Thursday, March 24, 2016

Northanger Abbey Read-Along: Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 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 18-24. 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 18-24

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

Favorite Quote

"No man is offended by another man's admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment."
~ Mr. Tilney

General Impressions

So much - and yet so little - happens in these chapters!

This section begins with the Isabella situation. Catherine witnesses the attentions Captain Tilney (Henry's brother) gives to Isabella...and the way Isabella doesn't exactly refuse them. More like responds to them. Flirtatiously.

Which doesn't really set right with Catherine, thinking of her own dear brother and how his feelings would be crushed. :\ Isabella's true colors are finally coming to light for our heroine, who tends to think the best of everyone but can't quite dismiss this incident.

Catherine tries to get Henry to talk to his brother, but Henry declares that Frederick knows what he's doing and has to make his own choices - as does Isabella.

So Catherine eventually accepts this and embraces the happy (?) distraction of her visit to Northanger Abbey.

One of the best scenes in this section, in my opinion, is Henry and Catherine's conversation in the curricle on the way to the abbey. First of all, it sounds like Henry is a much better driver than Thorpe. (Are we surprised? Um, no.) Second, Henry is quite the storyteller! He takes his teasing to a whole new level with the imagined proceedings of Catherine's visit at Northanger. The best-best part is when he has to stop because he's too amused by Catherine's reactions. ;) Can't you just picture the smiles and chuckles? And Catherine's return smiles and blushes?

Eventually, they arrive at Northanger Abbey, which is not quite all Catherine expected. There is some mystery...or is there? There are some horrid secrets...aren't there? And where on earth is all the dark, ancient, terrible beauty of Catherine's beloved Gothic novels?

Alas, General Tilney likes to have modern furnishings in his house. (Silly man!) ;)

There are some close calls and lots of descriptions of the location...and we end with the culmination of Catherine's carried-away fancies: the disappointment and disbelief of dear Henry.

The aftermath of this fallout will launch our final section of reading...

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. If you were Captain Tilney's sibling, would you say something to him about his behavior toward Isabella? Or if you were Isabella's friend, would you try to warn or correct her? What do you think of Henry's reaction to Catherine's concern about the situation?

2. After reading all about Northanger Abbey, what are your thoughts of the place? Is it anything like you were expecting? Would you ever want to visit or live there if you could?

3. How do you feel about Catherine's thoughts and behavior in this section? Was it all harmless intrigue, or do you thinks it's possible to be too caught up in daydreams and fictional worlds?

Twitter Watch-Along!

Purchase the DVD: Amazon | Target | Walmart

What's a watch-along, you ask? Basically, we'll meet up on Twitter and begin watching Northanger Abbey (2007) at the same time, proceeding to tweet our observations, favorite quotes, and reactions. It's the next best thing to actually getting all your blogging friends together in front of the TV in your living room!

Here are the details:
  • Who: You, me, and whoever wants to join in! 
  • What: A watch-along of Northanger Abbey (2007), with commentary to be live-tweeted during the viewing 
  • When: Thursday, March 31st at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST 
  • Where: Twitter (#NAWatchAlong; I tweet with the handle @SeasonsHumility) 
  • Why: Just one name: JJ Feild. You will fall in love with Henry Tilney all over again! 
*Note: I hope this time works all right for everyone! Because I work until 5:00, I can't really start much sooner, and I know we wouldn't want to start any later, or we'd be keeping the East-Coasters up all night! But if the details change, I'll be sure to let you all know. 


Want a chance to win the 200th-Anniversary Annotated Edition of Emma by Jane Austen? You can log your entries using the Rafflecopter form below. (Giveaway open to US residents only.) The winner will be announced on March 31st. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Join us next Thursday for the final discussion! 
We'll be chatting about chapters 25-31.


Miranda Atchley said...

I was so not expected some of the things that took place in this section! They really took me by surprise. And I so can't believe that this read-along is almost over! That doesn't seem possible. Here are my answers to the discussion questions.

Julie said...

I agree, so little happened, yet it seemed so much. And yes, where did the month go that we only have one more week? I'm anxious to see how it all wraps up. I'm not sure if I will make the watch-along. I may be a bit behind as we have family night on Thursday evenings. So it depends on if family is still here or not whether I get to start the movie on time. But I definitely will "weigh in" when I turn it on. Maybe just through a post on my blog though. I'm still not a Twitter-er...or wait, is that tweet-er? ha! Anyway, I will try and keep up with you girls. Going to check out Miranda's post now!

Here's mine:

Carissa said...

1. If I was Captain Tilney's sibling I would say something about his behavior. Also if I was Isabella's friend I would warn her and encourage her to correct her behavior. It shocked me that Henry basically blew off Catherine's concern about the situation.

2. It's not as spooky as I thought it would be. I would want to visit there but not live there.

3. I think Catherine's thoughts and behavior got the best of her. I think its possible to be too caught up in daydreams and fictional worlds.

Julie said...

Good answers Carissa! I agree, I think we can get too caught up in daydreams and fictional worlds. Catherine is young enough that hopefully she has learned her lesson :)

I think all of the "spooky" of the Abbey was built up in Catherine's own mind for sure. And yes, visit, but not live there.

I also think Henry blows off a lot of Catherine's ideas. I'm anxious to see how this all plays out. She seems too young for him and he seems to either be mocking her or correcting her the majority of the time. Does it ever turn into an affection? Looking forward to finding out :)

Amber Holcomb said...


