So as part of the Austenatious Book Club, October’s book of the month was Northanger Abbey.
Again, I managed to finish this before the movie night where we watch the adaptation happened…though this time the movie night was at the end of the month so it wasn’t much of a problem.
So let’s talk about Northanger Abbey!
Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Series Status: Standalone
Number of Pages: 235
(Found on Goodreads)
During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen’s works.
I enjoyed this so much more than I was expecting to!
Not that I was expecting to dislike it. I just didn’t expect to like it AS MUCH as I did.
But ohhh how I loved this book.
I do think the majority of the reason is because of how much I related to the main character Catherine. When she was younger she would be really outdoorsy and would much rather play outside than sit around looking pretty. Then as she grew older, she started liking books much more. Sounds exactly like me. Then, when reading all the events of the book, I would have the exact same reactions as her. Seriously. Every. Single. Time. It started to become kind of scary, reading about this character that was basically me in the Victorian times.
But I do think that’s why I liked this book so much. It made the events feel more realistic to me, like I was living them myself.
The writing too was easy to follow, none of that complicated mesh of words you often find in classics. It reminded me a lot of Pride and Prejudice, in the way that once you start reading, it’s easy to lose track of how many pages you read. It feels like you’re reading slowly, but then you look up and actually 50 pages have passed. And that’s great, because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to work your way through a book.
Strangely enough, I wasn’t all that bothered about the romance in the book. Especially the one involving Catherine herself. I do think it’s because the book is quite short, so not as much chatting between the couple was involved. I would’ve liked to see more from the love interest, just to build up that relationship a little more before the end. But, I was exactly against it either, just because of how much I liked Catherine as a character – I wanted her to be happy.
The ending did feel a little rushed, but again that might just be down to the length of the book itself, combined with the way Jane Austen wraps up the story at the end. She tends to go over all the plotlines and tie up loose ends, explaining what happened to each of the characters. Which is great, because that sense of closure is there. But with how short this book was, it did feel just a tiny bit rushed.
There’s a lighthearted sense of gothicness in this story, and it just makes me wish that Jane Austen had written her own gothic story. Because while she wrote the gothic aspects in a comedic way in Northanger Abbey, they were without a doubt some of my favourite scenes. I’d have loved to see something truly gothic from Austen!
I find it difficult to explain what I love so much about classics when I get into them. It’s not like there’s any particular action…but instead it’s drama. Everything about the Victorian period means so much more – whether it be words, facial expressions, the way someone dresses. And while it would be tiring to keep a good impression all the time, it’s nice to see things mean so much compared to nowadays. That, and the general elegance of everything…I don’t know. I have a soft spot for it.
Pride and Prejudice has been my favourite classic for a long time. But now…well, Northanger Abbey is on par with it. They’re both my favourites now.
Rated 4.5/5 stars!
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
If you haven’t read this book, do you plan to?
Which is your favourite Austen book, if you’ve read any?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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