Catherine is 17 when she is taken by childless neighbours to spend time with them in Bath. She quickly makes friends with other people her own age, finds herself a love interest and begins to forge her way in this new society she finds herself in. As she is younger than other Austen heroines she is also more naïve, not very experienced at reading people and is sometimes rather silly.
The plot is a rather a simple one in terms of its themes and contains less minor characters than say Mansfield Park, instead it just gets on with the business of dealing with the usual ‘girl will eventually marry the right man after various conversations and misunderstandings’ overall plot arc.
Northanger Abbey is different to the other Austen novels I have read (although I have STILL yet to read P&P) it’s different for various reasons but mostly it’s because it is a lighter and less layered read. Northanger Abbey is known for its parody of other Gothic novels which were popular during Austin’s time, although anyone who is familiar with works such as Dracula or Jane Eyre and has an understanding of the usual gothic elements could probably appreciate these parts of the novel.
"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."
While it might lack depth it does have two very likeable characters in both Catherine and Henry Tilney, a couple of unlikeable characters and some very funny lines and observations. The first half of the novel is set in Bath before switching the action to Northanger Abbey, this change of scenery keeps the story fresh and drives the eventual coupling of Catherine and Henry. The humor and wit in Northanger Abbey is not as subtle as other Austen’s novels making the novel overall a quick, easy, sparkly read and is a great introduction to Jane Austen.Verdict 4/5
Posted by Jess