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Northanger Abbey Hardcover – 17 Apr 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 343 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (17 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802123015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802123015
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 980,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review


Praise for "Northanger Abbey"

"Scottish crime writer McDermid adeptly reworks Jane Austen's Gothic satire for the modern audiences. . . . Following Austen's storyline but diverging in distinctive ways of her own, McDermid captures the naivete of the protagonist of Austen's prose. . . . 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."--"Publishers Weekly"

Praise for Val McDermid:

"Val McDermid . . . has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it."--Andrew Taylor, "The Guardian" (UK), on "The Retribution"

"McDermid is a whiz at combining narrative threads, shifting to the viewpoints of her various characters . . . and ending chapters with cliffhangers that propel you to keep reading. . . . She's the best we've got."--"New York Times Book Review", on "Killing the Shadows"

"One of the most accomplished crime novelists in the UK, Val McDermid has an acute reading of the psychology that lifts her out of the genre strait-jacket. She delivers pulse-raising set-pieces when necessary, but truthfulness of characterization is always more important than the exigencies of plot."--Barry Forshaw, "The Independent" (UK), on "The Vanishing Point"

"Smooth. Confident. Deeply satisfying. What else can you say about McDermid's writing?"--"Entertainment Weekly" (editor's choice), on "The Torment of Others"

"Her work is taut, psychologically complex and so gripping that it puts your life on hold."--"The Times" (UK)

Praise for "Northanger Abbey"
"Gold Dagger Award-winning British crime writer McDermid offers a canny new twist on Jane Austen's early novel. . . . McDermid's brilliant update of the characters' outlooks, philosophies, and attitudes within a modern context makes this a reimagined delight for Austen fans."--Amber Peckham, "Booklist"
"Scottish crime writer McDermid adeptly reworks Jane Austen's Gothic satire for the modern audiences. . . . Following Austen's storyline but diverging in distinctive ways of her own, McDermid captures the naivete of the protagonist of Austen's prose. . . . 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."--"Publishers Weekly"
Praise for Val McDermid:
"Val McDermid . . . has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it."--Andrew Taylor, "The Guardian" (UK), on "The Retribution"
"McDermid is a whiz at combining narrative threads, shifting to the viewpoints of her various characters . . . and ending chapters with cliffhangers that propel you to keep reading. . . . She's the best we've got."--"New York Times Book Review," on "Killing the Shadows"
"One of the most accomplished crime novelists in the UK, Val McDermid has an acute reading of the psychology that lifts her out of the genre strait-jacket. She delivers pulse-raising set-pieces when necessary, but truthfulness of characterization is always more important than the exigencies of plot."--Barry Forshaw, "The Independent" (UK), on "The Vanishing Point"
"Smooth. Confident. Deeply satisfying. What else can you say about McDermid's writing?"--"Entertainment Weekly" (editor's choice), on "The Torment of Others"
"Her work is taut, psychologically complex and s

Praise for "Northanger Abbey"
"The unmitigated pleasure here is the obvious relish with which McDermid relocates Austen's Regency England tale of romantic intrigue in Bath's high-society circuit and imaginatively-spun Gothic intrigue at a rural abbey to 21st-century Britain. . . . McDermid's success lies in her ability to allow her version of "Northanger Abbey" to dovetail tidily and enjoyably with Austen's original while infusing it with her own humor, wit, and style. . . . Long before Cat is off to the Tilneys' abbey, long before our modern-day crime author draws a final, canny ace from her tartan sleeve, you'll have succumbed to the delights of Northanger a la McDermid."--Daneet Steffens, "The Boston Globe"
"Gold Dagger Award-winning British crime writer McDermid offers a canny new twist on Jane Austen's early novel. . . . McDermid's brilliant update of the characters' outlooks, philosophies, and attitudes within a modern context makes this a reimagined delight for Austen fans."--Amber Peckham, "Booklist"
"Scottish crime writer McDermid adeptly reworks Jane Austen's Gothic satire for the modern audiences. . . . Following Austen's storyline but diverging in distinctive ways of her own, McDermid captures the naivete of the protagonist of Austen's prose. . . . 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."--"Publishers Weekly"
Praise for Val McDermid:
"Val McDermid . . . has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it."--Andrew Taylor, "The Guardian" (UK), on "The Retribution"
"McDermid is a whiz at combining narrative threads, shifting to the viewpoints of her various characters . . . and ending chapters with cliffhangers that propel you to keep reading. . . . She's the best we've got."--"New York Times Book Review," on "Killing the Shadows"
"One of the most accomplished crime novelists in the UK, Val McDermid has an acute reading of the psychology that lifts her out of the genre strait-jacket. She delivers pulse-raising set-pieces when necessary, but truthfulness of characterization is always more important than the exigencies of plot."--Barry Forshaw, "The Independent" (UK), on "The Vanishing Point"
"Smooth. Confident. Deeply satisfying. What else can you say about McDermid's writing?"--"Entertainment Weekly" (editor's choice), on "The Torment of Others"
"Her work is taut, psychologically complex and so gripping that it puts your life on hold."--"The Times" (UK)

