Northanger Abbey [Modernized version by Val McDermind) - What a fun read!

Northanger Abbey - Val McDermid

I read the modernized version of Sense and Sensibility earlier this year and rather enjoyed - though a good bit of that could be that the plot didn't do loop the loops and go everywhere except in a straight line. It flowed a bit better and so I couldn't' help but feel positively towards it. Having just read Austen's Northanger Abbey for the first time, I knew I had to try the next modern version in the series.


And McDermind did a wonderful job here. The characters stayed true while living in the modern day (and reaching, barely but there, three dimensions) and moving the setting from Bath to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was perfectly done. Catherine's, or Cat in this book, overactive imagination thanks to Gothic romances is now aided by vampire and other paranormal thrillers. A rather interesting and apt comparison to our modern genre, in my opinion. Letters and some gossip are now emails and Facebook posts and Cat's isolation at Northanger is managed neatly if a bit...conveniently.

No Wi-Fi because the dad works for the government and has it turned off most of the time so it doesn't get hacked.

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The build up of the setting and mood struck the same cord for me as the original, with Cat's musings on the scariness of places or the thrill they give her. Henry and Ellie Tilney were, to me, a bit more fleshed out in this book, though some I'd argue was an understanding today's reader would have of their actions and positions versus what the reader might not in Austen. I wonder if in another 200+ years, there will be another "modernization" set done. Food for thought.


Two characters that came out looking worse (though in characterization they stayed the same, I think) were Johnny and Bella Thorpe. Oh my word, he gives Wickham and Willoughby a run for their money. I really dislike manipulation and that is the one thing he seems to excel at.

The lying about the Tilneys not there to go their walk and then speeding off when Cat realizes what he's done enrages me to no end. I want to push him from the car, even if he's driving! The lie he tells to get her thrown out of the house - she's a lesbian and after Ellie - is the freaking icing on the cake!

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I want him to pay! Bella actually manages to rival Lucy Steele as my least favorite female character in Austen's works; no small feat.



If you are a fan of Jane Austen at all, I'd recommend giving this book a glance. I can't wait for the others to come out!