This was my first novel by Jane Austen. With the desire to indulge in classic literature, I decided to start with the shortest novel of Jane Austen – The Northanger Abbey. The story revolves around the life of a naïve girl – Catherine Morland – who believes that real life is much like the stories of the Gothic novels she reads. Once a tomboy, Catherine is now a beautiful looking lady, and accompanied her wealthier neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Allen to Bath. The early days of her visit were very disappointing for her as neither Mrs. Allen nor she, has anyone to enjoy the dance or theaters in bath. However, soon she finds a beloved friend in Isabella Thorpe, daughter of Mrs. Allen old-school friend. During one of the joyous day in Bath she came across a gentlemen Henry Tinley. She develops affectation for Henry and dream about him. She also found a lovable friend in Henry's sister Eleanor Tinley.
Her elder brother James and Isabella brother John make a surprise visit to bath. Isabella enjoys the company of James and try to pursue Catherine to accompany John, James and herself to a visit to a secluded palace, but she denies as she made a promise to visit Eleanor. John not liking the idea of not having the company of Catherine creates some confusion between Tilneys and Catherine. Catherine on realizing this tried to soothe the situation by making amends to Eleanor. She also met Mr. Tilney, a rigid general and a father of Eleanor and Henry.
She got excited when General accompanied them to Northanger Abbey. Catherine, in accordance with her novels, think of finally finding the dreadful adventure of the stories. In an attempt to find one such adventure she made a terrible mistake. The story then proceed with the Catherine understanding the difference between the fiction and reality. However, for some reason she was asked to leave for her home immediately, leading her to the state of utter disappointment and dolefulness.
I find the writing quite easy and connected. Though the story line is short but it has some material to keep the reader asking for more. The writing style is not very lofty and has characters like John and Isabella, portraying funny aspects of human emotions. Northanger Abbey is not one of the famous work of Jane Austen, but still is a good read to get in touch with classics again.