Review of Northanger Abbey, by Val McDermid

northanger_abbey_mcdermid_largeNorthanger Abbey

by Val McDermid

Grove Press, New York, 2014. 343 pages.

Another modern Jane Austen update! Very fun! Val McDermid takes the exact story of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and writes it as Jane herself might have written it if she were alive today.

Now, with Sense and Sensibility, Joanna Trollope took an Austen novel I wasn’t terribly fond of and translated to modern times, which had it make a lot more sense. In this case, Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Austens (or at least in the top half, after Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion), but in translating it, it actually seems a bit less believable to me.

The original Northanger Abbey made fun of gothic novels. Catherine Morland imagined Northanger Abbey as the setting for one, and fantasized a sinister mystery in the family’s history. In the modern version, Cat Morland imagines that vampire novels are real. To me, it was a much bigger stretch that Cat would believe in vampires than that she’d believe a gothic novel was real. I don’t care how much a girl likes to read paranormal romances. I don’t think anyone would start believing they are real, no matter how mysterious the family.

Other than that, it was again a good translation of all the situations to modern times. Though I have to face that I’m not crazy about the plot of Northanger Abbey other than the fun it has with gothic novels. The story of her supposed friendship with Isabelle Thorpe is a bit more painful. And while Val McDermid did give the final problem with the General a modern twist, she left in the foreshadowing of the problem from the original novel, which ended up falling rather flat.

Still, Austen fans will enjoy reading the update. It’s a bit amazing how neatly the situations fit in modern life. And bottom line, we’ve got a light-hearted romance and the story of a young adult going out in the world for the first time and making new friends – some better than others.

valmcdermid.com
groveatlantic.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/northanger_abbey.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Leave a Reply