57. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Hello, hello.
I’ve been pretty MIA on the blog just because a few things happened… well a lot happened, actually. Grandmother returned to her final resting place, parents went back to Pak for 12 days, elections happened, Imran Khan won, and life has mesurprised. But, I’m back and ready to start new things and continue the old trends, so without ado carry on reading 🙂

Whenever I am in a reading funk or after going through a heavy (literally and figuratively) and emotionally taxing book all I can think of is picking up Jane Austen or go on a reading hiatus for 2 weeks. Some people assume that I read back to back but I’m such a sporadic reader, who if not given the right type of novel, will end up not reading for a 1 month.

Ms.Austen however, checks all the boxes for a light, indulgent, funny, dramatic read and without a doubt Northanger Abbey was no exception on leaving me happy, giddy, and laughing.

Summary:

The story begins with Catherine Moorland – who is referred as “Our Heroine” throughout the book by the author – who lives in the country side of Fullerton with her parents and 9 other siblings. She wasn’t quite “pretty” or “girly” as a child but as she grew up she became “almost pretty” as often praised  by her parents and their acquaintances.

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine… But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine…”

One day the Allens – their neighbours and good family friends – offer to take Catherine to Bath for the summer in order to introduce her to young and lively society. Upon their arrival to Bath they are soon acquainted with Mr. Henry Tillney during a ball, where he and Cathy hit off and dance all night. The next day Mrs. Allens meets a school friend Mrs. Thorpe and her daughters; who happen to know Cathy’s brother as he is friends with John Thorpe. Cathy befriends the eldest among the daughters Isabella and their friendships begins immediately with great affection for one another.

As time goes by, Our Heroine is often caught in the middle of unexpected plans by Isabella’s brother John who often hinders her from hanging out with Henry Tillney and her sister.  However, one evening James announces his engagement with Isabella leading John to make a similar remark in ambiguous words towards Cathy, who in her confusion and naivete, unintentionally gives him credit. Soon the misunderstanding is cleared and Cathy leaves to visit Northanger Abbey upon General Tillney’s – father of Henry – request.

“… as a celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified in falling in love, before the gentleman’s love has been declared, it is very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her.”

Arriving at Northanger Abbey, she is mesmerized by the mansion and scared by it’s eerie vibes – courtesy of excessively reading Horror novels leading to a very imaginative brain. Her wild imagination takes the better of her and amid a broken engagement, forcefully turned out of the mansion, and with a broken heart, does Our Heroine navigate her way home and ultimately to being reunited with the love of her life.

“The person be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Review:

This books reeked of sarcasm and wit and had me laughing/smirking at various instances, throughout. It’s known that Jane Austen put out her personal opinions and views into her stories, and unless you’re unaware of her satire, one can assume this to be the opposite of feminism.

However, she wins the reader over with storytelling that’s narrated not through the book but through her, as if she is sitting right next to you and talking directly. Making comments on the smallest moments that ultimately lead to the grander events in life, every sentence is like a wonderful journey with twists, manipulation, naivety, and love.

Onto the basics now:

  1. Rating: 5.0/5.0
  2. Favorite quote:  “to come with a well informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid.
  3. Reader level: Easy.
  4. Should you read: A light romance, taking swing at the society and it’s obnoxious rules? hell yeah!
  5. Would I read it again: Definitely.

Till next time,

-Sarah

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