Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is now my favorite Austen book. I love it!!
This book tells the story of Catherine Morland, the second child in a family of 10 children, who goes to visit Bath with a wealthy neighbor and ends up meeting a charming young clergyman, as well as some other new friends. Catherine is quite different from Austen’s usual heroines. She is neither fiercely independent nor cleverer than most. She is a naive seventeen year old who is obsessed with Gothic novels and must learn that real life is quite different than the novels she loves so much.
While is Bath, she makes a friend in the slightly older Isabella, who is much more sophisticated and coy than the sweet Catherine. At first, Catherine idolizes her new friend, but after several instances of Isabella’s bad behavior, their friendship is severed. Fortunately, she has made a new friend in Eleanor, the sister of Mr. Tilney, the charming clergyman, and Catherine is able to learn from her mistakes in her last friendship. While becoming closer to Eleanor, she also falls in love with Mr. Tilney, who loves to tease Catherine about everything, and who really does quite a bit to help Catherine sort through her feelings about Isabella and growing up. But does he love her?
When I first started reading Northanger Abbey, I heard some mixed reviews. Most people thought that is was an odd book, but out of love for Austen, I wanted to read it anyway. And I’m so glad that I did! The book had a few laugh out loud moments and is something that I will be able to read over and over again. Unlike Emma which became a little bit of a chore to finish, I couldn’t put Northanger Abbey down and was anxious to see what happened to the sweet Catherine.
Northanger Abbey has earned a permanent place in my home library and is one that I will read many times in the coming years. I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a pleasant read.