There aren't too many weekends that I get to spend without any plans, but this was the lucky one. Ryan had made plans with his friends this weekend and I had no plans, so I took it one step further and canceled the Sunday school class that we normally teach and gave myself the gift of a weekend of absolutely no obligations. And let me tell you, it was exactly what the doctor ordered!
Ryan left in the early afternoon on Saturday and upon his departure, I immediately picked up my Jane Austen book and didn't stop until that baby was finished. I don't remember the last time that I sat down and really read for an extended period of time...It's something that I normally only ever get to dream about. And it was the perfect novel too- Northanger Abbey.
I had only read two Austen novels previously to this one- Pride & Prejudice (of course) and Emma. But I think this was the first time that I was able to pick up one of her works and have the understanding to really appreciate her witty nature. She had me smiling the whole way through.
Over the years I have come to adore any piece of literature that has a Gothic tone, and Northanger had just that! Austen made it a little lighter in nature than say, Bronte's Wuthering Heights or Du Maurier's Rebecca. Which I very much enjoyed because she was making fun of women getting caught up in the horrific ghost stories of her day. And I'm all about poking fun at silliness. :p
And Henry Tilney...Don't get me started on him! I totally have a type and it is totally him! ;) Although I do love me some Mr. Darcy and his passionate declaration of love for Lizzy Bennet, I could not take his brooding nature 24/7. I'm quite pessimistic and sarcastic myself so I need someone to keep things light. Tilney was perfectly a gentleman and had wit for amusement to fill every hour. I guess his and Catherine's (the heroine of the story) relationship was a constant reminder of mine and Ryan's so it's only natural that I just loved them being together. Catherine was naive and had an overactive imagination and Tilney was always teasing her for it...Seems rather familiar... :)
I would of given it 5 stars on GoodReads but the ending came up a bit short for me. It was Austen's first novel, but it felt like she was writing this prize winning piece and then ran out of time so she hurried up and concluded the story. It didn't have all of the pomp and circumstance of a P&P ending, so maybe that's clouding my bias a little.
After finishing up the book, I went to my parents' house. Mom baited me with fresh baked cookies and picking any movie from their Austen collection, so I of course chose Northanger Abbey ( I am a glutton for punishment, I suppose). It was a good rendition of the story, and the movie gave me the more "fireworks" ending that I was hoping for. After the movie ended we watched the first episode of Victoria (the newer PBS Masterpiece show) and I became completely hooked!
So hooked that I came home and bought all of the available episodes on iTunes and stayed up until 3 am because when I truly like something, I become obsessed! My nature knows not how to deal otherwise.
I am totally fascinated by Queen Victoria now and hope to get my grubby paws on some books about her. I should have known that I was going to fall this hard because all of the authors of her time (the Bronte sisters, Dickens, etc) are my favorite.
It's safe to say that my body may be in 21st century America, but my heart is all 19th century England.