Jane Austen's first novel tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen's fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.

Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it.
My thoughts exactly!  I loved this novel more than I ever thought possible and couldn’t bear to put it down.  While there is nothing particularly remarkable about this book, much like its heroine, Austen’s writing, plot and characters really drew me in.  And, if there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty it’s that I’m in love with Henry Tilney!!!

Northanger Abbey tracks the life of a rather unexceptionable young woman, Catherine Morland.  While not plain, her looks were never remarkable and, while not simple, her lack of interest in her education left her a rather unaccomplished and naïve girl.  The storyline of this novel proceeded just as it should have, following the natural course of Cathy’s life as she is thrown into a world of lavish parties and noble manners.

Cathy is perfectly naïve and silly with the purest heart and sweetest temperament.  As much as I didn’t like her fanciful mind and her limited interest in intellectual pursuits, I could never bring myself to dislike her in any way.  I found myself constantly wishing for her every whimsical wish to be fulfilled.

As for our dearest Mr Henry Tilney, I don’t believe I could be any more in love with that man if I tried.  I think I prefer him to, dare I say it, Mr Darcy!  

It killed me that I didn’t get to see more of Tilney’s playful nature in the novel and spent most of the time longing for him to make another appearance.  He is the sweetest and most genuine male lead anyone could ever ask for.

Any moment between Cathy and Mr Tilney was filled with awkward blushing, playful flirtation and adorable uncertainty and I couldn’t stop myself from squealing every time.  Their romance was so obvious, so sweet and pure, that I couldn’t help but love them.  It also helps that Mr Tilney is an angel that loves to tease.

As for the other characters, they were beautifully mapped out creatures with unique stories, emotions and motives.  Elinor, much like her brother, is another sweetheart who deserves a world of happiness.  Isabella and John are just as despicable and shallow as they ought to have been and I couldn’t bear the pair.  Isabella was the perfect manipulator and John, the perfect sleaze-ball.

The plot is sweet and endearing and the writing follows suit, but it was really the characters that made me love this book as much as I did.  Everyone should read this book, it is perfect for people new to Jane Austen’s writing and those looking for something more light-hearted.  

Rating: 5/5

You can pick up a copy of this magnificent novel from Amazon or Book Depository or pick it up from your nearest second hand store.