I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

9 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

And to celebrate, I decided to watch + review Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 year old niece.

Last year my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995). The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun. So I thought, why not bring it back with one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. And I’m still trying to convert my niece to Jane Austen.

I don’t know if she will like it, but she enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, so I’m confident she won’t hate it.

At least I’m hoping she is!

I will give a quick synopsis for those who have never sent the film or read the book. Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s books to be written and is kind of a parody of gothic novels and a saltire on society. In the story Catherine Morland is a minister’s daughter who loves to read and has an overactive imagination. She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath and while there her life becomes a bit like a novel as she meets the mysterious Tilney family, of which one son she finds delightful and handsome, Mr. Tilney. She also has another man vying for her affections, a more crude and brutish man, Mr. Thorpe. She is later given an opportunity to stay with the Tilneys in their home Northanger Abbey and wonders if there is a dark secret there. Catherine begins investigating but is there really a mystery or has her overactive imagination just struck again?

Hmm…

So this won’t be a full review as last October I reviewed the film for my Horrorfest IX and you can click on the link and read my full review. Instead this will just be our thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

So the film starts off with the great quote from the beginning of the novel:

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine.”

Northanger Abbey

I love that quote. I feel it right away connects you to Catherine as most of us are just average people.

G: What’s a heroine?

Me: A female hero.

The film then progresses to talking about Cathrine more how she was plain and more interested in boy’s things than girls, but around 15 she started to care more about her appearance and other things. Her parents were known to say:

“Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl—she is almost pretty today…”

Northanger Abbey

G: Don’t lie to her.

Ouch!

My niece can be really mean sometimes. I think Felicity Jones is so cute and very pretty.

I also love that quote to “be almost pretty”:

G: Her little sister is so annoying.

Me: Yeah the little sister is very sassy.

So as the film progresses, the Allen’s ask Catherine to come along with them. We both agreed that we wished we had a family friend who wouldn’t ask us on a vacation like that. I mean at least my niece has me, but I wish I had had someone do that for me when I was young.

Sigh!

So in between the action with Catherine every time she reads she imagines herself in the book and we have a dream or imagination while reading sequence. I really like this, but my niece was not a fan.

G: This is weird.

So Catherine and Co. arrive in Bath and when they go out the next day they run into Mr. Tilney.

G: Is that the guy she’s gonna end up with?

Wow, she was sharp. At least she’s not opposed to him like she was to Colonel Brandon last year. But then again who could ever resist JJ Feild?

G: I really like their [Mrs. Allen and Catherine] dresses.

I totally agree, as even though Catherine isn’t the wealthiest Austen heroine, nor the poorest, I like her dresses the most.

I love how Mr. Tilney is able to clear the room for the ladies with a glare. He’s like get out of the way, this table is for the ladies!

So as Catherine dances with Mr. Tilney, she notices another man watching her and questions Mr. Tilney about him.

“Catherine: [Puzzled] Why does he look at us?

Mr. Tilney: I imagine he likes what he sees.

Catherine: [Incredulous] You don’t mean me?”

G: No duh!

Yeah, Catherine is pretty naive. Although in her defense she’s never really been called pretty before so it is easy not to see it in yourself.

Mr. Tilney decides to sassy and sarcastic (as usual):

“Mr. Tilney: So, tell me, what will you write in your journal tonight? ‘Friday, went to the Lower Rooms, wore my sprigged muslin dress with blue trimmings, and looked very pretty, though I say so myself. Danced with one man, was stared at by another much more handsome.”

Me: Who do you think is more handsome, Mr. Tilney or him? [points to Mr. Thorpe]

G: Not him [points to Thorpe], he looks weird. I like that other guy, what’s his name? Christopher?

Me: Mr. Tilney, Henry Tilney.

I’m all about that Henry!

We have another dream sequence and at first G wasn’t into it, but then we started talking about how we act when we read.

G: I like to imagine myself as a character or create my own.

Me: Me too.

Look at that, we both be Catherine Morlands.

