By Jane Austen
Release Date: December 1817
Source: Own CopySummary: Jane Austen’s first novel tells the story of Catherine Morland, the very ideal of a nice girl. But her naïve heroine is also in possession of an overactive imagination, fueled by her obsession with gothic novels. When Catherine meets Henry Tilney, she’s instantly smitten. But when she’s invited to his home, the sinister Northanger Abbey, she learns not to interpret the world through the pages of lurid thrillers.
Review: I don't know how I waited so long to read Jane Austen. This one is my third book by her and I fall in love more and more each time! Though Northanger Abbey is definitely not her most romantic, it still has a fun story you can't help but become entranced in.
Catherine Morland is a nice enough girl; there's nothing really special about her and she just goes through life doing what's expected. She spends 6 weeks in Bath with family friends the Allens, where she meets the charming Eleanor Tilney and her even more charming brother Henry. When it's time for the Tilney's to return home, Catherine is invited to spend some time with them at their home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine is ecstatic to be living in an Abbey and lets her imagination run away with her of stories she's only used to reading in the Gothic novels she loves so much. But her imagination about General Tilney and his deceased wife goes a little too far, forcing Catherine to face reality and leave her bookish-induced imagination for her dreams.
I was a little surprised that Catherine didn't actually go to Northanger Abbey until well past half way through the book, but following Catherine around her life in Bath was just as entertaining. Catherine is entering society and I loved her world of going to balls, the Pump-room, and walks around town just to see and be seen. The society during this time period is so intriguing and I can't get enough of it.
Everyone who goes in and out of her life are such fun characters as well. Whether it's her brother James, her newfound friend Isabella, or Isabella's too-attached brother John, there seems to be someone worth paying attention to at every turn. Then, the Tilney's come into the mix and things just get even better. Catherine is far from a perfect heroine, but I think that's what makes her perfect for this novel. I can relate to her naivety and infatuation with books. I'm rooting for her the entire book and just want to see her happy in the end.
Overall, I loved this book as much as I loved Jane Austen's other books. I couldn't put it down and I hated leaving the early 1800s world Catherine lived in. While I know many people don't like Catherine's character, I thought she was an endearing girl I could really connect with. I would definitely recommend reading this one if you're looking for a classic to read! While there's very little romance, Austen's take on the Gothic phenomenon is fun and far too addicting.