At seventeen, Catherine Morland is invited to accompany the Allens to Bath for the winter season. In Bath, Catherine meets and befriends the Tilneys and the Thorpes. Through her relationships with these families, Catherine learns the true value of love and friendship, as Henry Tilney and John Thorpe vie for her affections and the true character of her friend, Isabella, is revealed.
Although it was the first of Jane Austens novels to be completed for publication, Northanger Abbey was notfter Austen’s death in 1817. Austen’s authorship was revealed by her nephew in A Memoir of Jane Austen, published in 1869, and the literary value of her work has since been recognized by scholars around the world.
In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Janes brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Janes first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews. Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment — while she was traveling — that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral. Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.