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Summary

Catherine Morland reads tales of Gothic romance, yet leads a country life in Wiltshire. When she travels to Bath, she meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney. She is invited by his sister and father to stay at Northanger Abbey, where she meets all the trappings of Gothic horror that she has read about. Fortunately, she has her own good sense and irresistible but unsentimental hero, Henry Tilney.
©1989, 2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Northanger Abbey

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sparkling and witty!

I first read this when I was a teenager and it was a wonderful rediscovery for my mature years as I found there was so much more to the book. Catherine Moreland the heroine is unlike the heroines of the popular novels of Radcliffe which were then so popular in England, not particularly intelligent, and only 'almost pretty' whose mother did not have the good grace to die and leave her orphaned but went on to have many children. At 17 our young heroine is invited to Bath and of course to meet new people and feel love for the first time. Jane Austen's wit is so dazzling and seems to slide off her pen with such ease you would think it was an easy thing to do. Her expertise at creating bores who divert the reader but who vex and frustrate the other characters is stunning. The boring young man who is pursuing Catherine to the detriment of her admiration for Henry is highly amusing. If you are not diverted by the story you may be interested in studying the book as a portrait of early nineteenth century social life among the genteel. There is debate on the differences between the sexes, the meaning of history, good taste and the heavy presence of materialism in this society where people are commodities on the marriage market and status and rank are highly prized. Angela Massey is a fine narrator and really brings the novel to life.

6 people found this helpful

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Light, enjoyable and somewhat sardonic

Another enjoyable Austen. Quite a simple plot with a smaller, less developed set of characters than some other of her novels. I did get the odd chuckle from the somewhat sardonic observation of human manners and behaviour.

Northanger Abbey is also a self-conscious parody of the heroine-centred, female-authored novels of the day.

4 people found this helpful

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Love a bit of Austen to drown out Kisstory

The clipped tones of Anna Massey drolly trot out the wisdoms of Austen's prose. The self condemnation of Miss. Moreland's censure is wry & pitiable through the telling. Lovely stuff.

3 people found this helpful

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Typical Austen

I’m currently rereading all of Jane Austen’s books and yet again I’m amazed at how quickly a story goes from heartbreak to happy ending with incredible speed. In this one, however, I particularly enjoy the “authors comments” which offer gentle and mocking humour. Narration better than some but some times the speaker is unclear with little change of speech between characters

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Taken in order....a curate's egg

Good in parts is the standard response to the 'one that nobody reads.' Nothing particularly outstanding but an overall quality that makes the whole thing worthwhile.
This is the fifth of six and the first indication that getting your head down and ploughing on is going to be required in completing the full run of Jane Austen's novels in six months.

2 people found this helpful

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Northanger Abbey

Another well known classic by Jane Austen. Probably not my top favourite. Nonetheless, worth knowing!

1 person found this helpful

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Northanger Abbey

Never read this book but thoroughly enjoyed hearing it. The narrator was just perfect and I shall enjoy listening to it several times more.

1 person found this helpful

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Love the story, hate the voice.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I love this book, but the voice of the reader annoyed me, and her voices for the male characters were stupid.

2 people found this helpful

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Good story but slightly variable voice sounds

I enjoyed the story but found some of the voices varied in volume which is difficult for me as I go to sleep listening to audiobooks. Some voices being louder than the others means I have to choose between not being able to hear the quieter voices clearly or being shocked slightly awake by the louder voices. The story is nice, but does go on a bit at times. I did quite like Austen’s musings throughout the book, which I thought were more direct than in other things I’ve read by her.

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A perfect romance!!!

This lovely novel by Jane Austen is a perfect romance and, as always, beautifully descriptive written. Jane Austen has such a brilliant sense of humour, consequently her heroines do too and this makes for a joyous listening experience performed absolutely perfectly and in every respect as one would assume was the intention of the author!!! I loved every word!!!

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  • karen R
  • 08-12-15

A pleasing but too serious narrator

I enjoyed the story but I felt the narrator was too serious a reader, especially in comedic moments. Also she made the playful and teasing Henry Tilney sound very severe and thus the book took on a more serious note than what this gothic parody might have required. Nonetheless, her voice is pleasing though perhaps too serious and her proper enunciation slows down the reading. If you read along with the narrator you may read faster and thus may need to increase the speed to 1.25x though it does sound a bit too fast and chipmunk-ish.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 16-10-20

Not for everyone

If you know who Anna Massey was, and if you’ve already listened to another performance of Northanger Abbey, then you might get a little enjoyment from this. (I think you should also have read the book before listening to this.)