The next day Mrs. Allen and Catherine are out and they run into Mrs. Thorpe and Isabella Thorpe.

G: She [Isabella] looks mean.

Me: Well, she’s not a nice. And look at her dress, during the day ladies wore a fichu or lace to cover themselves and only at night would wear something so low cut, but Isabella is not following the rules.

The next day the girls are out checking to see if Mr. Tilney is still visiting the Upper Rooms. They don’t see his signature and leave, being followed by two men. The men go a different way and instead of steering away, Isabella wants to cross paths with them again.

G: She wants to run into those men, that’s why she has her boobs out.

Isabella is definitely on the prowl!

They run into James Morland (Catherine Morland’s brother) and John Thorpe (Isabella’s brother). James is super into Isabella and John tries to get with Catherine.

G: John Thorpe looks so crazy! Hes so creepy.

Me: It is because he has such a heavy brow.

G: Yeah but it is the way he stares at her, with his eyes-it is so crazy [mimics John Thorpe].

Me: Yeah, he makes me think of those tiktok videos when they say do you want to look creepy? Then lower your head and look up with your eyes.

G: He does!

That night they go to a dance and Mr. Tilney arrived with a woman in tow.

G: [Screams]…oh it’s his sister.

The two spend the time talking and make plans to go walking the next day. The only problem is, John Thorpe has other plans. John starts with “I think I saw them leaving”, with Isabella backing him up, then he insists that in this brief passage in the street from far away that he heard them saying they will be gone.

Me: Do you hear that, first he asks Catherine does Mr. Tilney have a certain type of horses and then he’s all I heard them say they will be gone all day. Such a liar!

G: Mmhmm.

Catherine insists they wouldn’t act that way, but then her brother interjects and makes her doubt herself.

“James Morland: My dear scatter-brained sister, haven’t you just heard him say they’re halfway to Wick Rocks?”

G: Shut up James! You’re supposed to be on my side!

Me: I know, right! James is so awful, look how he talks to her.

John Thorpe goes off in his phaeton with Catherine and who should they see as they go down the way.

“Catherine Morland: [Sees Mr. Tilney and Miss Tilney] Oh, Miss Tilney! [To Mr. Thorpe] Stop! Stop now! It’s Miss Tilney and her brother!

John Thorpe: There’ll be hell to pay if I tried to stop him now!

Catherine Morland: Please stop, Mr Thorpe! I’ll get down! I will!

John Thorpe: It’s not possible!

Catherine Morland: Oh!

John Thorpe: Whoa, there!

Catherine Morland: How could you deceive me so?

John Thorpe: Well, what if I did?

G: Boom! I would smack him!

Me: He definitely needs a punch in the face.

G: Get Out and Run, Catherine!

Me: She should! But she won’t as he manipulates her into feeling bad that if she leaves her brother and Isabella, they can’t ride together.

They get rained on, served them right. And the next day they go to the opera where John Thorpe tries to be romantic and fails.

“John Thorpe: Damn fine-looking woman. [To Catherine] But she’s nothing to you, you know.

G: I don’t care!

Ugh, John Thorpe!

Ugh…this guy

Catherine goes to talk to the Tilneys after the opera performance and apologizes. Mr. Tilney tries to act cool, but you know he was probably driving Eleanor up the wall with his heartbroken.

G: You’re [John Thorpe] nothing to him [Mr. Tilney]

A couple days later Catherine learns of James and Isabella’s engagement. John Thorpe tries to ask Catherine, sort of.

“John Thorpe: Miss Morland, I, too, must take my leave for the present, just for the present. I’m going to accompany James to Fullerton, and then onto town to help him choose a ring.

G: I’m not going to miss you.

Me: I know, right.

“John Thorpe: Perhaps I might look for one for myself while I’m there. Do you think I should?”

G: No!

So the men leave and the next time they go to a ball, Isabella states she will not dance with anyone. However, Mr. Tilney’s older brother, the rogue, enters the scene.

“Mr. Tilney: Miss Morland, allow me to introduce my brother, Captain Tilney.

