Although its not the effervescent work of genius that Pride and Prejudice is, Austen's first novel is thoroughly charming. Austen's witty, gentle mockery of the cliches of the gothic novel set Northanger Abbey apart in originality and humor. But its best feature is the winning, naive and over-imaginative heroine Catherine Morland, as she leaves her country home and explores the sophisticated world for the first time.
Rachel S. reviewed Northanger Abbey (Modern Library Classics) on
Helpful Score: 1
A book in almost the usual style of Jane Austen. A young girl visits Bath for 6 weeks and becomes a heroine. Her adventures with her own imaginations are quite humorous. All in all, a funnier and more lighthearted book than Jane Austen usually writes. Well worth the read!
So here's my secret shame. This was the first time I'd ever read Jane Austen.
I know! It's incomprehensible! A bibliophiliac such as myself, and a lover of Dickens and Bronte no less! But it's true, I had never picked up Jane before this. And I've actually had this book in my collection for a few years, and only just now got around to i.
There is nothing shocking to reveal here. I didn't discover a distaste for Austen or throw the book across the room in anger.
I thought it was wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, and I was impressed with the hilariously scathing swipes at society life. I loved the discussion of novel reading within the novel. I loved Catherine's flights of fancy and macabre. I was shocked at how things ended up with Isabella (I guess I should have known better, but I honestly thought she was genuine) and very taken with Eleanor. I absolutely loved the threads of female friendship that ran throughout the novel, and thought the romance was quite secondary in that respect.
I was a bit confused by nearly every summary I read of the story. They all mention how the story is about Catherine trying to uncover a dark secret at the Abbey. And in all, that storyline was perhaps 3 chapters of the whole book, and no where near the central plot. I'm unsure why it's so heavily relied upon in summaries.
I loved this, my first foray into Austen, and I look forward to continuing!
Not my favorite BUT I hung in there and it had a little excitement in the end. My only questions left were about James she did not wrap up that character. It is a short read but hang in there until the end, believe me I almost sat it down a couple of times.
I enjoyed reading Northanger Abbey. I read it for my book club and think it was a good selection. We wanted to read a classic this month and this one was enjoyable and easy to read. It was lighter, yet thought-provoking, when compared to some of her other works.
This is one of my personal favorites of Jane Austen. It hasn't gained a ton of popularity, but it should have!
The character of Catherine is lovable. She is a typical young girl. She's a dreamer, flighty, a bit over excitable, but sweet and tender.
The growing up tale of Catherine is one we can all relate to. Catherine finds herself in the exciting new world of Bath. She meets many strange characters. Some are out for her heart, others for her money. The lessons she learns are important ones that we have all had to learn. How she learns them is at times tender, other times funny.
A VERY Good Read!
Short novella introducing us to Catherine Morland, "the mistakenly invited guest at an isolated, and quite mysterious country manor." 211 pages. Compelling, but short, can be lost in the din over Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility. This is the small "Signet Classic" paperback.
This was not the best novel Jane Austen wrote, but if you like her other books you will probably be able to get through this. I found the first half much better than the last half. Austen has amazing character development which you can see even here. Plot was lacking a bit though.
Probably Austen's funniest novel, which is saying something. Great satire of the Gothic genre and the effect of fantastical literature (romantic, Gothic, etc) on the naive. And of course, packed with her trademark brilliant close observation of social relationships; scathing, funny, and honest. You can roll your eyes at her narrow world-view (nobody's poor, nobody's marginalized) and her rather heavy-handed men (Henry Knows All, of course) if you like, but you and I are surely just as much creatures of our time as Austen was of hers, and Austen was probably smarter and more insightful than both of us put together.