Saturday, July 31, 2010

Read-Along - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 2

Hosted by Jennifer at Reading with Tequila - July 16 - August 12

One of the first of Jane Austen's novels to be written, and one of the last to be published, Northanger Abbey is both an amusing story of how a naive girl enters society and wins the affection of a witty young clergyman, and a high-spirited parody of the lurid Gothic novels that were popular during Austen's youth. In the process it features a vivid account of social life in late eighteenth-century Bath, and Austen's famous defence of the novel as a literary form.

Week 2 - Chapters 10 - 15

The Bath Season continues with its daily rounds of social activities .

A visit to the theatre where Isabella's brainless chatter makes her ever more irritating and Catherine shows no sign of being aware of the depth of Isabella's and James' relationship.
At a dance Catherine and Henry have an opportunity to get to know each other better - Henry's allusions to marriage during their conversation suggest he is interested in Catherine.

Piggy In the Middle............Catherine becomes increasingly alone as she's caught between pleasing Isabella, John and James and following her own desires to be with Henry and Eleanor . After reluctantly agreeing to the first aborted outing and managing to sort out the mixups and misunderstandings with the Tilneys that followed it looks as though Catherine will finally get her walk ..............but no, another outing planned which she refuses and then is subjected to being harassed by the 'terrible three'. I never imagined Jane Austen would provide nail-biting tension but waiting and hoping that Catherine could withstand the onslaught was all of that.

The heroine begins to emerge.......I think Catherine is stronger than she appears as it took a good deal of courage to continue in her refusal and overcome the guilt trip Isabella subjects her too , John's actions and hearing her brother side with Isabella.

Catherine goes walking...............and drawing away from Isabella finds a new and very different sort of friend in Eleanor. There is a good deal of conversation about books and water colour painting - Henry shows off a bit and Catherine feels rather inadequate. This is one of my favourite chapters so far with many wonderful quotes .

The following day a note from Isabella asking Catherine to visit - she discovers Isabella and James are engaged. It becomes apparent that Isabella thinks the Morlands are wealthier than they are - makes one wonder if that is part of James appeal and why Catherine is being pushed at John.
At the end of Chapter 15 John is blatantly hinting at marriage and it's hard to believe Catherine is so dim to be oblivious to his intentions.

Looking forward to what this week will bring.


  1. The "terrible three" is a great description! I was upset that C.'s brother was just as bad as the Thorpes about pushing her into driving with them. Not cool. Great post!

  2. +JMJ+

    It's really James I was angriest at when I read that part. Okay, Catherine is "just" his little sister and he would rather impress the gorgeous Isabella than give into what he thinks is whining . . . but that he sees with his own eyes that John and Isabella are physically restraining Catherine, and still blames Catherine for being "obstinate," is definitely a mark against him.

    And yet . . . James is clearly not a bad character. Jane Austen's "douchey characters" (as Chelle calls them in her post--LOL!) are easy to spot. John and Isabella are baddies;
    James clearly isn't one of them, although there are certainly scales over his eyes now.

  3. I totally thing the Thorpe's near obsession with "catching" the Morland's stems from a misconception as to how much money they are worth. In the beginning of the book, it was pointed out that Catherine's father gave her no budget and allowed her as much money as she wanted. That availability of money may make the Thorpe's think wealthy, as opposed to the fact that Catherine's father is a tad more indulgent than most.