Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister's daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley's narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there's the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can't help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels? A delectable, note-perfect modern update of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey tells a timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite angst of young love, and the value of friendship.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-03-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Scottish crime writer McDermid (Cross and Burn) adeptly reworks Jane Austen's Gothic satire for the modern audiences. A homeschooled minister's daughter bored by the "narrow confines" of the Dorset countryside and her "deeply average and desperately dull" family, Cat is given her break when her neighbors invite her as their guest to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. There, Cat befriends the needy Bella Thorpe who fancies Cat's brother and meets the captivating Henry Tilney, with his "heroic" face and "luxuriant honey-blond hair." Drama ensues. "When she looked back on that first meeting, Cat would wonder whether she should have been more wary of a man who began their acquaintance with such a blatant lie. For there was nothing gentle about what followed." As Cat gets acquainted with Eleanor, Henry's sister, she secures an invitation to their family home, the enchanting Northanger Abbey, a mansion of possible secrets that stirs the darkest recesses of Cat's overworked imagination. Following Austen's storyline but diverging in distinctive ways of her own, McDermid captures the naivete of the protagonist of Austen's prose, though at times her teenage characters come off as contrived in their language and behavior. Rife with conflicts of love, gossip, misunderstandings, and updates on social media, it is an accessible and enjoyable read, especially rewarding for young readers as a gateway into appreciating the classics. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company. (Apr.)