Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, 1817 (Book Review # 2)

 

Summary

“Northanger Abbey is the light-hearted account of a young girl’s first excursion into fashionable society. Catherine Morland is taken to Bath where, among a crowd of new acquaintances, she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor, who invite get to stay at their family home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine, a devotee of ‘horrid’ Gothic novels, fervently hopes that the Abbey will match the haunted ruins conjured up in her imagination.

While poking fun at popular fiction, Catherine’s story also exposes the difference between illusion and reality and shows her artless approach to people attracts true friendship and love.” – by Jane Austen

Review

I Love Jane Austen as a person in general and the fact that I admire her courage to write at her time, considering her situation, puts me in a harder position in reviewing her work.

Reading 67 pages in, I found myself incredibly bored. I was so discouraged from the storyline that I even picked up my next book and severely considering to stop reading Northanger Abbey. I then remembered the vow to myself and decided to carry on in hopes of the book becoming more appealing.

The story slowly picks up and starts to get exciting and interesting. By then I thought that Catherine’s situation could not get any better. Then to my amazement, Jane’s form of writing, from a fiction point of view changed in style. The story takes on a thriller theme, almost bringing ghosts and murder into the compound of what used to be an average daily, nothing particular happening story. Mind you; we are 130 pages in the book!

On another note, Catherine’s relationship with Mr. Tilney has me thinking. Throughout the whole 220 pages in this book, you do not get to read any particular part where Tilney shows any particular regard, admiration, love, or attachment to Catherine. Even when they finally wed, Jane does not create a unique dialogue for such a proposal or love confession of any sort. This particular manner of writing put me off. In my opinion, if you are doing to drag the reader with anticipation for them to even meet throughout the entire book and only provide a glimpse of a very short dialogue between them, then the least you could do is to give it a sweet ending. Anything more than just a phase of explanation would have been good enough, the least.

 

Also, it almost felt like Isabelle changed her mind over choosing Catherine’s brother, James, once she discovered that Catherine did not find Isabelle’s brother to be a good match. Catherine pursues a man with a higher rank than hers, and this brought jealously to Isabelle. Once Isabelle noticed that another Tinley man is available, she started flirting with him and by that, she destroyed what she had with James.

A third person is mostly describing the story, and the description is based on assumptions and thoughts rather than dialogue and personal interactions. I think Isabelle received most of the spotlight when it came to talking and expressions, and she was not even the lead character.

In summary, I do recommend reading the book. Jane Austin is a great writer and very popular at her time. I prefer and love her other books more, though.

Written by Jeyran Main

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