When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman's daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of "Gothic novels" by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and romance. When she is invited to stay with the beguiling Henry Tilney and his family at Northanger Abbey, she expects mystery and intrigue at every turn. However, the truth turns out to be even stranger than fiction.
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Northanger Abbey was always my least favorite Jane Austen book. With Juliet's superb narration, I understand the genius of the story in it's comic simplicity. I have listened to every Jane Austen book of Juliet's narration and I'm happy to say this one will be repeated as often as the others.
I am a manly man. I eat raw meat. I speak in short sentences. but i love this book. It's not just a Jane Austen romance, it's a mini thriller and comedy too. John Thorpe is my idle.
Juliet Stevenson is my favorite reader for Jane Austen novels. She has a pleasing alto voice, and gives a very lively reading. Ms. Stevenson gives all of Jane's characters distinct voices and personalities. I recommend this audiobook highly!
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Northanger Abbey read by Juliet Stevenson was great fun: absorbing, witty, and even, strangely enough (for an anti-Gothic romance), suspenseful. Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland is an appealing heroine: ex-tomboy, unaccomplished at the things a typical young lady of her era would be accomplished at (playing the piano, drawing, etc.), obsessed with Gothic romance novels, honest, good-natured, sensitive, innocent, and ignorant. Watching her mature through the course of her first experience away from home (first in Bath and finally from about half way through the novel in Northanger Abbey) into a greater awareness of the feelings and true nature of other people and of herself is satisfying.
And the reader, Juliet Stevenson, is wonderful! She brings the story to life, playing an experienced and wry narrator, as well as pleasurably capturing Catherine's innocent ohs, nos, and honesty, Isabella Thorpe???s insincere effusions, John Thorpe's boorish boasting, and Henry Tilney's clever teasing and kind advice.
As some other listeners have said, Northanger Abbey is not up to the level of Jane Austen???s best novels, but it humorously plays with the Gothic romance genre that was so popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, offers plenty of quotable lines, and, especially as read by Juliet Stevenson, makes a charming and enjoyable audiobook.
Narrative makes the world go round.
Like many other Austen readers, this is my least favorite Austen novel. It was only on re-reading it as an adult (and after slogging through some of the meodramatic novels Austen satirizes) that I finally got the satire. Narrator Stevenson really enlivens the reading to so that the tone can't be missed or messed. I've listened to two other audio versions of Northanger, and this strikes me as by far the best - satiric but not "over the top" delivery.
This was a fun, light-hearted romp, but not one of Austen's best works. It had her characteristic humor, and I love the way she delivers both approbation and condemnation in such wry, genteel turns of phrase. Austen's world is a Regency fairyland where nothing truly violent or horrific ever happens, which makes Catherine Morland, the 17-year-old heroine of Northanger Abbey all the more endearing. Catherine reads lots of gothic novels, and would like nothing better than to be trapped in a haunted house, discover that the local baronet is hiding his mad wife in an attic, find a mysterious orphan on her doorstep, uncover a wicked poisoning plot, etc. Sadly, no such dramatic events occur during her stay in Bath, but she does make friends with the Allens, the Thorpes, and the Tilneys, leading to a typical Austen comedy of manners with misunderstandings, deceptions, attachments, broken engagements, etc.
Catherine is a sweet former tomboy who still has a vivid imagination and a taste for adventure. She grows up over the course of her little adventure, making friends, figuring out that not everyone can be taken at face value, and that she shouldn't try to fit real people into the plots of gothic novels. Also, Austen has a lot of fun name-checking fellow authors, honoring some and making fun of others, and defending the novel as a legitimate work of art.
However, the ending was rushed and had none of the humor or wit of the first part, like Austen had a fun time writing about her overly-imaginative heroine and her adventures for the first part of the book, and then said, "Oh, well, I guess I'd better write the happy ending now." So all misunderstandings are cleared up and Catherine is suitably settled in the last chapter, mostly through a lot of exposition. So, an enjoyable but a lightweight book without the depth of some of Austen's other works.
Juliet Stevenson is a wonderful narrator and does a great job reading what is unfortunately not the best of Jane Austen's books. Although the story is pleasant enough, it isn't up to Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility, Emma or Mansfield Park. The story lacks complexity, the characters are merely sketched, and it just doesn't hold your interest like the other Austen works. The narration, however, is terrific.
This was a "first" Austen work for me. It was an excellent work to begin with. Wonderfully read and wonderfully written.
"fabric artist and quilter"
I was warned that it wasn't her best, and they were right, it wasn't her best but it wasn't as bad as I half expected. The story was full of her usual insights, however the heroines weren't quite good enough to make fully fledged heroines, but the men were right from the moment they entered the book you knew were going to be bounders and were, but the pathos and general wit was lacking and Catherine Moreland just needed a bit more instruction for her to be up there with the Fannys and the like - it would have taken an episode of "Extreme Make Over" to turn her into an Elizabeth or Emma and that was never going to happen!
Juliet Stevenson does an impeccable job narrating the novel and I know that that if she read "Pig Farmers guide to breeding: piglet upbringing (including possible parasitical infestations)'" I am sure that it would be a hit - I would listen to it intently!
I've done them all now - I wish that Jane had been a prolific as Dickens or Trollope but that said it is quality not the quantity and what delights we have of her and Juliet together. A match made in heaven and here at Audible! I don't love them all equally but I do love them all.
"A perfect reading"
There isn't much to say really - this is just perfect. The reading is, as usual with Juliet Stevenson, quite beautiful. She brings the characters to life, so that we really empathise with Catherine. Those who have read the Mysteries of Udolpho can enjoy Austen's irony. But even with no prior knowledge of the period, of contemporary literature or history you can just sit back and enjoy the story. Bliss.
"A perfect reading"
Having listened to two of Juliet Stevenson's readings of Jane Austen's novels, I instantly downloaded this third one. A beautiful narrative of a touching story.
"Juliet Stevenson is fantastic!"
This is a fabulous book of Jane Austen's and Juliet Stevenson really brings it to life. Her charactisations are perfect - I instantly downloaded more of her readings of Jane Austen!
"An old favourite fabulously read"
Oh! What a glorious rendition of this delightful classic. Juliet Stevenson is so so superb!
I loved reading this once more. Jane Austen's turn of phrase is so delightfully voiced by Juliet Stevenson. What a glory, and I have 'Emma' just bought and ready to read - also with this narrator - What joy of anticipation!
There is not really much to say about the content of the book, Jane Austen lovers will enjoy, those new to her, give it a go, she's great! As to the narration, always brilliant from Juliet Stevenson. Enough variation between characters to mark a difference, without creating silly voices. So easy and charming to listen to.
That would be impossible choose it was all wonderful.
Juliet Stephenson is a legend and make this audio the very best it could be.
The book itself is fantastic. I'd originally read it years ago, and didn't really remember just how good it was. I had this idea that Catherine was a bit silly, but she really isn't. She's very young, so she can be a bit uncertain, but she's got the beginnings of a backbone of steel. The narration was absolutely brilliant. I tried the samples for all the others, and this one was by far the one I liked the most. Stevenson makes the characters feel completely real, and she gets the humour in the narration just right. Perfect version.
I first read Northanger Abbey as a teenager and, although I loved the book, I didn't quite get the satire. Revisiting it now, with Juliet Stevenson's perfect narration, I see the book in another light but still enjoy it. Translate the heroine's obsession with Gothic novels into today's obsession with celebrities and their lifestyle and you have a very modern story.
I highly recommended this reading by Juliet Stevenson. She really makes Austen's Gothic tale/parody come alive.
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