Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is the tale of Catherine Morland, a clergyman’s daughter. Catherine is invited to Bath by friends the Allen’s and there embarks on a journey of learning the social ropes and graces. It is in Bath that she first meets Henry Tilney whom she secretly adores but as in all novels of this era, happenings, misinformation and misunderstandings keep the couple from becoming involved. Eventually, Catherine is invited to the title location and learns more of the Tilney family, the General, and his mysterious deceased wife.
This one was a mixed read for me, while I love the genre and the time period, I do get frustrated by Catherine and what I call being an intentional air head. There are times throughout the novel that you want to yell at her to open her eyes and ears. I found myself asking, can she truly be that backwards and socially unaware.
The majority of the other characters are the stereotypes of their worst traits and gives one a very skewed, or perhaps very accurate account of society in Bath at the time. It was a bit disappointing that some aspects of the story related to Northanger Abbey itself were not more developed.
Overall the novel is worth the read, and easily can be picked off in one to two days. For me it ate up the better part of a cross country bus trip.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, was educated by her father and brothers and from her own reading. Her works have garnered her a permanent spot in the history books and a favorite with critics.