When you think of Jane Austen, usually the first book to come to mind is Pride and Prejudice followed by (in no particular order) Persuasion, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park. For some odd reason, Northanger Abby—the first written, the last published—is often overlooked.
As I’m wrapping up my adaptation of this clever novel, I wonder why it is so often at the bottom of many Janeites pile of favorites.
From a writer’s perspective, I am finding it to be witty, funny, clever, and fun. Granted, the plot is different from Jane’s other books, but the characters are just as rewarding to follow. In my opinion, Catherine is Morland just as—dare I say, even more? —realistic and endearing as our dear Elizabeth Bennett. In the beginning, she is as innocent and naïve as Fanny Price. Her active imagination gets her in more trouble than Emma and she demonstrates a contrasting mixture of sense and sensibility when it comes to dealing with Henry and John. And by the end of the story, she has the same level of contriteness as Anne in Persuasion.
Indeed, Northanger Abby might have been her last published but it is clear that Jane Austen pulled pieces of Catherine Morland into all of her subsequent heroines.
Now that I am finishing with my Jane Austen adaptations, I am moving onto another set of adaptations: the Bronte sisters. Equally challenging, I must admit. But I will miss these wonderful characters that Jane Austen brought to life in her novels. And I will enjoy readapting them in other stories in the months/years to come under my soon-to-be published pen name, Catherine Eleanor.
I suspect you will see more of Catherine Morland. She is, after all, the grandmother of all Jane’s heroines. And I look forward to creating more grandchildren in my future novels.
P.S. My adaptation of Mansfield Park, Mount Hope, is available for preorder and ships on August 2nd.