Captain Tilney: [Dismissive] Charmed. [Moves away from them]

Mr. Tilney: Don’t let my brother’s ill manners offend you. That’s how he is, I’m afraid. He was ill-mannered as a baby.

Even though Isabella wasn’t supposed to be dancing as her “love” is away, she dances with Captain Tilney.

Catherine ends up being asked to go visit Northanger Abbey. We both wished we could go to a castle.

Please pick me.

On Catherine’s last day in Bath she and Isabella go to the Upper Rooms. There Isabella hangs out with Captain Tilney.

G: Are they [Isabella and Captain Tilney] dating now?

Me: Just watch.

Catherine then travels to Northanger Abbey which is awesome and mysterious and I really, really, really want to go there one day.

G: I wish I could go to a castle. I want everyone to know the princess that I am.

So at Northanger Abbey Catherine spends a lot of fun time with the Tilneys, especially once General Tilney leaves on business. One thing Catherine had wanted to see was the portrait of Mrs. Tilney, but General Tilney kept them from the room. When Mr. Tilney goes away, Catherine takes the time to search in the room.

G: Why are we snooping around?

I alsways feel embarrassed when Catherine does this but I totally would want to do the same. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilney catches her and as you can imagine it doesn’t go well.

Catherine become even more upset when she gets a letter from her brother James who has ended his engagement as Isabella was trying to get with Captain Tilney, he has left Bath believing the two to be engaged although Eleanor does not believe her brother will, he’s not into commitment.

G: It’s because of all those low cut dresses she wore.

Then Catherine gets a letter from Isabella. Isabella tried to trade up but nothing came of it as Captain Tilney is not into commitment.


”Catherine Morland: I wish I had never known her.

Eleanor Tilney: It will soon be as if you never had.

Catherine Morland: There is one thing I can’t understand. What has Captain Tilney been about all this time? Why should he pay her such attentions and then fly off himselr?

Eleanor Tilney: He has his vanity, as well as Miss Thorpe. And he is accustomed to…having his way. Though I am surprised he should have stooped to such an easy conquest.

Catherine Morland: Really? Then I am sorry for Isabella.

Eleanor: I am sure she will be over it soon enough. “

Oh, Eleanor is just throwing shade.

So the film ends with Catherine being sent home with no escort. She doesn’t cause a scene as she thinks that Mr. Tilney told his father what she thought about him murdering his wife. After she returns home, Mr. Tilney comes after her and declares his love in the most romantic way! It is such a great scene!

So after the movie ended I asked her thoughts:

Me: Did you like it? What did you think?

G: It was good.

Me: Did you like it better than Sense and Sensibility?

G: Hmm…I don’t know.

Me: Which guy do you like the best. One of the guys from Sense and Sensibility or Mr. Tilney.

G: I don’t remember what they looked like.

Me: This one is Mr. Ferrars, Elinor’s love interest [Shows picture of Hugh Grant]. And then the other guy was the actor who played Snape.

G: Snape??!

Me: Yes, Snape.

G: I liked this guy better. I think he was cuter.

Yay! She likes Mr. Tilney and she liked the movie. My work here is done…at least for now.

If interested in a full review, click on this link. Otherwise thank you for 9 wonderful years! Happy Blogiversary!

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) With My 12 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 9th anniversary it is pottery, wood, or willow wood. Let’s see what I can find as a gift on here, I’ll try to see if I can find something from every year …

For “pottery” we have a Jane Austen/Harry Potter post from 2014

For “wood” I have a post on Emma Woodhouse from 2015:

Another “wood” piece is my review of Emma [Woodhouse] (1996) AKA The Kate Beckinsale Version from 2016

Some more “wood” is the wooden ship Captain Wentworth has and my 5th blogiversary post from 2017

For “pottery” how about a pot of tea? (Post from 2018)

Another “wood” is my review of Rational Creatures: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. These two are “Self-Composed” by Christina Morland and “Every Past Affliction” by Nicole Clarkston (From 2019)

For more “wood” some Sense & Senchability tea the Dashwood sisters would love! (from 2020)

So thanks for the past nine years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

Yay!

