Monday, February 21, 2011

Nachtsturm Castle by Emily Snyder: A Book Review

Nachtsturm Castle: A Gothic Austen NovelNachtsturm Castle: A Gothic Austen Novel by Emily C.A. Snyder


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was a delight!




I have recently found my way to Jane Austen sequels and recently reread Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I fell in love with Henry Tilney and Catherine Moreland and I was curious if there were any sequels available. Northanger Abbey sequels are few and in-between it appears and Pride and Prejudice sequels seem to rule the day. When I found Emily Snyder’s sequel to Northanger Abbey it was much anticipation that I immediately purchased it and eagerly awaited its arrival on my door step. Once it was here I could not put it down.




Miss Snyder maintains the spirit and tongue-and-cheek-parody of Jane Austen’s original Northanger Abbey. Austen originally wrote Northanger Abbey as a parody of the popular gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe. The romp the Miss Snyder takes us on in her sequel is a true delight. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions.




In Nachtstürm Castle it seems Henry and Catherine have not had the opportunity to go on a honeymoon and so as a present to his bride Henry takes Catherine on a tour of the places that Radcliffe spoke of in her novels. Henry Tilney loves to tease is wife and I’ll admit a scene in the opening sequence made me wonder if this book was going to be ridiculous. However, that scene and what it represents was carried throughout the book and by the end I realized that the gothic genre is ridiculous. I admit to having read Radcliffe myself and I can attest to the ridiculousness of her novels on occasion. Besides, Austen was trying to create a parody which Miss Snyder has continued beautifully.




Catherine Moreland is still a doe eyed, naive young woman. She is finally given the chance to act the part of a Gothic heroine when she and Henry are invited to stay at the mysterious Nachtstürm Castle which is situated Austria. She gets a mysterious castle, hidden passageways, strange happenings and most importantly an aloof, ghost like, servant who wants nothing more than for the intruders to leave the castle. Catherine in her innocence cannot resist the mystery and finds herself in some scrapes.




Henry is not immune to the gothic adventures at all. He is drawn into the mystery and perhaps my favorite part was the dramatic rescue towards the end of the novel. There was something so amusing and sexy about Henry Tilney riding a horse in true gothic fashion in order to rescue his bride. True to form Henry found amusement in social situations and even in Catherine’s naive sensibilities.




Miss Snyder has written a great addition to Austen sequels and a wonderful sequel to Northanger Abbey. I almost enjoyed her sequel to Northanger Abbey better than the original. Almost. The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that it ended.






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