Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This was one of my book club reads. My overall thoughts are that it was ok, but I didn’t love it.

The story follows Catherine, a girl in her late teens who’s basically growing up and finding her way in the world. She goes to stay in Bath with some family friends, and for the most part the book covers her time there, the friends she makes, the balls she goes to and the boys she likes. There’s also a brief stay at Northanger Abbey.

I found the structure a little bit odd. My version was around 220 pages and for roughly the first 200 not a lot happens really. There are a teen chick-lit things going on – the balls and plays they go to, details of her friendships and the usual romance angsty things. Things really kick off at around page 200 and twenty pages later it’s all sorted…

In fairness I’ve since discovered that the book is a parody on the kind of novel that was popular at the time, however it’s difficult to judge how successful it is without being familiar with that style. The book is reasonably engaging – I liked the main character and things worked out the way I wanted them to, albeit a bit abruptly. A lot of the supporting characters were very exaggerated but I did laugh at them – despite the age of the book I think most of us have come across people like the Thorpes. Despite that, and despite knowing that it was a parody, it just didn’t quite do it for me. However it was a reasonably enjoyable read.

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