Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

I did almost no reading at all on our trip, because I was running around all the time.  I also drove a rental car for a week--successfully--and I have to say, British drivers must all have nerves of steel, especially the bus drivers.  None of us could relax and read; all four of us had our eyes on the road the whole time.  Since we were going to Bath, of course I had to re-read Northanger Abbey, and my 15-year-old daughter read it too.

You know the story, probably--17-year-old Catherine, of middling looks, unremarkable parentage, and small fortune, is taken to Bath by friends and has her adventures.  She's a Gothic novel fan and tends to take them a bit too seriously...

This was such a fun read.  I love Catherine.  She is so naive that she could never exist today (Austen is poking a little fun at her innocence anyway).  She just doesn't have the tools, at first, to know how to take the Thorpe siblings...but then neither does her more experienced brother James, and they both learn.

It was also really fun to read the story while visitng Bath!  We went to the Pump Room, which is currently filled with a posh restaurant, and we tried the water, which comes out of a fishy fountain.  It's warm and smells like eggs, and it doesn't taste too great.  We also visited the Assembly Rooms and imagined Catherine dancing with Mr. Tilney in a crowded ballroom while the older folks play cards in the Octagon Room (more on the Assembly Rooms later!).  Our bus dropped us off right on Milsom Street where the Tilneys lodged.

Pump Room with fountain

So I enjoyed the novel, as I always do, and I especially had a lovely time in Bath, imagining Catherine and Isabella parading up and down in the Pump Room.


  1. Northanger Abbey is such a fun book anyway, but It must be even more fun to read it in Bath! I'm almost jealous. :) It's neat that visitors are still able to see places mentioned in Austen's books.

    I've really been enjoying following along with your trip. Well done on the driving--I have enough trouble in the States; I can't imagine trying to drive on the left side of the road.

  2. I haven't yet read Northanger Abbey, I'm afraid. I have only read three of Austen's novels (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion)--all three of which I loved. I still remember the first time I read Pride and Prejudice. It obviously wasn't the right time. I was bored stiff. The second time though, I thought it was wonderful. I've loved it ever since.

  3. Northanger Abbey is the most obviously comic of Austen's novels. It's poking fun at Gothic novels, so it's helpful if you have some familiarity with those, but you don't need much, just the usual tropes. Read it!! :)

  4. I really enjoy Northanger Abbey -- what a great idea to read it in Bath!

  5. I've been thinking about a reread of this one and now I really want to get to it! (I also want to reread The Daughter of Time now because of the comments on your first trip post.)

  6. Oh, it's such a fun read. You'll really enjoy it. :)


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