This is the story of Catherine Morland, a very un-heroine-like heroine, though a delightfully charming one. During a trip to Bath with the Allens she makes several new friends including Isabella and John Thorpe and Henry and Eleanor Tilney. As with most Austen heroines, her first impressions and naivety soon give way to misunderstandings and deceit. Her faith in her "dear" friend Isabella is shattered when her eyes are finally opened to the type of person Isabella really is. At the same time, Isabella's brother has set the scene for a serious misunderstanding that will cause Catherine much anxiety and trouble down the road. When she is invited by the Tilneys to stay with them at their home Northanger Abbey Catherine is thrilled, sure that the abbey will be as wonderfully haunted and mysterious as those in the Gothic novels she loves to read. Once under the abbey's roof, Catherine's very vivid imagination begins to run away with her and leads her to some extreme embarrassment and an estrangement from Henry Tilney. However, as we expect with Austen, there is a happy, sweet, feel-good ending.
I really enjoyed all the twists and turns throughout the novel and finished in only a couple of days. My only issue with it was the climatic scene between Catherine and Henry which really was quite anti-climatic. I really had hoped to see more concerning the fate of this couple (as they are really delightful and I loved their story) but it was only vaguely mentioned. Aside from that, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read for any true Austen lover. I would also recommend it to those readers that may feel a bit intimidated by Austen's larger, more well-known novels and would like a shorter introduction to her writing. I only gave it a 3.5 because it was a tad slow to get into and, as I have already read other Austen novels, I couldn't help comparing it to them (and I positively love Sense).