Praise for Northanger Abbey
"The unmitigated pleasure here is the obvious relish with which McDermid relocates Austen's Regency England tale of romantic intrigue in Bath's high-society circuit and imaginatively-spun Gothic intrigue at a rural abbey to 21st-century Britain. . . . McDermid's success lies in her ability to allow her version of Northanger Abbey to dovetail tidily and enjoyably with Austen's original while infusing it with her own humor, wit, and style. . . . Long before Cat is off to the Tilneys' abbey, long before our modern-day crime author draws a final, canny ace from her tartan sleeve, you'll have succumbed to the delights of Northanger a la McDermid."--Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe
"Gold Dagger Award-winning British crime writer McDermid offers a canny new twist on Jane Austen's early novel. . . . McDermid's brilliant update of the characters' outlooks, philosophies, and attitudes within a modern context makes this a reimagined delight for Austen fans."--Amber Peckham, Booklist
"Scottish crime writer McDermid adeptly reworks Jane Austen's Gothic satire for the modern audiences. . . . Following Austen's storyline but diverging in distinctive ways of her own, McDermid captures the naivete of the protagonist of Austen's prose. . . . 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."--Publishers Weekly
Praise for Val McDermid:
"Val McDermid . . . has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it."--Andrew Taylor, The Guardian (UK), on The Retribution
"McDermid is a whiz at combining narrative threads, shifting to the viewpoints of her various characters . . . and ending chapters with cliffhangers that propel you to keep reading. . . . She's the best we've got."--New York Times Book Review, on Killing the Shadows
"One of the most accomplished crime novelists in the UK, Val McDermid has an acute reading of the psychology that lifts her out of the genre strait-jacket. She delivers pulse-raising set-pieces when necessary, but truthfulness of characterization is always more important than the exigencies of plot."--Barry Forshaw, The Independent (UK), on The Vanishing Point
"Smooth. Confident. Deeply satisfying. What else can you say about McDermid's writing?"--Entertainment Weekly (editor's choice), on The Torment of Others
"Her work is taut, psychologically complex and so gripping that it puts your life on hold."--The Times (UK)

About the Author

Val McDermid is the best-selling author of twenty-seven previous novels, which have been translated into over forty languages. She lives in the north of England.

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Format: Hardcover
this reads like exactly what it is: a crime writer trying to write a YA book, presumably without ever reading one or speaking to an actual teenager. the 17 year old protag (who is supposed to be cat Morland, but she's robbed of all the intelligence and empowerment that the regency version of her had in this weak and unbelievably naive portrayal) alternates between saying things like 'totes amazeballs' and 'the beach is full of the paraphernalia of middle-class wealth', sounding exactly like every teenager I've ever heard (not). the author seems to be making fun of teenagers in every line in an almost offensive way, and while I guess the point of this series is to adapt Austen as closely as possible to a modern setting, this was too EXACT an adaptation. scenes and conversations which make absolute sense in the regency setting are copied word for word and just make the characters look ridiculous, which the author seems to encourage. everyone in this book is made to be unlikeable and unrealistic and I wish I hadn't read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid: A review 13 Sept. 2016
By PlantBirdWoman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another of the books in the Austen Project, modern authors retelling the Austen classics. This one even has the same name as the original.

Val McDermid is a successful author of crime thrillers, none of which I have read. She accepted the challenge of updating Northanger Abbey and chose to make the heroine, Catherine Morland, into a Twilight-loving, vampire-obsessed teenager. Since I'm not a big fan of Twilight or vampires in general - although I quite like Dracula - that artistic choice made it very hard for me to like Cat, as she is called in the book. She seemed utterly shallow and without substance, and since the book is all about her, that left the plot feeling quite flimsy and frivolous for me.

