“Jane Austen’s first major novel was written in 1798-99, when she was in her early twenties. It is a comic love story set in Bath about a young reader who must learn how to separate fantasy from reality. Miss Austen sold the novel (then entitled Susan) to a publisher in 1803, and the work was advertised but never published. She bought it back many years later, and her brother Henry Austen published the novel as Northanger Abbey after her death in 1817.” -http://austen.com/novels.htm
Northanger Abbey- I chose this novel to read first of Jane Austen’s six novels because it was the first she began to write, although it was last (along with Persuasion) to be published. I found it a hilarious, if sometimes monotonous read- especially at the beginning of the novel. I especially liked when Jane Austen would interject in the novel making narrative comments. Our heroine, Catherine, was sweet, good-natured, very loyal, and easily likable- even with her obsession with the dramatic. She fulfills her character as she learns from her mistakes. Catherine’s love interest, Henry- was funny and full of sarcasm and wit. My favorite line of the book was concerning him: “He felt himself bound as much in honour as in affection to Miss Morland, and believing that heart to be his own which he had been directed to gain, no unworthy retraction of a tacit consent, no reversing decree of unjustifiable anger, could shake his fidelity, or influence the resolutions it prompted.”
There are several themes in this novel, but my favorite lesson is that Catherine realizes that she cannot solely rely on others as she finds some of her acquaintances bring a negative impact to her life. She learns to be independent and through her experiences grows up as the novel progresses.
Next up: Sense and Sensibility! 😀