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 #bookeveryweek Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. 

cover art Northanger Abbey audible production
I listened to this one as an Audible production, with a full cast, so that may color my opinion of the book a bit. Emma Thompson and Jane Austen were made for each other after all. It's possible I wouldn't have loved it as much if I were reading it without Emma's voice in my ear, or any of the other talented voice actors who made the production a delight. 
All I knew about this one going in was that it was Austen's earliest completed work, and that it poked fun at gothic novels. I was pleasantly surprised by the lively narration in the authorial voice, direct in a way that some of Austen's later work is not. Some might call that a flaw, and I do admire her subtle and dry wit in later works, but I found the direct nudge-nudge commentary hilarious. 
I've been reading some gothic romance myself of late. It's been a favorite escapist genre of mine from time to time across my life, and I think I might write one myself soon, so that might explain the draw for me right now. I suspect that this one would be even more biting and hilarious if I knew the Mysteries of Udolpho which was reference so much throughout, so I've added that to my soon-to-be-read pile. 
The machinations of our antagonists in the story were wonderful as well, though our heroine's complete and utter failure to see through the manipulations or even believe it when the evidence became overwhelming did have me a little worried. Most of Austen's heroines are smarter than that, even when they are young and inexperienced. Young Catherine was no Lizzie or Elinor, but she remained charming enough for me to continue to cheer for her and I was happy when she found her expected happily ever after. 


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Samantha J Bryant

March 2019

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