We all know and love Jane Austen but what happens when a Scottish crime writer changes the setting and time period of a beloved favorite? Well, one gets Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid.
McDermid has transplanted Catherine Morland (Cat for short) to present day Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival. Cat has been home schooled by her mother and is in Edinburgh as a companion for her neighbors, Mr and Mrs Allen. Cat meets Bella Thorpe and the Tilney siblings, Henry and Ellie. Hi-jinx ensue and Cat must figure out which friends are her true friends and which are not. Throw a little romance in as well as an obsessions with vampires and zombies and you have a light-hearted retelling of Austen’s posthumously published final novel.
I really enjoyed this novel and read it quickly. Perhaps the best thing is that McDermid acknowledges at the end that fiction is not read to learn lessons but simply to entertain. And Northanger Abbey certainly entertained.