Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

An enjoyably satirical Austen story with a gothic interlude


Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen / Narrator: Anna Massey
Genre: Fiction / Classic
First published: 1817
Edition: Audio book & hardback, published by Collector’s Library in 2009

Catherine Morland is an Austen heroine unlike any other–youthful and naive, with a lively imagination fed by the popular Gothic novels she so loves to read. But when Catherine meets the wealthy and charming Henry Tilney during a vacation in Bath, and visits his family’s sinister and mysterious estate, she begins to suspect that some of the dark doings she’s read about just might be true…


First line(s)

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine.


It was high time to jump back into Jane Austen’s world and as always I had a good time. Although not my favourite, the mood of the narrative was definitely interesting in the way it fluctuated.

The satire was more obvious in this novel than any other by her that I have read so far and I enjoyed that. The way it was narrated was different from her other books and the heroine rather unremarkable. The observations had a different slant to them than her other books. The tone was more mocking.

The tone changed quite a bit as soon as Catherine arrived at Northanger Abbey. Suddenly for a small part of the story there was a truly gothic vibe, but it was all too short and I wish Austen had been able to write a truly gothic story. As it was, I enjoyed the mood change and it showed a different side to the author.

The audio book narrator was ok. I hated her male voices and from the way she narrated some characters it was already obvious they were going to be a certain kind of person in the end. She was almost a spoiler in itself, which I found kind of annoying. It did not bother me enough to influence the way I felt about the novel itself, but I would recommend a different narrator.

This is not my favourite of the Jane Austen books I have read, but I still enjoyed the listen quite a bit.

6 out of 7 stars



  • Characters: 8
  • Ambience: 8.5
  • Language: 9
  • Story: 8
  • Pacing: 8
  • Interest: 9
  • Enjoyment: 8.5

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