Thursday, March 10, 2016

Northanger Abbey Read-Along: Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Northanger Abbey read-along! You can learn more about our read-along plans in this invitation post.

Today we're going to discuss chapters 4-10. If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts below! Otherwise, feel free to check in later, after you've had a chance to read today's chapter. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

P.S. If you're a blogger, you're more than welcome to put together your own post using the button above and linking back to the Northanger Abbey read-along tag, if you'd prefer to participate in the discussion that way. 

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Northanger Abbey Chapters 4-10

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and three questions for each week's reading.

Favorite Quote

"For though she could not, dared not, expect that Mr. Tilney should ask her a third time to dance, her wishes, hopes, and plans all centred in nothing less. Every young lady may feel for my heroine in this critical moment, for every young lady has at some time or other known the same agitation. All have been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the pursuit of someone whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious for the attentions of someone whom they wished to please."

General Impressions

I would say chapters 4 through 9 can be summed up in one word: thwarted.

Poor Catherine's dreams and plans seem to be thwarted at every turn. Mr. Tilney leaves Bath without so much as a "by-your-leave." Mr. Thorpe arrives and commandeers Catherine's attention most rudely. And Catherine misses one opportunity after another for reacquainting herself with the fun-loving (but gentlemanly) Tilney.

How real do these scenes feel to you? I know I can certainly empathize!

I love the little lessons Catherine is learning along the way:
  • When your romantic daydreams go awry, spend time with your friends.
  • Not all attention is good attention.
  • The joy of a date/dance depends on whom you're with - not just the fact that you're with someone.
  • Don't be too quick to assume. There could be all sorts of reasons why things haven't worked out.
  • Stay positive. You never know what the next day might bring...
And then there are lessons she's still in the process of learning, particularly when it comes to her awareness and insight into the ways of people like Isabella and John Thorpe.

I'll sum up my feelings toward Mr. Thorpe in one word: Ugh.

On a happier note, chapter 10 brings another dance with Mr. Tilney! Along with an interesting conversation comparing dancing to marriage and discussing the merits of country vs. city life. It does make one wonder what's on Tilney's mind. ;)

Discussion Questions

Feel free to answer one, two, or all three of these questions in the comments section or in a separate blog post!

1. Is Isabella a friend or a "frenemy"? Do you think there's the seed of a genuine friendship between her and Catherine, or is Isabella only loyal to her own ambitions?

2. Let's talk about John Thorpe, whose presence is obviously a problem! How would you advise Catherine in her interactions with Mr. Thorpe?

3. Do you agree with Mr. Tilney's comparisons between dancing and marriage? And do you consider dancing an important component of romance?


Be sure to log your entries using the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win a DVD copy of Masterpiece's Northanger Abbey! (Giveaway open to US residents only.) The winner will be announced in next week's discussion post. :)

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Join us next Thursday to chat about chapters 11-17!


Julie said...

"Thwarted" GREAT WORD! I love the way you summed up those chapters! Catherine truly did seem to be thwarted the majority of this week's reading. I'm thinking she is just starting to wake up to the fact that Isabella and her brother are not very nice people. As always, I enjoyed your post!

Here is my post for the week:

Miranda Atchley said...

I'm glad that in today's chapter we're finally starting to see more of Mr. Tilney and get to know him a bit better! It's a nice break from John Thorpe. Lovely questions! Here are my answers:

Kara said...

I'm with Miranda, I'm so glad we're finally getting more of Mr. Tilney! I loved that convo between he and Catherine in ch. 10. Such fun! :) Also I so agree, thwarted is the perfect word for what Catherine went through in these pages. Poor girl! Great answers, and great discussion questions! I'm loving this read-along.

m a r y l i z said...

Ah, you summed it up perfectly! I can relate to Catherine's frustration as I have been in the same sorts of situations before. It's often discouraging when plans don't go the way you would like.

I am continually amazed by Catherine's sweet, tender spirit. She is so innocent and caring. She may be my favorite character of the novel thus far. (But, of course, I was delighted by the reappearance of dear Mr. Tilney.)

