Claire's Reviews > Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
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Mar 13, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-happy-books, five-stars, misc-non-genre-literature, classic-lit

I have a confession to make.

Secretly, I much prefer "Northanger Abbey" and "Mansfield Park" to anything else written by Jane Austen, even "Pride and Prejudice," which we're all supposed to claim as our favorite because it is one of the Greatest Books Ever Written In the English Language. I don't DISLIKE "Pride and Prejudice," but I just don't think it stands up to this one. I'm sorry, but it's true.

"Northanger Abbey" feels like two very different stories that eventually merge into one at the end: the story of feisty, level-headed romance-novel-addict Catherine Morland and her adventures in Bath during the party season, falling in love and making new friends and escaping unpleasant suitors; and the story of Catherine's post-Bath vacation with her new best friend Eleanor back to Eleanor's country home, a huge creepy old place called Northanger Abbey. Catherine's obsession with bloodthirsty Gothic novels leads her to see a mystery or a creepy secret in every room (eventually leading her to suspect Eleanor's grumpy dad of having unceremoniously murdered his own wife, OR, possibly, of locking her up in a hidden dungeon somewhere inside the abbey), and her various misadventures and misunderstandings make for top-shelf farce. But then when a REAL mystery arrives on her doorstep (taking us back into the world of Bath and bringing the two stories together), she realizes that she's been looking at things upside-down and backwards the whole time.

This book has some real,heartfelt drama and romance, but mainly I like it because it's really, really funny. Catherine is awesome and kind of nuts, and the supporting characters run the gamut from really likeable and charming (Eleanor and her brother Henry) to the excruciatingly irritating John and Isabella, who totally beat out both Mrs. Bennet, Aunt Norris, and Lucy Steele in my list of Best-Ever Annoying Jane Austen Characters.
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02/03 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Kristen Can I just say how happy I am to see someone else who claims Northanger Abbey as their favorite Jane Austen? I love this book! I love all Austen, but this one is just a lovely, happy book that always brings a smile to my face and makes me laugh.

Elizabeth Bennet is still probably my favorite Austen heroine, but Henry Tilney is my favorite hero.

Anyway, just had to share my happiness, as I seem to see a lot of Northanger Abbey bashing, which makes me sad.


Talking_rain Um, can I scream? Both "Mansfield Park" and "Northanger Abbey" are my favorites as well! I find it hard to understand why they are so under-appreciated. Both Fanny and Catherine are my loves, and while Edmund (and his family, lol) are silly dolts who yet charm me excessively, Henry is the Hero of heroes. He cannot be anything but the funniest thing on wheels.

Okay, shall stop.


Kelly I wish I had a better appreciation for Mansfield Park. I think Fanny Price is horribly dull.

I'm glad to see the more readers love Northanger Abbey perhaps even more so than Pride & Prejudice. I just love how the book is about books. My inner bookworm beams.


Mara I adore N.A.! I don't love the other books any less, of course, but I definitely feel as though Northanger Abbey is under appreciated.


yelena Agree with you, Claire, there is no other book by Austen that combines great humour and drama so perfectly.I have not read "Mansfield Park" but I feel I have to now!


Drue Spot on. I find Northanger Abbey a complete hoot. Easily one of the funniest books I've read. Henry Tilney is a total fox.
I bought and read this book in Bath, it was a real treat. Especially with a Sally Lunn bun - booyah!


June Loveland Oh, wow! Never thought anyone besides myself would claim Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park as her favorite Austens. Glad to hear it, Claire and Talking_rain.

I will always defend Northanger, because I love it so, but also because though it isn't as polished as the rest of Austen's output, I think things like the narrative asides and her snark about her own plot are what make the book so charming. And I wish people had a greater appreciation of Henry Tilney. (Fanny Price as well, but I suppose that's a different review.)


Readingmomma Finally someone who appreciates Northanger Abbey. I love how refreshingly different this book is in comparison to Austen's other works.


Lillian I too love Northanger Abbey more than Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Tilney is my favourite Austen hero.


message 10: by Mirna (new) - added it

Mirna Your review sold me to pick up a copy. :-)


Elise P and I thought I was the only one. hallelujah! northanger is the loveliest! I adore Mansfield too, but part of me always gets weirded out by old fashioned cousin-loving.


Theresa Schieck I'm so glad it's your favorite as well! It is by far my favorite Jane Austen book.


Lisa I agree with your confession...


KatieEmma Oh my, I love your review. I agree completely.


message 15: by Antonomasia (last edited Oct 31, 2013 03:22PM) (new) - added it

Antonomasia Hooray! Nice to find some other people who liked Northanger Abbey best! I think Mansfield Park is the most interesting of hers historically. Northanger is simply the most fun of the Austens - and both of these books have more about wider aspects of her world (literature & related trends in Northanger, current events in Mansfield) than the rest. They're the only two I'd consider re-reading these days - Austen was the first "grown-up" novelist I read but I came to prefer my nineteenth century authors with a wider canvas than the 3 or 4 families in a country village.


Julia I also loved this Austen novel. I think it is extremely undervaled usually.


message 17: by Hana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hana Thank you for selling me on Northanger Abbey--I loved it!


Emily Finally someone who says they like Northanger Abbey better! I haven't read all of Austen's novels, but out of the three I've read, I like it the best.


Alexandra I ADORE Northanger abbey.It's my favorite of J.A books too.But I think Mansfield park is the worst book of J.A


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I love the kind-of-nuts Catherine! I love that she's so real a character.


Jennifer Very interesting.....I had a difficult time getting into Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey after re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the nth-time....so I think this is my wake-up call to put that aside and try again with a fresh and open mind....I appreciate the feedback from all.


Jennifer Very interesting.....I had a difficult time getting into Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey after re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the nth-time....so I think this is my wake-up call to put that aside and try again with a fresh and open mind....I appreciate the feedback from all.


Rebecca THANK you. THANK you so much for saying you prefer this to Pride and Prejudice. I like there being more going on than the romance, I suppose, but I think the main reason is that I studied this book for GCSE and liked it more and more as I went more in depth to it (I hated it at first, oddly enough). :)


Rebecca THANK you. THANK you so much for saying you prefer this to Pride and Prejudice. I like there being more going on than the romance, I suppose, but I think the main reason is that I studied this book for GCSE and liked it more and more as I went more in depth to it (I hated it at first, oddly enough). :)


Inshal Abidi No I oppose ur idea .Pride And Prejudice was a great deal better than this northanger abbey. I did not earn too much interest while there was interest in every chapter of pride and prejudice


message 26: by Patrick (new)

Patrick I had no idea what to expect in Northanger Abbey. I was surprised to find in Catherine a sort of Chauncey Gardener character. The lampooning of the excess of sensibility expressed especially by Isabella is merciless, and the early discourse on the status of the novel is quite mordant. About half-way through now, I'm enjoying this novel immensely.


Rachel Alexandra Maybe we read two different books. I didn't catch any romance...


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