Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Narrator: Anna Massey
Publisher: Audiogo, 2011
Format: 8 CD's, 7 hours and 40 minutes
Summary: Catherine Morland is invited to accompany her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, to Bath. This is Catherine's first time away from home. Although she, at first, has no acquaintances, she eventually meets the Tilneys and the Thorpes. She becomes quick friends with both Isabella Thorpe and Eleanor Tilney. Both John Thorpe and Henry Tilney also take a liking to Catherine. The Thorpes do not like Catherine's friendship with the Tilney family and John even tries to sabotage the relationships Catherine has with the Tilneys. What will happen when Catherine is invited to Northanger Abbey to spend a few week with the Tilneys?
Thoughts: Northanger Abbey is said to be the first novel written by Jane Austen. It was bought by a publisher who held onto it for many years. Austen bought it back and her brother had it published after her death.
This is a coming of age story with the usual humor, satire, and writing style Jane Austen has in all her books. In this novel, the characters were excellent. They were all unique with certain traits exaggerated. For example, Catherine loves Gothic novels. Reading these novels has been her world experience thus far. So, she believes life to be like a Gothic novel to the point that she has a hard time telling the difference between fantasy and reality. The characters grow through their experiences in the story.
The story contained romance, drama, and misunderstandings. I love Austen's books because I believe she had a great understanding of human behavior and relationships and was able to use this to tell humorous, entertaining stories. There is also depth to Austen's novels. Some of the themes in this novel were fact versus fiction and appearance versus reality.
I thought this novel was set up differently than other Austen books I have read. The first part of the story takes place in Bath and the second at Nothanger Abbey. I felt like this could have been written as two separate novels, but really liked that Austen chose to do it as one with the two separate settings. Also, the end was written almost like a prologue. It was a quick wrap up which was really all that was necessary, but not characteristic of Austen's other works.
The narrator seemed to read at a fast pace at first, but I did get used to the pace quickly. The narrator's voice was pleasant. Although, this was not one of the best narrators I've listened to, I was still able to follow the story with no problem and enjoyed it very much.
Tea: Garden Harvest Tea
Pickity Place is located at the end of a winding road in Mason, New Hampshire. There sits a cottage that was built in 1786 and was used as the model for the illustrations in the Little Golden Books version of Little Red Riding Hood. The cottage is now used to serve a 5-course luncheon. There are 3 private seatings. Reservations are required. Behind the cottage, there is a gift shop, greenhouse, and beautiful gardens. The focus is herbs. Pickity Place is a quaint, little place for gardeners and food lovers.
It is in the gift shop that my Mom got me a 1 once package of "Garden Harvest Tea". It came in a resealable pouch. There were no ingredients listed and no steeping suggestions. The tea was a combination of dried flowers, cloves, and what looked like chunks of fruit skin. I poured 12 ounces of water over 1 tablespoon of tea and let this steep for 3 minutes. The liquid was a light pink and had a faint floral scent mixed with the scent of cloves. The taste was a blend of floral and cloves, making me feel as if spring had met autumn. This was a light, refreshing tea.
I have not been to Pickity Place in years, but when I went, everything about it was wonderful, especially the luncheon. Unfortunately, their teas do not seem to be available to order online, but they do have herbal blends and beverage mixes in their online store. If you are going to be in southern New Hampshire, I highly recommend that you make reservations for the luncheon and leave time to walk around the grounds and shops.