And a special thank you to all who follow me:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Tea Party/Book Club: Blueberry Rose Scones

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on).

The first week were inspired by the tea party between Mr. Tumnus and Lucy Pevensie.

Now, Daughter of Eve!” said the Faun. And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake. And when Lucy was tired of eating the Faun began to talk. 

The first week we had Chami Tea’s Winter Grey: Deviled Eggs (for brown egg lightly boiled); Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés (in place of sardines on toast); Bagels (buttered toast), Honey French Toast (for toast with honey); and a Bear Claw Coffee Cake (for sugar topped cake).

Let’s spill the tea.

The second week we were inspired by the time Edmund spends with the White Witch.

“Perhaps something hot to drink?” said the Queen. “Should you like that?”

Yes please, your Majesty,” said Edmund, whose teeth were chattering.

The Queen took from somewhere among her wrappings a very small bottle which looked as if it were made of copper. Then, holding out her arm, she let one drop fall from it on to the snow beside the sledge. Edmund saw the drop for a second in mid-air, shining like a diamond. But the moment it touched the snow there was a hissing sound and there stood a jewelled cup full of something that steamed. The Dwarf immediately took this and handed it to Edmund with a bow and a smile; not a very nice smile. Edmund felt much better as he began to sip the hot drink. It was something he had never tasted before, very sweet and foamy and creamy, and it warmed him right down to his toes.

‘It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”

‘Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.

Of course as that only mentions one thing to eat, we ended up adding other recipes that sounded good. We decided to go with: Rose Petal and Green Tea, Rose Petal Earl Grey Tea, Blueberry Rose Petal Scones, Radish and Lemon Butter Sandwiches, Zuppa Toscana Soup, Meatloaf, and Turkish Delight.

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, is that I will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link.

This recipe comes from Parsnips and Pastries

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons rose water

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1–2 tablespoons half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  • dried rose petals

Directions:

  1. First prepare the Rose Water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, cut the very cold butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized. Do not over-mix. You should still see pieces of butter in the mixture.
  5. Gently fold in the fresh blueberries.
  6. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the half and half and rose water. Stir until just combined. Gently form the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface. Pat the dough down into a circle (about 6-8″ wide and 3/4-1″ thick).
  7. Cut the circle into 8 even triangles. Place the scones on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Space about a half-inch apart.
  8. Bake the scones until golden and cooked through, about 15-18 minutes.
  9. Make the glaze by stirring the half and half and rose water into the confectioners sugar until combined. Start with 1 tablespoon of half and half and add from there until the desired consistency is reached.
  10. Drizzle the glaze over cool scones and top with dried rose petals.
  11. For the best taste and texture, scones should be served the day of.

These were delicious but I liked the other Blueberry Scones I made better.

For more from our The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe teas, go to Honey French Toast

For more recipes, go to Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés

For more scones, go to Cranberry Chai Scones

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

So I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been wanting a Regency inspired gown for quite a while now.

I had planned to have one made for Modesto Jane Con but time ran away with me and we didn’t get a chance.

But this time I was ready. I put an order in early with Madsen Creations and was determined to have my Regency gown for my birthday party.

Now I don’t know about you all but I’m one of those people who I need to see something on me and struggle at looking at fabric and seeing the end result. Oftentimes I don’t know what I want and kind of hem and haw about it all. This time I had seen lots of Regency gowns in different films and had a better idea of what I really wanted. Of course I really wanted a coat like Catherine:

But that is too, too hot for CA spring.

Instead I really wanted a blue gown, as blue always looks good on me, and after searching through many gowns the biggest influence was the cut of Lydia’s gown in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and the style of Daphne’s gown in Bridgerton.

I haven’t actually seen this show, but I loved the pearls on the dress.

After the gown was selected we went on a trip to the fabric store. Originally we were going to find a lace to add on top of the gown, but there was no fabric that I really liked and time was limited. Instead we purchased blue linen, blue thread, pearl buttons-and swapped out the plans for an overlay for an applique (being inspired by Emma (2020).

