Sunday, August 13, 2017

Audible Book Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
A coming-of-age tale for the young and naïve 17-year-old Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey takes a decidedly comical look at themes of class, family, love and literature. Reveling in the sensationalist - and extremely popular - Gothic fiction of her day, the story follows Catherine out of Bath to the lofty manor of the Tilneys, where her overactive imagination gets to work constructing an absurd and melodramatic explanation for the death of Mrs Tilney, which threatens to jeopardize her newly forged friendships.

This Audible Originals production of Northanger Abbey stars Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Snow White and the Huntsman, St. Trinian's), Douglas Booth (Noah, Great Expectations, The Riot Club), Jeremy Irvine (Warhorse, The Railway Man, Now Is Good), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, The Illusionist, Alice in Wonderland) and Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass 2), amongst others.

My Review:
Let me start by saying that I've tried reading this book 4 times previously and never been successful. It's just so dry on the page, though I've always loved the gothic setting of Northanger Abbey.

That being said, the audible adaptation is fantastic! I liked how this was set up with a cast of narrators so that it played out like a stage play that you couldn't see. It made the story much more enjoyable. 

Catherine is sweet, but very naive - definitely quick to believe whatever people tell her and imagine that the things she reads could truly come into being. I've always hated Isabella Thorpe and her brother, John and I thought their personalities were well portrayed in the audiobook. And then, of course, there is the flirtations Mr. Tinley and his family. 

In case you are wondering, I did finish Northanger Abbey this time. I soaked up Jane Austen's words in this wonderful adaptation. If this were the first time I'd listened to an audiobook, I'd marvel at why I hadn't given them a chance sooner. I really wish more audiobooks were made in this fashion. Sometimes having only one narrator gets boring, it was nice for each character and the narrator to have a distinct voice in this one. 

Overall, I give the story a 4, or perhaps a 3.75 - I feel that sometimes Austen got lost describing rooms and dresses and such which got tedious and boring. But the audiobook I give a solid 5 stars! Well done Audible! 

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