One of the main reasons why I recommend Northanger Abbey is the fact that it has a great deal more suspense than any of the other Jane Austen books, due to the way that it is written as if the characters were in a gothic horror story. This allows the reader to really engage with the characters, because at times you will fear for their safety. As well as this, the use of a localised third person narration allows the reader to really understand what Catherine Moorland is going through when she is invited to visit Northanger Abbey.
Jane Austen informs us in detail about Catherine as a child, so that we are able to make comparisons between the way in which she is described at the beginning of the novel as a plain girl and the way she is described at the ball as being an almost handsome “pretty girl”. This shift in Catherine’s presentation allows the reader to feel as if they know her intimately, because they have knowledge about her across the span of her life.
Also that way in which the female characters are frequently described in more detail than the male shows how Austen may have wanted to show that women deserve to be heard as well as seen, that they had opinions that deserved to be listened to as well. Also, the fact that the main character is a young women shows how Austen wanted to show that women can have an enjoyable existence without the need of male company to allows be around them; that they are intelligent enough to make their own lives worthwhile without having to rely on a man. This may have connections with Jane Austen’s life, because she herself never married. In the novel, therefore, she may be trying to prove that the women of the time did not just have to get married and that they could be strong independent women as well.
Catherine’s reaction when General Tilney arrives at his home is perhaps the only moment in the novel when Miss Moorland seems to run away (“she darted across the hall”) from the consequences that she will receive, because usually she is a very headstrong girl who is not afraid of authority.
This is why I feel that Northanger Abbey would be the ideal novel for Austen fans and lovers of great books alike. But you don’t just have to listen to me; Barnes and Noble Classics also thought that the novel was “a wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story”, while J Scarrott suggests that it is “one of Austen's best”. Surely this novel will be enjoyed by countless readers for generations to come.