I also needed a new fan, as my pride and joy is a red fan from Spain that my brother and sister-in-law gave me, and would clash with this gown. I needed a few supplies from the dollar tree and found a blue fan that matched the fabric for $1.

From there my work was done and Madsen Creations took over. She made this dress in a week, yes one week! Isn’t that amazing?

She ended up using a lace overlay with pearl buttons she had leftover from a previous costume she made. She also said that if it wasn’t for the trickiness of the pearls in the overlay, the dress would have been completed in two days.

My dress was absolutely beautiful, a perfect dream and I looked great in it.

If you are looking for any custom work, definitely check her out.

We are almost done with my party plans. Can you believe it? Just a one more thing to share and then I’ll be back to our usual book reviews and such.

For more on Madsen Creations, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Collaboration with Madsen Creations!

For more Madsen Creations products, go to I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

For more Jane Austen products, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Tea Party/Book Club: Honey French Toast

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on).

Thats me

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link.

So this book made choosing the recipes extremely easy as they have several meals. For our first tea, we were inspired by what Lucy and Mr. Tumnus have together.

“Meanwhile,” said Mr. Tumnus, “it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”…

Now, Daughter of Eve!” said the Faun. And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake. And when Lucy was tired of eating the Faun began to talk. 

The first week we had Chami Teas Winter Grey: Deviled Eggs (for brown egg lightly boiled); Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés (in place of sardines on toast); Bagels (buttered toast), Honey French Toast (for toast with honey); and a Bear Claw Coffee Cake (for sugar topped cake).

This recipe comes from Farm Flavor.

Party time!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs, well beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 slices Bread
  • butter, for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs, milk, honey, and salt.
  2. Dip bread slices into honey mixture.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet. Fry in butter over medium heat until golden brown, turning once.

These were delicious and a great addition to any tea party. I don’t really like honey, but I really enjoyed these.

And eat scones!

For more recipes, go to Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés

For more recipes, go to Snickerdoodles

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Catherine Morland’s Regency Hairdo

So we are almost done with going over my Jane Austen 29th Birthday Party planning.

We have gone over invitations, decorations, the menu, games, my teapot piñata, prizes, and party favors. In this post I’ll be going over my hair choice, the next will feature my gown, and then last but not least my party playlist.

So my hair and I do not have a good relationship, it rarely ever does what I want it to.

So I was first going to try and do a hairstyle like Marianne Dashwood:

But it wouldn’t come out right. So then I tried for Mary Crawford.

But my hair was just not cooperating.

Its times like that that make me wish I had a maid to work on my hair.

I was feeling really stressed as I was running out of time when I decided to try and do what I do when I’m feeling down and stressed, look up my girl Catherine Morland.

Her hair didn’t look too difficult, so I googled to see if I could find a step-by-step guide and discovered this one for doll hair. I figured that if it worked well for the doll, it should theoretically work well on human hair, right?

The directions come from Never Grow Up Doll Guide Blog. She did it for some kind of Regency doll photo shoot. I really liked her step by step directions as they were easy to follow and she included lots of pictures. As I was doing mine on my own, I didn’t take any pictures, but here is step by step how to create Catherine’s hair.

  1. Choose a piece of ribbon (I used a leftover piece from my gown) and place it tie on your head like a headband. Leave two sections of hair loose in the front.
  2. Secure the ribbon by Bobby pining it in.
  3. Keep the two sections of hair separate by clipping them. I put the extra hair in claws so it would stay put:
  4. . Then put all your hair (except the front two sections) into a ponytail.
  5. Take your ponytail and twist it into a bun, Bobby pining it to stay in place.
  6. Take one of the front strands and twist it, placing the end on top of the bun and looping it around the bin. Pin in place.
  7. Repeat step 6

I didn’t take a really good picture of my hair, but it looked fantastic. I definitely recommend doing this to your hair.

We are almost done with my party plans. Can you believe it? Just a few more things to share.

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: What’s in Your Purse Game