Tags: jane austen


My Goodreads review: Northanger Abbey

Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was apparently Jane Austen’s first completed novel – a satire of the Gothic novels popular during her time. Though it lacks the subtlety of her later, longer works, this one offers a taste of Austen with her claws out. Her talent for making pithy observations about what really matters in polite society (generally, money) is already evident.

Austen also discusses her heroine as living up to -- or not living up to -- the Gothic heroine ideal in considerable detail throughout. Though it’s all part of the satire, it’s also an unusual and welcome glimpse into the writer’s thought processes.

I’ve read (and in most cases, reread ) all of Austen’s novels, finding different things to appreciate in each. This one felt a bit lightweight, but her sly observations about Gothic novels (and their readers!) plus her sharp-eyed account of society life in Bath made it well worth my time. YMMV, as ever.

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P.D. Jane? Death Comes to Pemberley

I don't post a lot of book recommendations on this blog (bad me), but I just finished P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley over the long holiday weekend -- and I've got to say something to any Jane Austen readers on my f-list.

Please, please read this book if you haven't already!

I suspect that I'm late to the party on this one, but the reigning Grand Dame (oops, Baroness) of British murder does an amazing job of combining her favored genre with Austen's characters & general style.   This is writing for fans, by a fan.  It is also a fascinating glimpse into Regency forensics & the judicial system of the period, showing how much social class mattered even after the cuffs went on. 

For an author interview (with possible spoiler),  plus one review of the book  & an excerpt, check here

Fair warning: the Austen references go beyond Pride & Prejudice in this one.  The more Austen you've read, the better -- or at least, the more fun you're likely to have.   And I'm honestly not sure I'd recommend this to P.D. James fanciers who haven't read Austen at all  (if such creatures exist).