Massey played Mrs Norris (brilliantly) in an early-80s adaptation of Mansfield Park. She was also an eerily cold mother in an Inspector Morse episode. (Those are the places I’ve seen her, anyway.) Here she puts on her very poshest accent (possibly that’s the accent she always used) to read Jane Austen. At times her readings remind me rather strongly of the cadences and diction of actors in movies of the 1930s and 40s. (Which means that her posh accent sometimes sounds almost like a “mid-Atlantic” accent.)

Unfortunately, Massey doesn’t have what seems to my ears a great sense of timing. In exchanges of dialogue, for example, she frequently begins one person’s speech while still drawing breath after the previous persons speech. Sometimes her characters speak very rapidly indeed, as if they are not speaking but trying to get through a speech as quickly as possible, and some of them are annoyingly harsh and monotonous: that is not so bad in General Tilney, but in his son Henry, who is supposed to be a sympathetic character, the effect is off-putting.

It’s not completely terrible, but it’s also not very approachable compared to really excellent modern readers like Juliet Stevenson.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Winter Moon
  • 28-01-21

Disappointed

It was a struggle. I didn't finish and removed it from my library. I gave the story 4 stars but I really don't have an opinion. The narrator isn't very good to my ear. Her voice for male characters needs some more work. She is why I removed it from my library.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SN
  • 11-10-18

Ferociously smart, hilarious, romantic

The real love story here is between a girl and her books -- this is Jane Austin's astute, no-holds barred, and deeply funny satire of the Gothic genre as a whole. She deconstructs it, plays with it, both makes fun of and shows serious respect for the readers of it -- and as icing on the cake, Henry Tilney is one of Austen's most delectable male love interests.

If language and eloquence turns you on, this is your book.

Oh, my one minor complaint about this listening experience is that occasionally the chapters have hardly any pause between one and the next (leaving not much time to digest a powerful final sentence) while at other times the pauses between chapters are so long I thought the book had stopped. The narrator is great, though, and clearly has a wonderful time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Laura Marie Walker
  • 30-01-15

Masterful dramatization of a wonderful book

The book is wonderful and Anna Massey is ever amazing. The audio book chapters are not properly separated, and instead the audio "chapters" are lengthy periods of time (45 minutes+) that make it difficult to navigate.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-08

Funny Social Satire

The gentle fun that Austen pokes at addicts of Gothic literature is very apropos of today - 'plus ca change, plus ca meme chose!' Very enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-22

I give this 4.5 stars/two enthusiastic thumbs up

I have an hour drive to school, and I listened to this for my British Literature course early in the semester. The narrator was very good and the story as amusing as one can expect from any Austen novel. Out of all the other choices available for this book, I most liked this one for the narrator's clearness, speed, and the different voices she used for the characters. (I was a bit annoyed with the chapter breaks at first - I think? I've got almost a full load of lit classes this semester and all the audio books are beginning to blend together! - since they didn't stop at the book's chapter breaks, but it didn't really matter)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Farrah Brown
  • 21-01-22

Kind of glitchy but worth it!

Not one of Jane Austen most famous works, but such a delightful story! So much joy and giggles from listening to this story! The narrator did such a great job! The recording itself seemed to jump and skip in certain places and I would have to go back to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cassia Karin Ferrara
  • 14-11-21

Eh...great since it’s free...

The Narration was fine, but did get a little monotonous... such slow fine talk on such petty detailed narrative got a little old, but I made it through! I had a hard time figuring out how to read it... at first it seemed like it was sarcastic and humorous, but then turned a little bitter, then scary and suspenseful... so I think I need some education on it. I particularly enjoyed Jane Austen's candid and open talk about her theories on writing. "Novels are to be written this way or that..." And "readers most enjoy this and that"(paraphrases of course). I found this humorous and helpful at the same time.
The characters probably will not hold a strong impression in my heart or life, but they are honest characters whom I expect to see and now at least recognize in my own experience and in my own short life time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hab N Yarro
  • 08-11-21

Exactly what I wanted

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a true representation of Jane Austen's work. While it may not be my favorite (that honor belongs to Sense and Sensibility), this one still fits easily into what I wanted and even expected from an Austen novel. It begins with subtle humor, it holds a bit throughout, and hints at a sad ending. She has a way about her writing that, once you are accustomed to the language, is an easy and enjoyable read from cover to cover. The characters you are supposed to like, you like even the ones you are supposed to dislike later. The characters you are supposed to dislike, you dislike, even the ones you are only supposed to dislike for a short time. I am very pleased with the narrator as well. Anna Massey did a wonderful job representing the different characters and understanding what she was reading the whole book through.

1 person found this helpful