An average girl coming of age in the country where not much occurs, Catherine is sent to visit the town of Bath with Mr. and Mrs. Allen, who are friends of Catherine’s family. While in Bath, Catherine befriends the Thorpe family, who her brother James is also acquainted with. She also becomes interested in Henry Tilney, a clever young gentleman with an equally sweet and elegant sister who becomes fast friends with Catherine. But when it becomes obvious that the Thorpes aren’t too keen with Catherine’s relationship with the Tilneys, Catherine becomes torn between pleasing both families and is forced to make a choice.
The funny thing about Northanger Abbey is that it feels like nothing happens, but at the same time everything happens. The story itself is very simple: the daily activities of a 17-year-old girl as she is introduced to the world, which makes the book feel gossipy. But not in a bad way. In fact, the story was exciting and addicting. The reader becomes wrapped in the goings on of the families and forms strong opinions about certain characters, even rejoicing when just desserts are received.
While reading, I found it interesting that the book was titled Northanger Abbey since Northanger Abbey isn’t even mentioned until more than halfway through the book. Apparently, Jane Austen originally titled it Catherine, which definitely would have made more sense since that’s the main focus of the book. But Northanger Abbey is a big attraction to Catherine, so I guess it’s not so weird that the title was later changed to that.
If you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s other works, I highly recommend reading Northanger Abbey. A well written story with an attractive and steady plot, it was just as satisfying and well written as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.