book review

Book Review: Northanger Abbey - by Jane Austen

5:09 PM

Synopsis:
Northanger Abbey, written in first person point of view (although the narrator is either unknown or the author) by Jane Austen, follows the story of an unlikely seventeen year old hero who goes by the name Catherine Morland. While she spends a few weeks in Bath with family friends, Catherine encounters a Mr. Tilney and falls in love with him. After becoming friends with Eleanor Tilney, Henry Tilney's sister, Catherine is invited to stay with the two siblings and their father in Northanger Abbey, their home. When Catherine arrives, she lets the horrors of a book she recently read fill her brain with assumptions as to the secrets the family, especially the father, might keep hidden within the mansion's walls.



Rating: 4/5 Stars

Northanger Abbey is a great book to read if one is interested in 19th century literature. It has many good aspects to it, such as the good characteristic continuity and diversity, decent imagery, and the fact that it was entertaining to read from beginning to end. There were also some things that were, in my opinion, not especially tolerable.

First of all, I would like to commend Jane Austen for writing such an entertaining novel. Even though there were some things that I did not particularly enjoy about the book, I simply could not leave it unfinished which is very rare situation for me. The reason I think this happened is because the voice in this novel was great. It was consistent from beginning to end which, to me, is a sign of a strong writer.

Now for the specifics of the Northanger Abbey. Catherine Morland is your average seventeen year old girl. She enjoys reading novels (which was a terrible quality in that time period), she was quirky, and not necessarily talented in anything. Usually, when a character in a book starts off like this (especially if its a female), they are transformed into some sort of goddess by the end of it. This was not the case with Ms. Morland. She remained the same throughout the whole book unless there was a reason for her to act otherwise. In normal cases, I would have absolutely hated the lack of character development, but in this case, it was kind of endearing. 

Another thing that 's great about Northanger Abbey regarding its characters is the contrast between the Thorpes (friends Catherine made whilst she was at Bath) and the Tilneys. The Thorpes were much more materialistic even thought they did not own much, while Eleanor and Henry valued Catherine's friendship over money and items. Also, the difference between John Thorpe and Henry Tilney would make every reader hope and dream of  having a Mr. Tilney of their own.

Although imagery in the book was not terribly detailed, it was enough to satisfy myself, as a reader. It explained enough to know the significant differences between Fullerton (Catherine's home), Bath, and Northanger. It made the reader understand why the main character felt the way she did when moving from one location to the next.

The only thing that did bother me was Catherine's thickheadedness (so to speak). She was a good character with a decent personality, but the way she thought sometimes irked me. At times, she would say she learned something extremely valuable  but then she would contradict herself in the next chapter by doing the opposite of what she learned. I was surprised at myself, however, for not resenting her after she did this.

Northanger Abbey is a great read especially if you are interested in Jane Austen's writing. Some people even say that is their favorite book by the author. And yes, Pride and Prejuidice was taken into consideration, but Northanger Abbey was picked over it. Give it a read and see which one you think is the better book.


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