NORTHANGER ABBEY is book two in The Austen Project -- the
project has contemporary authors reinvent Jane Austen
classics. I always enjoyed the original story by Jane
Austen, so I was happy to find that author Val McDermid is
pretty faithful to the characters and the original story.
Isabella ("Bella" in this story) is still a jerk to
Catherine's ("Cat" in this story) brother. John Thorpe is
still obnoxious and Henry Tilney is still a sweetie.
This book asks the question: What would these classic
characters be like in today's modern world? Cat Moreland is
a 17 year old girl in this story and a huge reader of
fiction, so it makes sense that she would naturally be into
the paranormal and fantasy books that are so popular today.
It also makes sense for Cat to have been homeschooled and
from a small town to explain some of her youthful naiveté,
especially regarding her newfound friend Bella.
out journal writing in favor of Facebook posting and other
social media is a natural fit. I felt that some ways that
this version of NORTHANGER ABBEY, deviated from the
original were necessary. Nowadays, a 17 year old would not
be getting married so I like what Val McDermid does with
that. I also like that both Cat, and Henry's sister Ellie,
are given ambitions beyond marriage giving this story a
more contemporary feel. I did think that Cat's imaginings
regarding Henry's dead mother were fairly ridiculous but
given her age, upbringing, and normal reading material, I
suppose I can see how she arrived at her hasty conclusions.
I was very relieved when she abandoned those kooky ideas.
The epilogue is very satisfying and is crammed full of info
to tie loose ends together.
NORTHANGER ABBEY by Val McDermid is light, fun and full of
enough charm from the original story and interesting new
twists to be a very enjoyable read. I look forward to
trying other books in this series, as well as other stories
by Val McDermid.
Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid has
riveted millions of readers worldwide with her acutely
suspenseful, psychologically complex, seamlessly plotted
thrillers. In Northanger Abbey, she delivers her own, witty,
updated take on Austen’s classic novel about a young woman
whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance
stirs her most macabre imaginings, with an extra frisson of
suspense that only McDermid could provide.
Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister’s
daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset,
she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous
adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon.
So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and
friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe
Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny
personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe
additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to
take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the
Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And
then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming
lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding
Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming
sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything
about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been
reading too many novels? A delectable, note-perfect modern
update of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey tells a
timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite
angst of young love, and the value of friendship.