How interesting! It's great when a book can take you by surprise like that. :) That *is* the one bummer thing about watching the movie before reading the don't get to be surprised by plot twists. :\

Isn't it crazy that we only have one more week?? This month has flown by! (As all months seem to do, anymore...)

Hope to visit your post today!


Amber Holcomb said...


It is intriguing how so much drama was built up, but in reality, very little actually happened!

This read-along is moving along at warp speed!

And thanks for letting me know about the watch-along. I wonder if it might not be better to try a weekend night? I'm curious if anyone can make it on Thursday...

My sister will be visiting for a little while, but I'll just have to let her know that the TV is reserved at a certain time, haha. ;)

I'd definitely love to hear your thoughts on the movie, regardless! A blog post would be awesome. :)'s all good, haha! It did get a little hectic last time for the Persuasion watch-along, with everyone tweeting at the same time...but it was a lot of fun, and I'm so glad you joined us!

Hope to visit your blog shortly!


Amber Holcomb said...

Carissa and Julie,

You both discuss some great points! I've definitely been biased in favor of Tilney due to watching the movie first. I think perhaps hearing his tone and seeing his expressions as he says some of his lines makes them come across in a better light than straight reading them. But I can definitely see the concern here in this scene, when he doesn't seem to think it worth talking with his brother, even to put Catherine's mind at ease. I understand the point he makes about everyone being responsible for their own choices as adults, but it's interesting that a reverend wouldn't feel it his duty to at least address the hurtful behavior of his brother. :\

Julie, I'll be curious to hear what you think after seeing the movie regarding the affection between Tilney and Catherine! To me, it feels more apparent in even the smallest interactions when you're seeing them play out. :)

The spookiness of the abbey really was built up in Catherine's mind, wasn't it? I agree with both of you, that it would be an interesting place to visit, but perhaps not very warm and inviting for actually living there.

And isn't amazing how our thoughts can really guide our actions? Catherine does get swept up in all her imaginings!

Thank you both for sharing your thoughts. :)


Deborah O'Carroll said...

*flails* I've been quite remiss about actually being involved in the discussions, I'm afraid, since I usually tend to be behind or ahead and so don't always remember my specific thoughts at the times...

However, I couldn't help finishing it today! :) I'd never read it before so I'm excited to finish it. ^_^ Tilney is awesome. I posted a vague bit of a review on Goodreads... Maybe I'll get around to more in-depth thoughts at some point, but my general reaction anyway. :)

Thanks for holding this readalong, Amber! I don't think I'd have gotten around to reading it for a long time otherwise! ^_^ I have been enjoying the discussion posts, even if I keep forgetting to join in... And I greatly look forward to the final discussion post! :)

*wonders if I can get hold of the movie...*

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

First of all, thank you, Amber, for keeping our read-along going! I'm a few chapters behind (still), but will post when I catch up.

In the meantime, I love your observation about Henry being a better driver. I hadn't thought of that!

I'm not going to be able to make the watch-along :( I actually teach a class during that time on Thursdays. But I will definitely weigh in on the Twitter convo after!

Jenni Elyse said...

Hey, what do you know! I'm also caught up to this section! Woo hoo!

I love the quote you chose.

1. I don't like conflict, so I'd probably not say anything unless I could do it anonymously. But, I would want to protect my brother, so I probably would say something to Isabella or advise my brother to part ways with her. And, I think Henry knew what was going on. And, I think he put the blame where it should fall--on Isabella. Even though Isabella is engaged, if I were Captain Tilney receiving Isabella's encouragement, I'd probably go for it too. But, if she had put me in my place from the start, then I'd leave her alone.

2. It is like what I expected. Even thought it's an abbey, I still expected it to be like an English manor and it is. Yes, I would like to visit it or something like it.

3. I think she's very naive and it kind of bugged me. I thought she was kind of stupid not to see through Isabella right away. And, she assumed a lot, a lot of things that seemed far-fetched, especially if you take Henry's "scolding" to heart.

Amber Holcomb said...


Aw, that's completely understandable! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story enough to finish it early. :) And I'm glad you found the read-along motivational/enjoyable!

Thanks so much for sending the link to your review. I'll hop over and check it out!

Oooh, and I hope you were/are able to see the 2007 movie version! SO good. :D

Thank you for your sweet comment!


Amber Holcomb said...


My pleasure! :D

Haha, yes, it's neat to see how Henry proves himself a better match in even the small details, like his ability to drive like a gentleman. ;)

I'm so sorry the timing didn't work for the watch-along! You, me, and Kara should do a "second showing" and try another watch-along of Northanger Abbey sometime. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


Sounds like you were on a roll! :D

Isn't that a great quote? It's a good reminder/observation.

I agree that there would be extra motivation for speaking up if the person getting hurt is your sibling. And that's a good point about Isabella giving so much encouragement to Captain Tilney. I have a hard time believing Captain Tilney cared one whit about whether or not he was intruding on another man's territory...but still, Isabella was definitely in the wrong here.

It would be interesting to visit Northanger Abbey, for sure. :)

And Catherine's naivete is frustrating! There's something with General Tilney that does make one think there's something not quite right there... But Catherine sure did let her imagination get carried away! And you're right that she proved herself naive long before visiting the abbey.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! :)