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Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Alfred Mac Adam This may make me a disgrace to Jane Austen fandom, but Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice have always been fairly interchangeable in my mind. They’re just so similar! So, even though I love them both dearly, I was initially very excited to start this book and find something a bit different. As always, I adored Austen’s writing style and her pointed humor. In this book, she very deliberately breaks the tropes of the Gothic novel, with funny asides about the genre along the way. Her points are made clearly enough that I could tell what she was making fun of in Gothic novels, even though I’ve read very few myself. However, as I got further into the book, it soon became clear that there was essentially no plot and the main character isn’t very bright. Although she does grow a bit, she has very little agency. Nearly all of the difficulties she faces are in her head or at least blown all out of proportion. I didn’t really feel that this silly main protagonist deserved the intelligent, funny, kind love interest. In typical Austen fashion though, everything just works itself out in the last few pages. This doesn’t typically bother me, but in this case, there wasn’t enough action by the main character preceding the speedy resolution. Only Austen’s wonderful writing saved this for me.

This review first published on Doing Dewey.