Anyone who has read this blog for a long time knows that one of my favourite books is Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (it’s right up there with Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater). I had also enjoyed Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion by the same genius, so I decided to give this book a go.
Northanger Abbey follows the life of the unlikely heroine, Catherine Moreland. She is brought out into society in Bath, and makes friends with John and Isabella Thorpe. However, she finds John’ affections almost frightening and distances herself from him as much as possible. She is delighted when her own brother, James, becomes engaged to Isabella, however she still feels uncomfortable around John.
She soon makes other friends whom she feels more comfortable around, Henry and Eleanor Tilney. Both the siblings are kind and friendly, and much more sensible than the Thorpes. She goes to stay in their home, the abbey of the title. Here she fantasizes over the plots of gothic novels (which she loves to read) and turns every ordinary happening into one of much more horror. For example, she decides that the odd General Tilney (her friends’ father) is a scheming murderer who killed his own wife (she actually died of fever).
Things take a turn for the worse when Catherine receives a letter from her brother John telling her that Isabella and he will not be marrying, due to the attentions of a Captain Tilney (the older brother of Catherine’s friends). Catherine is distraught at her brother’s unhappiness and angry at her former friend’s behaviour.
While Catherine remains blissfully unaware, we see Henry Tilney grow more and more attached the protagonist. General Tilney begins making remarks about her choice in decoration for Henry’s new house, and you begin to feel certain that they will marry.
However, everything changes when Catherine is rudely sent away with less than twelve hours notice, and no explanation. The family seems to have turned on her, just when she was beginning to realise Henry’s affection…
I really enjoyed this book, but I thought the ending was a little abrupt. The characters weren’t as well developed as they were in Pride and Prejudice, plus the plot-line isn’t as interesting. It was still enjoyable.