About the book
Jane Austen in the hands of queen of crime, Val McDermid. Get ready for a very different Northanger Abbey.
For Cat Morland life being home-schooled in Dorset is unendurably ordinary. To cope, she devours as many novels as possible, especially anything supernatural. But if Cat can tear her eyes away from the page, she’s in for a shock: the very stuff of her dreams is about to come true.
An invite to the Edinburgh Festival from some wealthy neighbours throws her in the way of a mysterious young man, Henry Tilney; a like-minded friend, Isabella Thorpe; and her odious brother, who threatens to ruin Cat’s chances of adventure. But this heroine is not so easily deterred, especially when she’s singled out by the Tilney family to stay with them at their imposing gothic castle, Northanger Abbey.
Turrets and creaking doors there may be, but in the depths of the Scottish Borders Cat is isolated from the outside world, with no phone signal and no internet. She’s all alone in an ancient abbey alive with old secrets and a family who are not quite as they seem. Is real life about to become more terrifying than the world of her imagination?
Reviewed by The Democrats
“While we thought many aspects of Val McDermid’s reworking of Jane Austen’s novels to adapt it to a contemporary context were clever – setting it in Edinburgh during the Festival, reference to the ‘Twilight’ novels rather than the Gothic novels Austen parodies, we were somewhat underwhelmed by this version. The repeated use of text speak, teen slang and a questionable twist at the end proved unappealing. Some critics have suggested it should be aimed at a young adult audience but we are not sure that they would then go on to read Austen’s original. A comparison of the two novels made for interesting discussion, however other groups may, of course, act differently!”
star rating **
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