When Catherine Morland, a rather plain, ordinary 17-year old girl in Regency England, is invited to go to Bath with some friends, her world seems to completely open up. So many people to meet, places to go, balls to attend, dresses to buy, and men to flirt with!
Upon meeting a most handsome (and eligible) bachelor, Mr. Henry Tilney, Catherine is thrilled to accept an invitation to stay at his estate, Northanger Abbey, with him and his sister for a few weeks. An abbey! Just like so many Gothic novels Catherine reads, she finds herself swept away in her own fancies and assumptions that, eventually, may cause more trouble than you would expect….
I have some praise in the writing and some complaints in the plot department for Northanger Abbey. In the praise section, Jane Austen is still a fun read, no matter what the story. If you enjoy classics, then you might enjoy Northanger Abbey. If you have not read many classics, you probably won’t.
In general, the actual plot doesn’t begin to show until more than halfway through. Once arriving at the Abbey, the story is more interesting, if you can get past her time in Bath.
Overall, I don’t think this was my favorite Jane Austen novel. I found Catherine to be a very immature, self-centered girl in her assumptions and thinking (very similar to most girls today) and was very narrow-minded about life in general, her only concern being in her appearance, her ‘friends’, and whether or not she would ever see Mr. Tilney again. Frankly, if you are concerned that you might not ever see a person again, why bother?
I was actually a little disappointed in the inevitable ending, just because I liked Mr. Tilney so much. He was so sensible, as opposed to Catherine. I wanted more for him, but that apparently was not what he wanted for himself.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Language: 1/10 (Lord’s name in vain, and it is implied that there is swearing)
Inappropriateness/Romance: 4/10 (just flirting and falling in love; it is Jane Austen, for Pete’s sake!)
Audience: Adult (or younger, depending on the individual)