Sunday, 10 February 2013

Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*

Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen
Release Date: December, 1817
Num Pages: 251
Links: Goodreads

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen's "Gothic parody". Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly starical twist. The story's unkikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry's mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art. 

I think Jane Austen understands human nature really well. In this book, she just nails it.

When I heard the subject matter of this book, I knew that I just HAD to read it. Jane Austen, combined with scandalous mysterious? Murder mysteries? Um, big-time score.  I was expecting nothing but the best from this book, and guess what? I got nothing but the best.  It was perfection. ♥

I don't understand why this book isn't marked as one of the best books of all time with Pride & Prejudice and all of Jane Austen's more widely read books. I think I prefer this book to all of the other Jane Austens I've read. I was rapt the entire time I was reading it, and there was something about the way Jane Austen writes in this book that was just super duper amazing.

At the beginning of January, one of my New Years Resolutions was to read more classic books. I found myself getting bogged down by the ever expansive genre of YA. While YA books are pretty much my life these days (I seriously cannot live without them), I knew that I needed to read some good classic books, too. Unlike a lot of people, I love classics. I'm just that kind of person... I don't know why. After an unsuccessful first attempt at Wuthering Heights, I saw Northanger Abbey lying on my bookshelf and knew that it was time to read it. So I picked it up, and literally enjoyed every sweet second of it. Northanger Abbey is, in short, 251 pages of perfection.

All of the characters are charmingly imperfect, especially Catherine. She was quite stupid and often made very quick assumptions about people and things, but I liked her nonetheless. Jane Austen is one of the few authors that can make her heroines so flawed but make you love them so much. Like in Emma, most people loathe Emma Woodhouse, but I for one really liked her. Same goes for this book; Catherine might have appeared quite obnoxious to most readers, but I thought she was charming, as was Henry Tilney <3

The one complaint I have about this book was its predictability. I predicted the story from the moment Isabella started hinting at being a bad friend. Yet at other times I was surprised. I'm not going to put spoilers in this review, but let me just say that this book was predictable and surprising at the same time.

If you are a Jane Austen fan (or even if you're not) and you haven't read this yet, then what are you waiting for? Go and read it! And why are you reading this, when you could be reading this lovely book? GO! Read it now!

PS. My favorite Jane Austen yet.

4.5/5 stars


  1. Great review Annie! I think I should really start reading more classic books, yet I just can't find the time to devote myself to them!

    -Grace :)

    1. Thanks, Grace! I can see where you're coming from; Classic books take up a lot of time and devotion, not to mention attention :p


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