A Curse Has Come Upon You or a Clever Gothic Northanger Abbey Sequel

The Bride of Northanger

by Diana Birchall
Historical Fiction
White Soup Press
Formats available:  Paperback, Electronic
Pub Date: 9.17.19| 230 pages

REVIEWER: Sophia Rose


A happier heroine than Catherine Morland does not exist in England, for she is about to marry her beloved, the handsome, witty Henry Tilney. The night before the wedding, Henry reluctantly tells Catherine and her horrified parents a secret he has dreaded to share – that there is a terrible curse on his family and their home, Northanger Abbey. Henry is a clergyman, educated and rational, and after her year’s engagement Catherine is no longer the silly young girl who delighted in reading “horrid novels”; she has improved in both reading and rationality. This sensible young couple cannot believe curses are real…until a murder at the Abbey triggers events as horrid and Gothic as Jane Austen ever parodied – events that shake the young Tilneys’ certainties, but never their love for each other…



“Diana Birchall once again proves herself the worthiest of Austenesque fiction writers, with keen powers of observation, discernment, judgment, fire, genius, and wit on every page.” — Devoney Looser, author of The Making of Jane Austen

“No one captures Jane Austen’s vibrant style, sense of humor, intelligence, and voice better than Diana Birchall. I flew through this charming novel, which makes a delightfully spooky and most welcome sequel to Northanger Abbey.” — Syrie James, author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

“One of the most enjoyable returns to Austen to be found. Not to be missed.” — Susan Franzblau, author and film director





Book was provided by tour organizer. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


The Bride of Northanger is a deliciously Gothic sequel with dark shadows, hair-raising moments and a heroine who has come into her own.  I am predisposed to adore any book written as a sequel to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey since they are so few.  When it is done with aplomb going right to the heart of dear Catherine Morland’s Gothic imaginings with a light touch of wry wit, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  The author transported readers through her careful attention to writing in a style and tone of the period and way of pulling in the historical setting and situation.

Catherine learns of the curse on Henry’s family the night before her wedding.  She is a year away from allowing her fanciful imaginings to get away from her so she takes the telling of such a thing with equanimity.  She is less sanguine about the need to visit Northanger Abbey and the general right after their nuptials are barely over.  I enjoyed the play of events that took matters forward after the finish of Austen’s book while striking off on a new adventure for Catherine and the other cast of characters involving possible French spies, Frederick’s ongoing profligacy, tragic family secrets, abuse and women’s situations in the time, and the secrets of the abbey as well as a sweet, heartwarming progression of the early time of Catherine and Henry’s marriage.

Catherine gets to be the heroine in her own Gothic horror and I thought she absolutely rose to the occasion.  Maybe too impressively, but then again, she had Henry supporting her efforts and sharing much of the adventure right along side her with a few notable exceptions when she had to face some scary moments alone.  Seeing her back in company with people who deceived her before was when her newfound maturity shone forth as a woman of courage and sense.  Loved it.

As I said earlier, I felt a strong Austenesque tone to this story, the style, and the characters.  The author did a fabulous job pressing forward with the ongoing Northanger Abbey story and I think old fans and new ones alike who appreciate the attention to such historical detail will more than appreciate this one.






Diana Birchall worked for many years at Warner Bros studios as a story analyst, reading novels to see if they would make movies. Reading manuscripts went side by side with a restorative and sanity-preserving life in Jane Austen studies and resulted in her writing Austenesque fiction both as homage and attempted investigation of the secrets of Jane Austen’s style. She is the author of In Defense of Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Elton in America, Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, and the new The Bride of Northanger. She has written hundreds of Austenesque short stories and plays, as well as a biography of her novelist grandmother, and has lectured on her books and staged play readings at places as diverse as Hollywood, Brooklyn, Montreal, Chawton House Library, Alaska, and Yale.

Visit Diana at her Austen Variations author page.


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