"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible." - Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Catherine Morland is a seventeen-year-old girl who loves reading Gothic novels. When her rich acquaintances take her to Bath, a new world is opened up to her—a world where her imagination is allowed to flourish. She meets and attracts the attention of Henry Tilney. General Tilney, Henry’s father, invites her to visit them at Northanger Abbey, a place where Catherine’s Gothic fantasies might turn into reality.
On my second reread, I absolutely loved Northanger Abbey. This reread reminded why Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors—her acerbic wit, her drool-worthy heroes, and, basically, her sense of humor. There’s a part in the novel where Catherine, Henry, and Henry’s sister Eleanor are taking a walk in the woods. Henry’s dialogue is so sarcastic, so pitch-perfect, I couldn’t resist laughing out loud.
Despite being a parody of Gothic novels, Northanger Abbey was oddly realistic. You can really see how Henry and Catherine fell for each other. The funny thing is, Catherine fell for Henry first, which is a first, I think, in an Austen novel—the other exception might be Mansfield Park.
Overall, Northanger Abbey was a quick but awesome novel, one I won’t hesitate to reread when I have the time. Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite Austen, but Northanger Abbey certainly climbed up the list.
The Dueling Authors: Austen vs. Dickens is hosted by The Classics Circuit here.