Book Club met up at 1418 Coffeehouse in historic downtown Plano to discuss Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. The coffeehouse is pretty charming. There are ample couches and tables, even some outside seating. They have pies, coffee, tea, and Italian sodas. Natalie and David tried the "Purple Haze" and liked it.
Catherine Morland, our heroine, is 17 and on her first adventure into the society of Bath, England. She'd like nothing better than to meet the characters she's been reading about in her gothic novels and, of course, her hero. Right away, Austen's wit is severe on her, and despite the fact that Catherine makes some progress toward sense and judgment in the book, her only major accomplishment is making it home safely on public transportation. Her hero, Henry Tilney, is a much more interesting character because he is witty and a good flirt. Any clever line that Austen the narrator is willing to part with goes to him, but she isn't willing to give up much.
The primary mover of the plot is the author's voice as she inserts her opinions and lays bare the ironies for us. For someone familiar with her other novels, this one is more memorable for what we can surmise of the author herself--young, full of amusement and criticism for the novels of her day. We get some great lines, but one can't help but feel Austen sacrificed the heart of this story to her desire for a good joke.