I'm continuing on my quest to reread all of Jane Austen's classics this spring to celebrate the "Season of Jane Austen" on Masterpiece Theatre (although I'm behind the broadcast schedule!). I finished rereading Northanger Abbey last week. It's been probably a decade or more since I read it the first time. I enjoyed it much more this time then I did when I was a teenager. As a teen I was looking for Pride and Prejudice - Part 2 and was disappointed. This time around I enjoyed the novel for its own sake.
Northanger Abbey is different than Austen's other novels as it is a comic parady of gothic fiction as well as a comedy of manners. Catherine Morland is a young 17-year old girl that goes away on her first exciting adventure to Bath with family friends, the Allens. While there, Catherine meets and befriends both the Thorpes and the Tilneys. She is interested in Henry Tilney and is very excited when his father, General Tilney, invites Catherine to their estate, Northanger Abbey. She is sure it will be dark and haunted like her favorite gothic novels, only to find that real life is much different than a novel. Catherine grows up in the novel through bad experiences with both the Thorpes and the Tilneys and discovers everything is not always as it seems.
I really liked the hero, Henry Tilney, in this novel. He has such witty and fun dialogue. He is rather the opposite of the tacterin Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Catherine is rather a silly heroine, but it is interesting watching her character growth throughtout the novel.
Overall this is an enjoyable novel and I highly recommend!