Award-winning narrator and internationally acclaimed writer/comedienne, Alison Larkin brings her signature wit to this hugely entertaining audio production of Jane Austen's first novel, Northanger Abbey, followed by The History of England, a short, delightfully satirical piece that Austen wrote when she was just 15 years old.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, a clergyman's daughter, longs for the kind of romantic adventures she has read about in her favorite Gothic novels. After spending a season mingling with fashionable high society in Bath, she is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey where nothing is what it seems.
In The History of England, the teenage Jane Austen pokes fun at the historians of the day who pretended to be objective when they clearly were not, and wrote about the kings and queens of England with less respect (and more wit) than a British newspaper.
Public Domain (P)2017 British Classic Audio
Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars.
I've listened to audio recordings of Northanger Abbey probably 4 or 5 times over the past 20+ years, and this version is my favorite. Besides Alison Larkin providing a sublime narration, I've come to appreciate Jane Austen's first novel over the years, probably because I have two daughters who acted very similar to the heroine in this story when they were of similar age. [I'll never forget my then 16-year old daughter crying to me one night after she experienced her first kiss because "it wasn't like it is in romance novels."]
Like my daughter who is a voracious reader of historical romance novels, the heroine in Northanger Abbey is 17-year old Catherine Morland, who enjoys reading gothic novels to the point of believing that there must be some truth behind the stories. [I'll never forget my then 16-year old daughter crying to me one night after she experienced her first kiss because "it wasn't like it is in romance novels."]
Catherine is the most naïve of all Austen heroines. You can really see how she matures throughout the book and over the few months she spends in Bath with kindly and wealthy neighbors. Catherine is sincere, honest, goodhearted, and never pretends to be anyone other than who she is. I could really relate to Catherine's character as her crush on Mr. Tilney develops into a fond admiration from their first acquaintance; her steadfastness never wavers from him even though she was shown great attention and preference by someone else.
Alison Larkin's narration was simply wonderful. As she does with all of her narrations, Alison uses differing voices for all characters, and changes up the tempo during the most exciting parts of the story. But my favorite aspect of Alison's narration is that she delivers what Jane Austen wrote with satiric wit, just as the great author intended 200 years ago. As an added bonus, this version of the audiobook includes a few summaries of England's monarchs from Jane's point of view, many of which are laugh out loud funny. Brava!
Spent my childhood flipping endless audiobook cassettes in my boombox, now an avid listener and audiobook narrator working my dream job!
What a delight!
Alison Larkin has done it again -- an outstanding performance with her usual wit and humor, as well as tremendous characterization, in this wonderful performance of Northanger Abbey!
Just as Larkin introduced us to Jane Austen's little known poems in her narration of Persuasion, here she has included even more little-known Austen in the humorous and satirical "History of England. I loved listening to Jane Austen's "History of England"-- which was completely new to me, as it may be for many other Austen fans.
"Northanger Abbey and the History of England" is a great addition in Larkin's growing collection of Jane Austen novels. I loved her narration of Pride & Prejudice (with songs from Regency England), Persuasion & Poems, and Emma, too!
Definitely worth the listen whether it's your first time with Northanger Abbey or your 50th!
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