Henry Tilney, Northanger AbbeyI'm afraid The Little Friend was a Donna Tartt too far for me. Awful people doing awful things to each other and really, if you threw a live king cobra from a motorway bridge, what are the chances it would go through the sun roof of your victim's car at the precise moment it passed below?
Time to return to Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is perfect to dispel the January gloom and each time I re-read Austen I discover nuances unnoticed before. I was struck this time by how spare Austen is with her physical descriptions yet how much they convey. Catherine gazing at Henry Tilney with 'sparkling eyes' tells us all we need to know of a blooming young girl falling in love. Henry may be a bit of a clever clogs but when Catherine tells him that she is 'learning to love a hyacinth' his witty reply that loving a hyacinth is 'rather domestic' but she may in time 'come to love a rose' is very endearing both to Catherine and the reader.
I'm also fond of Mrs Allen, it has to be said, she is not very bright but she is kind to Catherine and as she is completely obsessed with clothes and fashion she is the go-to woman for advice on sprigged muslin, Mechlin lace and silk gloves. Then there is the vain and silly Isabella Thorpe who foolishly plays one of her admirers off against the other only to lose them both.
I do like the cloth-bound Penguin editions. Unfortunately some of the of the pink gothic keys on my copy of Northanger Abbey have rubbed off after I spilled my tea. Good job I took a picture first. Happy New Year!