Award-winning narrator and internationally acclaimed writer/comedienne, Alison Larkin brings her signature wit to this hugely entertaining audio production of Jane Austen's first novel, Northanger Abbey, followed by The History of England, a short, delightfully satirical piece that Austen wrote when she was just 15 years old.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, a clergyman's daughter, longs for the kind of romantic adventures she has read about in her favorite Gothic novels. After spending a season mingling with fashionable high society in Bath, she is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey where nothing is what it seems.
In The History of England, the teenage Jane Austen pokes fun at the historians of the day who pretended to be objective when they clearly were not, and wrote about the kings and queens of England with less respect (and more wit) than a British newspaper.
Public Domain (P)2017 British Classic Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By MCR. on 02-05-17


This classic novel was an absolute joy to listen to. Seldom have I heard such a clear and perfect Queens English as I did in this portrayal of the charectors in one of my favourite Jane Austin novels. It makes such an enormous difference to hear the spoken word with the correct accent. I spent many happy hours immersed in this recording. The addition of the history lesson at the end had me in stitches. I wondered to myself what the young Miss Austin's teachers thought of her opinions on Royals of that period. I am not sure they would all be pleased with her ideas.

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Customer Reviews

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4 out of 5 stars
By LilMissMolly on 23-03-17

Wonderful narration to Jane Austen's 1st Novel.

Any additional comments?

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars.
I've listened to audio recordings of Northanger Abbey probably 4 or 5 times over the past 20+ years, and this version is my favorite. Besides Alison Larkin providing a sublime narration, I've come to appreciate Jane Austen's first novel over the years, probably because I have two daughters who acted very similar to the heroine in this story when they were of similar age. [I'll never forget my then 16-year old daughter crying to me one night after she experienced her first kiss because "it wasn't like it is in romance novels."]

Like my daughter who is a voracious reader of historical romance novels, the heroine in Northanger Abbey is 17-year old Catherine Morland, who enjoys reading gothic novels to the point of believing that there must be some truth behind the stories. [I'll never forget my then 16-year old daughter crying to me one night after she experienced her first kiss because "it wasn't like it is in romance novels."]

Catherine is the most naïve of all Austen heroines. You can really see how she matures throughout the book and over the few months she spends in Bath with kindly and wealthy neighbors. Catherine is sincere, honest, goodhearted, and never pretends to be anyone other than who she is. I could really relate to Catherine's character as her crush on Mr. Tilney develops into a fond admiration from their first acquaintance; her steadfastness never wavers from him even though she was shown great attention and preference by someone else.

Alison Larkin's narration was simply wonderful. As she does with all of her narrations, Alison uses differing voices for all characters, and changes up the tempo during the most exciting parts of the story. But my favorite aspect of Alison's narration is that she delivers what Jane Austen wrote with satiric wit, just as the great author intended 200 years ago. As an added bonus, this version of the audiobook includes a few summaries of England's monarchs from Jane's point of view, many of which are laugh out loud funny. Brava!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Neesie315 on 01-07-17

Northanger Abbey

I have never read anything by the esteemed Jane Austen & decided to edify myself with this one. Throughout this book, I felt like I was eavesdropping on a High School girl's innermost thoughts, only back in Victorian England!

Ms. Austen definitely had a sense of satire & it shows in this book. The characters are annoying, airheaded, obsessed with fashion & comportment.....just exactly what Ms. Austen's world must have been like. I also loved the short "A History of England"....I only wish I knew more about the real history to get some of the allusions!

The narration by Alison Larkin was absolutely spot-on! Her various voices for the different characters added so very much to the enjoyment of this book! Most of the time, I really thought that I was following along with Miss Moreland on her adventures. I will definitely give more books narrated by Ms. Larkin a listen!

I was given the Audible version of this book by the narrator & chose to review it .

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