John, do I NOT like that guy. He's such a repulsive character. I swear, I wanted to strangle him on at least five different occasions. And his sister is, frank? She seems to speak whatever comes in her head, not unlike her brother. Quite honestly, I think she's more of a "frenemy" than a friend. Isabella also seems to be flighty and inconsistent, such as the time in chapter 8 when she told Catherine that she wouldn't leave her alone at the dance "for all the world"...then proceeded to leave 3 minutes later.

This comment is getting rather long so I should probably stop. I love the book so much that I can't seem to stop rambling. I think my favorite scenes from this week were the dance with Tilney (EEEP!) and the bookish discussion between Catherine and Isabella. So much wonderfulness! ^_^

Courtney Clark (The Green Mockingbird Blog) said...

I love the quote you chose! And, the little lessons you outlined are perfect. I'm liking Tilney even more and disliking the Thorpes! Ugh is right. I hope to have a discussion post up soon!

Carissa said...

Isabella is a frenemy I think that she is loyal only to her ambitions. She thinks that Catherine can help her get what she wants. I would advise Catherine to be careful and use caution in her interactions with Mr. Thorpe.

Teresa said...

Isabella is a frenemy!

Bluerose said...

Your little lessons are so great! I love that! :)

Here's my post, late:

Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you! :) It's sad that Catherine has to have her eyes opened to the duplicity and selfishness of others...but it's also nice that she grew up in a home where honesty, straightforwardness, and good manners were valued.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! I hope to catch up on your posts today. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


Haha, I so agree! More Tilney, less Thorpe, please! ;)

Happy to hear you liked the questions. :) Hope to stop by your blog soon!


Amber Holcomb said...


Tilney and Catherine do have a fun conversation in chapter 10, don't they? :) I'm so glad you're enjoying the read-along, dear friend!


Amber Holcomb said...


Aw, thank you! I so agree - Catherine's situation in this section is very relatable. You can really feel her pain. :\

But as you noted, it's awesome that Catherine maintains her thoughtfulness and sweet (if a bit naive) spirit. :) I'll be curious to hear what you and others think of Catherine, Tilney, and the rest by the end of the book!

I hear ya about John Thorpe! He's not a very likable character, that's for sure! And I like the words you chose to describe Isabella: "flighty and inconsistent." Very true! I think her behavior is borne of a self-centeredness...she seems to be "true blue" as long as it lines up with her purposes, sadly.

I love that you're enjoying this book so much! Rambling and gushing are totally welcome in a read-along. ;)


Amber Holcomb said...


Thanks so much! That quote does ring true, doesn't it? ;) Hope to come visit your blog soon and catch up on your posts!


Amber Holcomb said...


I agree about Isabella! So (sadly) true.

And I think Catherine could use that warning when it comes Isabella and Thorpe, for sure...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this section!


Amber Holcomb said...


All signs do seem to point that way!


Amber Holcomb said...


Aww, thank you! These are things I would do well to keep in mind. :)

Thanks for sharing your link! I'm sorry I'm so late in responding. :\ Hope to stop by soon!


Jenni Elyse said...

I'm finally caught up to section 2! Yay! (This month has been nuts.)

1. I think Isabella is a frenemy. I don't think there is an ounce of genuineness in Isabella or John Thorpe. I think they're manipulative and only want what they want and they'll use anyone to get at it.

2. Be rude to him! Just tell him to buzz off, lol. But, of course, that's not going to happen. They need an antagonist somehwere.

3. Back then, yes to both questions. Now, not so much.

Amber Holcomb said...


Huzzah! I totally understand how a month can get out of control - so I admire you not giving up on the read-along! Glad to have you on board. :)

"Manipulative" is a word that seems to fit Isabella and John to a T!

LOL - yes, Thorpe might need to be shown a little rudeness in order for him to see his own rudeness isn't welcome. :P Catherine is just too sweet and unassuming. It's admirable, but it also means that she's unaware of the extent of Thorpe's attentions and/or unwilling to tell him to "buzz off." ;)

And your response to number 3 seems to be the general consensus! I confess I do love dancing, and I feel like it can aid in blossoming romance. :) But yes, definitely not necessary or anywhere near as vital as back in Austen's day.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jenni!