Henry Tilney’s Diary

Written by Amanda Grange
Review by Vicki Kondelik

Henry Tilney’s Diary is a delightful retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey from the hero’s point of view. Grange’s novel begins before the events of Northanger Abbey, when Henry, on vacation from school, finds out that his mother is gravely ill. We learn the circumstances of his mother’s illness and death. Eight years later, Henry, now a clergyman, meets young Catherine Morland on a visit to Bath and finds himself attracted to her; she seems like a breath of fresh air after the flirtatious, sophisticated young women his overbearing father introduces him to in order to find him a wealthy wife. He is thrilled to find that Catherine shares his love of Gothic novels and even more delighted when his father invites her to stay with the family at Northanger Abbey. But why is General Tilney so eager for Henry to marry Catherine, who, as Henry knows, has no fortune?

This novel should please admirers of Austen’s original, and it fills in the details of Henry’s sister Eleanor’s secret romance, his roguish brother Frederick’s flirtation with Isabella Thorpe, and why Frederick came to be the way he is. We also come to understand exactly what Henry sees in Catherine.