Monday 6 December 2021

Northanger Abbey

Finished December 6 
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

This book is part of a series of novels that are retellings of Jane Austen books known as The Austen Project. Here we have 17-year-old Catherine (Cat) Morland of the Piddle Valley in Dorset, accompanying neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Allen to Edinburgh for the Festival. She is excited to visit the city and take part in the various cultural events. Mr. Allen is an investor in cultural projects in London and evaluating the productions for potential. Mrs. Allen is both accompanying her husband, and shopping, and Cat is the recipient of some shopping largesse. 
They get invited to the Edinburgh Ball, and Cat is able to get a spot in a one-day session learning the various country dances. She is paired with local Henry Tilney, and finds herself falling for him. They also run into one of Mrs. Allen's old school friends, and her three daughters, one of whom, Bella, claims Cat for a friend. They also apparently know Cat's older brother James, as he went to school with their brother John. When the two young men also arrive, Cat finds herself torn between accompanying them and Bella on outings, and spending time with Henry and his sister Ellie. 
When General Tilney, Henry and Ellie's father invites her to their home at remote Northanger Abbey, Cat finds herself both excited and falling prey to her overactive imagination.
A fan of paranormal fantasy, and introduced to a Scottish writer of a series new to her, she finds herself imagining vampires, prisoners in old towers, and other such fantasies. 
This was an interesting modern-day take on the plot of Austen's novel, and a fun read. Including social media, texting, and modern cultural figures added another element to the plot. 
I'd read Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, another in the series and enjoyed it, and have enjoyed Val McDermid's novels as well, so was interested to see what she'd make of this challenge. 

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