The last time I read Northanger Abbey, I ended up writing a 5,000-word essay about it (for university, of course, not for the lolz). So I was intrigued when I heard that crime writer Val McDermid was rewriting Jane Austen’s semi-gothic story, as part of the genius The Austen Project.
I picked up the book one rainy afternoon, sat down and, to my utmost surprise, totally, utterly devoured it.
It’s so, so good! It’s not often I find myself gushing over a book, and actually swooning over the relationship between Cat and mysterious love interest Henry (seriously – I had to put the book down so I could SQUEAL at one point) but this book ticked all the right boxes and awoke my inner romantic.
The story has been given a thoroughly 21st century revamp, and whereas the Catherine of Austen’s original immersed herself in the popular gothic novels of the time and dreamt of romance in Bath, McDermid’s Cat reads Twilight, updates her friends and family on the PQ goings-on via Twitter and Facebook and is frequently whisked off against her will in the sports car of the unbearable John Thorpe. The tale is moved out of the English countryside and is set, instead, against the cultural backdrop of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
It’s a magical story – you might find Cat’s wide-eyed curiosity and questionable belief in vampires a little grating at points, but ultimately, you’ll fall in love with it.
Buy Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid here