The first thing I've done for the Everything Austen II challenge is read Northanger Abbey. Now I knew I'd have no problem with part of the challenge – the actual reading/watching/sewing etc. The difficulty comes with the reviewing part. Anyone who reads my monthly ramblings on the books I've been reading will know that my reviews tend to be very short. However, I shall do my best, starting with a wee synopsis:
Northanger Abbey is Austen's brilliant and funny response to the sensational Gothic Horror novels popular at the time. She sends her impressionable young heroine, Catherine, to a mysterious ancient abbey where dire deeds may be afoot…
but the consequences are not at all what might be expected.
So, my thoughts. Firstly I have to say that I now have a new favourite Austen. I loved this. I kept finding myself smiling as I was reading it. Having read several of the Gothic Horror novels as mentioned in the synopsis, some of the passages in the book were very familiar. The heroine spends a lot of time reading these novels so I could well understand her excitement at visiting an abbey that promised adventures such as she'd been reading about.
I think Catherine Morland is possibly my favourite Austen heroine. She seemed rather more feisty than some and how could I not love a character that enjoyed curling up with a scary novel, even if she did let her imagination run away with her. I liked Henry Tilney too. He seemed a much more believable character than some of Austen's leading men, and although we didn't get to see a great deal of him I think he was a very good match for Catherine.
The novel is split into two fairly distinct halves. It starts off with Catherine going off to Bath with family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. There she meets various young people, Eleanor and Henry Tilney amongst them, leading to her invitation to spend some time with them at Northanger Abbey. The time in Bath is spent going to balls and generally socialising. Once in Northanger Abbey the book gets slightly more serious, with some intrigue and romance. The ending is, of course, very satisfactory.
Phew, there. Much longer than my usual effort so I hope that will suffice.