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Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
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Northanger Abbey (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Val McDermid (Author)

Series: The Austen Project (2)

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4632638,721 (3.21)55
A modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic Northanger Abbey. Seventeen-year-old Catherine 'Cat' Morland has led a sheltered existence in rural Dorset, a life entirely bereft of the romance and excitement for which she yearns. So when Cat's wealthy neighbours, the Allens, invite her to Edinburgh Festival, she is sure adventure beckons. Edinburgh initially offers no such thrills: Susie Allen is obsessed by shopping, Andrew Allen by the Fringe. A Highland Dance class, though, brings Cat a new acquaintance: Henry Tilney, a pale, dark-eyed gentleman whose family home, Northanger Abbey, sounds perfectly thrilling. And an introduction to Bella Thorpe, who shares her passion for supernatural novels, provides Cat with a like-minded friend. But with Bella comes her brother John, an obnoxious banker whose vulgar behaviour seems designed to thwart Cat's growing fondness for Henry. Happily, rescue is at hand. The rigidly formal General Tilney invites her to stay at Northanger with son Henry and daughter Eleanor. Cat's imagination runs riot: an ancient abbey, crumbling turrets, secret chambers, ghosts...and Henry! What could be more deliciously romantic? But Cat gets far more than she bargained for in this isolated corner of the Scottish Borders. The real world outside the pages of a novel proves to be altogether more disturbing than the imagined world within.… (more)
Member:mimi_bookdragon
Title:Northanger Abbey
Authors:Val McDermid (Author)
Info:Grove Press (2014), Edition: 1st Edition, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:bookstagram, to-read

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Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid (2014)

Recently added byArina40, ArdizzoneFan
  1. 10
    Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope (dizzyweasel)
    dizzyweasel: Another book in The Austen Project, wherein popular contemporary authors take on Jane Austen's novels and "update" them for the modern world. Not as wonderful or as complex as the originals, but fun re-imaginings.
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» See also 55 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid is a tribute to the original book written by Jane Austen. Although I am a fan of Val McDermid this book just don’t work for me. Given the nature of this author’s work, I was expecting a much darker version and one filled with mystery and crime but instead this was more of a teen romance with many of the original novel’s plot lines in place but in a contemporary setting.

While there is nothing wrong with this author, known for her dark and intense work, to deliver a lighter, happier romance, I found the effort put into bringing this story to modern times was both obvious and difficult to believe. In order for the book to work, the reader must believe in Cat’s naivety and in today’s world of internet, electronic devices, and media communications, this was difficult to pull off.

Personally, I find Jane Austen highly readable so this modernized version just wasn’t needed. Austen’s stories are charming and delightful, the characters are perfectly suited to the 19th century that they inhabit whereas this updated version has a teenage heroine who does not stand the test of time. She seemed entirely too unsophisticated and gullible to be a young person of the 21st century. My advice is to read the original and pass of this updated version. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 12, 2020 |
Sigh. I am very fond of the original version of this book and the modern retelling unfortunately fell flat. McDermid expends more time trying to recreate passages from Austen's novel rather than taking the frame of Austen's narrative and trying to do something interesting with it in a modern context. I mostly spent the novel wishing I'd re-read the original instead. Not terrible but not recommended. ( )
  MickyFine | Feb 4, 2020 |
Val McDermid has done an excellent job of transplanting Jane Austin's classic to contemporary times. In fact, I reread Austin's book immediately after finishing this one and was surprised by how much of the original was present in McDermid's version! The main difference comes at the end.

For some reason, the dalliance between Captain Tilney and Isabella struck me as much more objectionable due to their age difference in the modern version - a difference that never occurs to me when I read the Austin version. ( )
  leslie.98 | Dec 31, 2019 |
Cleverly done and very Austen-esque. Kudos to McDermid for the voice, so different from her own. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
This book was *fun* ... but at the same time, felt like McDermid literally copy pasted the original text into a word processor and just did some find-and-replace to change things just slightly. This read like Austen with some additional social media angles (and the much-maligned text-speak) but what really needed to be updated were some plot issues.

For instance: (spoiler tagged even though these are all plot elements of the original novel)

- why does nobody find it odd that two grown men -- practicing lawyers -- would be so immediately attracted to a girl they know full well is 17?

- this may be passable in a Pretty Little Liars/Rosewood/creeper manner, if Cat wasn't also a sheltered, homeschooled, naive innocent who's never been out of her little town before in her life, making her act far younger than 17

- Bella and James get engaged right away, despite not even dating first? And Cat's (and everyone's) response is just to be happy for them? And not wondering, why don't they go on a date first? Or move in?

- The weird focus on getting married and family money may make some sense in a Gossip Girl sort of way, maybe, but the Allens' and Bella's focus on family wealth and making a good marriage read as more Regency era than 21st century


And on top of that, and this is probably an element of the not-very-popular original novel, but the plot is all over the place. In pre-publication interviews, this book was described as being reimagined as a teen suspense thriller (and hence McDermid's involvement) but the "suspense" elements (are the Tilneys really VAMPIRES??) is never a real threat, as even Cat knows she's being silly to suspect that.
( )
  annhepburn | Mar 4, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fox, BeccaCover letteringsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woods, Charles RueCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
To Joanna Steven, constant reader, constant friend,
who is indirectly responsible for introducing me to the
delights of the Piddle Valley.
First words
It was a source of constant disappointment to Catherine Morland that her life did not more closely resemble her books.
Quotations
Cat, as she preferred to be known—on the basis that nobody should emerge from their teens with the name their parents had chosen—had been disappointed by her life for as long as she could remember.
Henry gave her a wolfish grin, revealing small, sharp teeth. His eyes looked almost tawny in the afternoon light, like a lion stalking prey.
'Pleased to meet you,' he said, head cocked as if assessing her for the pot.
Satisfied that he wasn't a gay man in disguise, Susie tucked a hand under Cat's arm.
If Cat had not had her own lively interest in her surroundings to preserve her, she might have lost the will to live entirely.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic Northanger Abbey. Seventeen-year-old Catherine 'Cat' Morland has led a sheltered existence in rural Dorset, a life entirely bereft of the romance and excitement for which she yearns. So when Cat's wealthy neighbours, the Allens, invite her to Edinburgh Festival, she is sure adventure beckons. Edinburgh initially offers no such thrills: Susie Allen is obsessed by shopping, Andrew Allen by the Fringe. A Highland Dance class, though, brings Cat a new acquaintance: Henry Tilney, a pale, dark-eyed gentleman whose family home, Northanger Abbey, sounds perfectly thrilling. And an introduction to Bella Thorpe, who shares her passion for supernatural novels, provides Cat with a like-minded friend. But with Bella comes her brother John, an obnoxious banker whose vulgar behaviour seems designed to thwart Cat's growing fondness for Henry. Happily, rescue is at hand. The rigidly formal General Tilney invites her to stay at Northanger with son Henry and daughter Eleanor. Cat's imagination runs riot: an ancient abbey, crumbling turrets, secret chambers, ghosts...and Henry! What could be more deliciously romantic? But Cat gets far more than she bargained for in this isolated corner of the Scottish Borders. The real world outside the pages of a novel proves to be altogether more disturbing than the imagined world within.

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