Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
4 out of 5 stars ★ and a favorite ♥
This is the second book of The Austen Project series. There’s two other books to this series so far, along with one more book being released on April 19th (Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld). I’m looking forward to reading Emma by Alexander McCall Smith (book 3).
This series is a satire to Jane Austen‘s books. I know that nobody else can write like Jane can, but I still enjoy reading these retelling stories. I love Austen’s books and her writing. Val McDermid normally writes mystery books. I really don’t often read mystery books so Val was a New-To-Me Author. I don’t know if I’ll be reading any of her books but Northanger Abbey was a fun read.
I know the story of Northanger Abbey quite well already due to the fact that this is my favorite Jane Austen book, although it’s been a while since I’ve read it. Val was able to add this 21st Century update to the story with all those texting, Twitter and Facebook media stuff. And I loved that the theme in Bathe took place during a sort of Art Festival of sorts (books, theatre, etc.)
I did find it ridiculous that “Cat” Morland (short for Catherine) thought that the Tilney family was a bunch of vampires. Seriously how naive can a girl get? I don’t remember Austen’s heroine being that naive. As for the other characters… Well to put it bluntly, all but the Tilney’s and Catherine’s characters are more developed in this than the others. The Morland family is quickly described, and then it’s off to be with The Allen’s who have a small role in Cat’s life – more like chauffeurs than anything. And then there’s the much hated Thorpe family. Oh it’s no spoiler how these characters are bad news. I did really like Cat Morland and Henry Tilney.
It would have been nice if Val had picked out some more books that were of the Gothic Fiction genre like Austen did. But instead she came up with an imaginary book series that the characters raved about. I ended up actually searching to see if the Hebridean Harpies book series was real but alas it is not so. She did mention those Twilight books (I can’t remember any others). Jane Austen had blessed us with actually naming some real books and authors, and mostly Ann Radcliffe‘s books. Those books are now called the Northanger Horrid Novels with 7 suggested books to read. There’s got to be some good Gothic Fiction books out there now. Even if they had the average Zombie apocalypse or what not. I think Joyce Carol Oates even has some Gothic Mysteries now.
If you know any modern Gothic Fiction books I’d love to hear about them.
In all this was a fun retelling. It doesn’t compare to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey but I thought it was still worth the read. And I did like Val McDermid‘s book enough to buy the kindle edition after my library hardcover loan expired. I think I liked the description of the festival and the book’s ending the most. Though the description of the Abbey was nice too.
“It was a source of constant disappointment to Catherine Morland that her life did not more closely resemble her books. Or rather, that the books in which she found its likeness were so unexciting.”
― Val McDermid, Northanger Abbey