When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman's daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of "Gothic novels" by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and romance. When she is invited to stay with the beguiling Henry Tilney and his family at Northanger Abbey, she expects mystery and intrigue at every turn. However, the truth turns out to be even stranger than fiction.
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Austen's parody of a gothic novel gets an elegant narration to match its elegant prose. Sheltered Catherine Morland goes to fashionable Bath with a wealthy neighbor and discovers society and love. Juliet Stevenson gives each character a unique voice - the duplicitous Isabelle; Catherine's suitor, Henry Tinley; and Catherine's vacuous hostess - and invests each conversation with energy and importance. At the same time, as Austen, Stevenson steps back and comments on gothic heroines and Catherine's failures at becoming one. The delivery of Henry's fanciful description of the Abbey as a dark and mysterious place is a mini-classic in itself. Those who love Austen's fiction will appreciate this classy production.
"Stevenson is brilliant at catching the teeth-grating tone of Austen's silliest, most annoying characters and intuiting the nuanced personalities of her heroines. She has great fun with the interplay between Catherine Moreland's thrall to the gothic fantasy and the coolly restrained fictional mode of the author." Karen Robinson, The Sunday Times
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