After seeing the movie The Jane Austen Book Club, I was inspired to read all of Jane Austen’s novels. That was three years ago and here I am with only one left to go. I remember being particularly excited for Northanger Abbey. Why? Because it was Miss Austen’s first book…side note, first written last published for those of you would look it up to see if I even know what I’m talking about.
As somebody who pretends they write, a popular author’s first work is exciting and enthralling. So, when I finally opened the book my eyes were filled with glee and I danced on the words. My mind began following Catherine around hoping she’d achieve all her goals. Even though I knew what was going to happen, and even a little of how it was going to happen, I was still hooked.
Now, why am I telling you this; because so many of you have read Pride and Prejudice, or have seen the movie, or have seen contemporary interpretations of it such as Bridget Jones Diary. And though that story is and will always be a classic, we must acknowledge beginnings! Northanger Abbey is, well, cute. Is it my favorite? Nope, Mansfield Park has that title, but Austen’s first novel is Austen’s first novel. Watching a classic author write through her first novel, debating what’s good, what should be, what makes a good novel, it’s enduring. You can hear Austen figuring out what makes a novel a novel in Northanger Abbey. Outside of that, you can also see the easiest to understand and clearest to spot Austen humor in this novel.
So, I dare you to read Austen’s first novel. Oh, and a little encouragement, it’s also her shortest.