Author Jane Austen
Publisher Barnes & Noble Classic
Publication Date March 3, 2005
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Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen's Gothic parody. Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.
The story's heroine is Catherine Morland, an innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry's mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.
I found Northanger Abbey to be a much tamer read compared to Pride and Prejudice; however, it was still well written. I have to admit that I found this novel a little slow going at times and it took me a while for Cathrine and the Tilneys to get to Northanger Abbey but once there it picked up significantly, with mystery lurking around every corner of the Abbey and a little scandal too. Although, I must say that while it was a good spooky mystery Northanger Abbey seemed to be almost a parody of a gothic fiction, at least compared to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Overall, Northanger Abbey was a good book but didn’t keep me up late reading the way Pride and Prejudice did.