plot is well maintained and gripping all the way through; Austen’s own imagination is symbolised through Catherine’s wild imagination, which I thought was beautiful and very clever! (Well, when isn’t Austen clever with her writing?)
A great, quick read, and a lovely book to end my Austen challenge with.