Plain Jane: “I must confess that his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude…a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only excuse of giving her a serious thought.”
-Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey
There is always much debate over whether the romance in Northanger Abbey is one of “true love.” For, Jane says herself that gratitude on the hero’s side, and partiality on the heroine’s side was the only basis of their romance. The novel in its entirety though is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek poke at the Gothic style that was becoming so popular during Jane’s time, a style marked by overblown emotion, dark, exaggerated family histories, possessive ‘love,’ and intrigue. Perhaps Jane was illustrating to her readership that for some, love can begin simply: as mutual respect, partiality, or even gratitude, but can become something quite special without the aid of Gothic traits.