Northanger Abbey - Val McDermid (2014)

Avid Twilight fan and bookworm Cat Morland dreams of fantasy and adventure and ultimately of being a heroine. However, there's little chance of this in her home in the rather dispiritingly named Piddle Valley. But when family friends the Allens offer to take Cat with them to the Edinburgh Festival, it seems her chance may finally have come. And when she meets the Tilneys who invite her to stay at Northanger Abbey, Cat's imagination comes to life. This is a fun and parodic read but very young-at-heart and sometimes therefore a bit daft. In particular, the reasoning for General Tilney kicking Cat out towards the end of the novel was unconvincing and the whole episode is very sudden and abrupt. Whilst the retelling does well to bring the story to life to a modern teen audience, replete with Twitter and Twilight references, its crossover appeal is hugely debatable and I'm not sure the plot, satire or heroine will hold much currency or weight for older readers. This is the second novel released in the Jane Austen Project. (JC)

In the second book from The Austen Project, crime writer Val McDermid has written a modern reimagining of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. The summary says: "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, neighbours 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?" Northanger Abbey is out in April 2014. Joanna Trollope's 2013 novel Sense and Sensibility was the first book released under The Austen Project.

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