By Jane Austen
Catherine Morland is a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.
When I read the synopsis for this Jane Austen novel I was smiling to myself and thought it would be entertaining and was a bit confused as to why it is one of the less popular novels. I now know why. Catherine Morland is so vapid and really quite idiotic at times. She says and does things that I would equate with the modern “dumb blonde” stereotype. Henry Tilney deserves someone better than Catherine. She drove me crazy. The funny thing is I honestly don’t know why Catherine loves Henry other than the fact he is a gentleman and pays attention to her; on Henry’s side it seems he fancies himself in love with her because he likes to improve her mind and mold her into a better person…not the best basis for a good relationship, but she is so simple she might enjoy the experience. This was a strange addition to otherwise enjoyable books by Jane Austen. I won’t be re-reading this one like I have some of the others. Of course there are also movie adaptations, of which I recently watched the newest version from BBC, which my sister and I just laughed and laughed at; we both loved Henry Tilney’s facial expressions when Catherine was being silly.
You can actually watch the entire movie on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqrfXsDshqg.
This gets a 3 out of 5, but only just.