For many years Northanger Abbey was the only Jane Austen novel (of those published) that I neglected. It was my least favourite. And I don’t know why when I look back. It was probably the impression I gained from reading it as a school boy. When I eventually became inspired enough to pick it up, prompted by one of its television productions, I was surprised to find how modern it was in its depiction of the relations between young men and women.
Few males would not know what a flirt is like and the manipulative tricks she can get up to. Such a flirt was no different in Jane Austen’s day, it seems. In Isabella Thorpe she has depicted the type exactly – and satirised her mercilessly.