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Posted February 26, 2012
This novel by Jane Austen is about a young woman named Catherine Morland who is obsessed with romantic gothic novels, but all she really wants is to find her true love. In the beginning of the story, Catherine is invited to Bath (a very lively city in England) by a family friend and there, she meets Henry Tinley and, eventually, Isabella Thorpe. Catherine immediately falls for Henry when she meets him. Later on, she meets Isabella Thorpe and they become great friends. When Isabella meets Catherine’s brother, James, they soon fall in love and they try to put Catherine and Isabella’s brother, John, together so they can all have connections. Unfortunately for them, Catherine is still madly in love with Henry, so she avoids John and his arrogant attitude as much as possible. Meanwhile, James proposes to Isabella and they get engaged….but not for long. Isabella soon meets Henry’s older brother and falls in love with him. But, Catherine and Henry’s relationship grows and they later get married against Henry’s father’s wishes. Overall, this was a good book with a good plot, but it was pretty hard to follow at times because of the sophisticated diction of Jane Austen. I did like, however, that Austen was kind of poking fun at gothic novels with all of the events and thoughts that Catherine encounters. She created the character of Catherine to be overly obsessed with gothic novels and because of this obsession, Catherine starts to suspect some things, such as General Tinley (Henry’s father) killing his wife. This adds a little bit of satire but still helps the plot which I enjoy. I realize that the complex language in this novel is due to the time period, but I just did not like the sophisticated diction because it was difficult to follow at times. Other than that, I thought the book was very well done with a somewhat serious plot and a little bit of comedy thrown in as well. Austen decided to include a theme that had to do with lying and deceitfulness. She was conveying to the reader that people are not always who they appear to be and will do anything to gain approval of others. Catherine and Isabella represented this theme throughout the novel. Catherine was very deceitful because she always acted so naïve and she also kept lying to John Thorpe when she made up excuses to not go out with him. However, Isabella was probably the most deceitful because she loved James but then turns against him and falls in love with another man. This eventually comes back to haunt her because it turns out that the other man isn’t looking for a wife so they end up separated. The way the relationship ends added to the theme because Austen is saying that lying and deceitfulness will just come back later and haunt you. If you like a story with an excellent plot and a little bit of comedy thrown in, then you should definitely read this novel. But, if you’re not very good with complex language and scholarly language, then I would recommend that you stay away because you would probably just end up being frustrated.
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Posted October 24, 2011
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