A Perfectly “Horrid” Sequel to Northanger Abbey
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Mom 🙂
Gather your wits about you, dear readers, and be on the lookout for secret passageways, ghostly apparitions, mysterious pieces of furniture, and all things Gothic!
While traveling through France, on their tour of “Mrs. Radcliffe’s country,” Reverend Henry Tilney and his new bride accept an invitation to stay in Nachtstürm Castle, located near the Austrian Alps. Upon arrival, they find Nachtstürm Castle to be a dark and decrepit old castle that is run by queer and questionable servants and framed with twisted mountains and steep cliffs. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? I wonder what our hero and heroine will do when in the midst of a real Gothic adventure…
What a delight it is to once again be in the company of Henry and Catherine and to see them so accurately rendered! Our hero still has his habit of teasing and provoking his beloved, and enjoys fabricating thrilling tales to tease or frightening his wife. However, due to past (ahem) misadventures, our heroine has come to the realization that her life is not a Radcliffian romance and usually does not fall for Henry’s ploys. In fact, even though she truly is surrounded by mystery and mayhem in this novel, Catherine often believes it all to be contrived and merely the orchestrations of her husband! Talk about ironic! I simply loved Ms. Snyder’s representation of Henry and Catherine! Their playfulness and teasing was fun to witness, and their tenderness and affection towards each other was most gratifying.
Similar to Northanger Abbey, Nachtstürm Castle is a parody of Gothic fiction, and just like Jane Austen, Ms. Snyder is poking fun at the genre. Often addressing her readers directly, Ms. Snyder’s burlesque style and satirical tone parallels that of Jane Austen beautifully and skillfully. I found myself laughing out loud at many of the narrator’s comments and asides. Here are some of my favorites:
“What could she have done? She was a heroine, and with it came certain obligations.”
“Another strike of lightening – now accompanied by the deep-bellied rumble, and the horse reared, incidentally setting Henry very picturesquely against the inconstant moon. Alas, Catherine was deeply engaged in her argument with Old Edric and this missed entirely the melodramatic display. But we may assume that, possessing so strong an imagination, Catherine had often pictured Henry thus…”
“Such a narrative as this demands some sort of physical consolation for its spiritual tribulation. Our heroine received it in one last cup of tea. The reader may be advised to do so likewise.”