Northanger Abbey–a Little Known Jane Austen

Hey, my first official book review!  Tell me what you think in the comments. 🙂

I recently finished this book called Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  Here is a summary from Good Reads:

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 satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely 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.

What I liked:

Over Christmas break, I was looking to read a Classic, well-written novel, but I didn’t want to read a morbid, overly-depressing Classic.  So I thought, Why not read a Jane Austen novel?  I noticed that on my bookshelf, next to the huge Jane Austen treasury, was a small Jane Austen novel, barely 200 pages long, called “Northanger Abbey.”  Northanger Abbey, I thought, hmm, I wonder what that’s about?  So I picked this little book off the shelf and read the back cover.  Sounds intriguing, I thought.  Then I read the first chapter. And the second.  And the third.  And the fourth.  I couldn’t put the book down!  Not only is this little-known Jane Austen novel well-written, but it is also gripping, entertaining, and brilliant.  To say the least, this is a beautiful novel.

Yes, it is a romance novel.  But it’s not one of those extremely predictable romance novels; it’s actually rather unpredictable.  Catherine does *SPOILER* end up marrying Henry Tilney .  But it is still unpredictable–for most of the book the reader is trying to figure out if Henry likes Catherine or not. *END OF SPOILER*  This book had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.

What I didn’t like:

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about “Northanger Abbey.”  It was a wonderful story, predictable enough to know that it would end happily, but not too predictable, at the same time.

Who I would recommend this book for:

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes romance or Jane Austen novels.  Seriously, I love “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Emma.”  “Northanger Abbey,” in my opinion, was every bit as good as Austen’s most famous works.  As great as this book is, if you don’t like romance novels, this book probably isn’t for you!

Underlying themes and messages:

“Northanger Abbey” emphasizes the importance of marrying for love, not money.  This was an important theme to Austen herself, so it is no wonder that she emphasizes it in this book.  Marrying for love (not money) is a recurring theme in many of her novels, not just “Northanger Abbey.”  In “Pride and Prejudice,” *SPOILER* Mr. Bingley’s sisters convince him to go away to London, so that he will not marry Jane Bennet.  They object to their brother’s marriage to Jane because she is poor.  *END OF SPOILER*  Although I particularly noticed that this theme was emphasized in “Northanger Abbey,” it is also an underlying theme in other Jane Austen novels.

Rating (Good Reads):

Good Reads rates “Northanger Abbey” as a 3.78 star book.

My rating:

I would give this book a 4.0-4.5 star rating.

Northanger Abbey Movie:

There was a PBS Masterpiece series of this novel made in 2007.  You can find the link to the full movie here.

{CAUTION: I HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE, so I can’t tell you what it’s like or if there’s any yucky stuff.}


4 thoughts on “Northanger Abbey–a Little Known Jane Austen

  1. hannahwriter98

    It’s a good review! Great job tying everything together, especially with that bit of background on Austen herself. To be honest, she’s the only romance writer that I’ve ever enjoyed.

    I do have one suggestion for you, and it’s really just a random idea- could you review books from a writer’s perspective? For example, you could tell how Jane Austen excels in characterization but lags a little in building tension. I don’t know; it could be a neat addition that fits in well with your “crazy writing” theme. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. hannahwriter98

        You’re welcome! I’ve actually considered doing that on my own reviews, but I figured that my intended audience (kids and their parents) wouldn’t give a fig about how well Tolkien understood syntax. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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