Read for the R.I.P. II reading challenge.
I first read this book around 15 years ago, just after finishing Pride and Prejudice for my 10th grade English class. I’d actually tried to read Sense and Sensibility first, and loathed it so much I didn’t get past the second chapter. I remember reading this book, and thinking it ok, but nothing I’d necessarily be dying to read again (whereas I reread P&P nearly every year). It was my last foray into Jane Austen for a number of years.
It wasn’t until later in college that I tried to read any of her other books, and at that time, I tried Sense and Sensibility again, and actually liked it. I think I’d needed an older point of view to fully appreciate the rest of her body of work. I can definitely say I could appreciate Northanger Abbey a lot more on this second go. It’s still not one of my favorites (that belongs to P&P and Persuasion), but it was an enjoyable light read, and poked plenty of fun at the follies of Austen’s age, which I can’t help but think aren’t that different than the follies of today.
Of course, I read this for a gothic and horror themed challenge, and the gothic horror part of this book is confined to the very end, when our heroine Catherine visits Northanger Abbey, the ancestral home of our hero, Henry. Any frights found there are merely in Catherine’s imagination, and serve to make her a better person for realizing what a fool she was to believe in them. So really, sort of a failure on the scary end, but it was a nice two-day contrast between Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and the Gormenghast novels, which I’ll be starting shortly.