Publication Date: December 1817
Genre: Classic, Romance
Northanger Abby is about Catherine who goes on vacation with her neighbors, the Allen’s, to Bath and while there she meets some new people. One is a family friend of her brother, the Thorpe’s , and the other is the Tilney family. In the Thorpe’s she finds a close friend, Isabella and her aggressive older brother, John. In the Tilney’s she meets Henry and his sister Eleanor. The story follows along with Catherine’s adventures with all four of these new friends. The latter part of the novel is about Catherine traveling with the Tilney’s to have an extended visit at their home, Northanger Abbey.
I went into this book not really knowing what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it was a sweet little romance. Catherine and Henry were so cute together and it is always fun to read a classic and be reminded of how different things were then between men and women. But at the same time there are so many things that are similar. The feeling of having a crush and being excited to see them are universal throughout history. Also universal is how frustrating and annoying an aggressive male can be who thinks that there is no way that you won’t like him. Another theme of this book is friendship. It was interesting to see how Catherine’s friendship with Isabella developed through the story especially in comparison to her friendship with Eleanor.
Some people describe Northanger Abbey as being gothic and creepy. There are definitely some veins of that throughout the story (mostly towards the end) but I don’t think there is enough to qualify as such. However, it probably was considered gothic at the time it was written, the late 1700’s. I have previously read two other Jane Austen books before but I think this one has to be my favorite. I plan on reading more of course but I really enjoyed the character of Catherine a lot. I also liked how Austen chose to write this book with a satirical approach. A lot of the commentary she made on social issues and on relationships still pertain to now.
Austen has given us a coming of age contemporary romance that I think translates very well into our world today. If you enjoy romance and are hesitant to pick up a classic I highly recommend this book to you. Not only is it short but it is very well written and has all the drama you could need.