So, we have Cat Morland, sheltered, homeschooled daughter of a vicar and his wife from the little village of Piddle Valley in Dorset. It is a happy, loving family with four children, a brother older than Cat and two sisters who are younger. The family has quite straitened financial circumstances and there's not much chance for travel, so it is very exciting for Cat when their childless neighbors, the Allens, invite her to travel with them to Edinburgh for the summer Fringe Festival.

When they arrive in Edinburgh, Cat's world explodes with possibilities. She essentially takes the city by storm. She meets Bella Thorne who, almost instantly, becomes her BFF. Then she finds that Bella has her cap set for Cat's brother, James, who is a school friend of her brother, and she is equally determined that Cat will be paired with that odious brother, Johnny.

Soon, Cat also meets handsome Henry Tilney at a dance and loses her heart to him, and she also meets his sister Eleanor, who invites her to come and visit them at their family home, Northanger Abbey. Cat looks at online pictures of Northanger Abbey and is entranced by the idea of it because it looks like a place where vampires might dwell. Arriving at the Abbey, she imagines that the Tilneys are a family of vampires, but the thought doesn't scare her; it only excites her.

McDermid actually follows the original plot pretty closely, just changing carriages to cars and letters on paper to emails and texts and girls obsessed with The Mysteries of Udolpho to girls obsessed with Twilight and Herbridean Harpies. She makes a stab at updating the language of the teenagers, but that fell flat for me. Words like "totes" or "amazeballs" - I mean, are those even words? And do teenagers really talk like that? I don't have much opportunity to interact with teenagers these days, so perhaps I'm not the best judge...

I really don't have the heart to summarize the entire plot here. There was no one in the story that I felt a connection with, and so even though the book was fairly short, reading it felt like a bit of a slog. I found myself missing the witty dialogue and beautiful language of the original.

In fact, I think this book would probably be enjoyed more by someone who has never read the original and so has nothing with which to compare it. I can imagine that it might appeal to the readers of Twilight, for example, and if it could make those readers sufficiently curious about the writings of Austen to pick up the original and read it, that would be the best possible outcome.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Modernization 14 Jun. 2015
By H. Bok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I derived little pleasure from the first adaptation in this series (the *Sense and Sensibility* one) or the third (the *Emma* one), but this was a happier experience. Val McDermid did a good job coming up with modern analogues for the original story (e.g., homeschooling to account for Catherine Morland’s extreme naïveté). The dialogue was very well done; I especially appreciated Henry’s wit, which was clever without meanness. And Bella was totally hilarious; she dominated every scene she was in.

Henry Tilney is my favorite JA hero (at the moment), so I came prepared to like him in this version, and did. Catherine (Cat) Morland is a little more intellectual in this retelling than in the original—though still without worldly wisdom—leading me to hope that she and Henry might be better suited for the long haul than in the original. If you can improve on Jane Austen, by all means do so!

One thing I missed that was in the original was the way JA systematically set up the expectations of gothic romance, only to undercut them over and over with down-to-earth reality. McDermid introduces modern-day gothic analogues, such as Cat’s obsession with vampires, but we simply hear her internal speculations about these elements without having the genre’s clichés so integrally woven into the plot.

Speaking of the vampires, I thought that element was taken a bit too far. It wasn’t necessary for Cat to believe they really existed; the story would have worked just as well had she merely thought the Tilneys reminded her of vampires. She had enough fodder for suspicion with regards to the general and his dead wife that she didn’t need to take and hold such a ridiculous idea. Adding in the vampire element simply muddied the revelation scene.

Quibble time: I did not appreciate the various coy references to *Pride and Prejudice*. They didn’t make logical sense to me—if Jane Austen existed and published P&P, why would she not have published *Northanger Abbey*, which she wrote before P&P? Just distracting. Another quibble is that I did not really see why Cat and Eleanor (sp? Elinor?) Tilney would have become friends in the first place. Lastly (**spoiler! spoiler!**), I saw no particular reason for Henry to jump right to a proposal to Cat in the end; surely they could have begun by dating.

I very much liked the Edinburgh setting, and the vivid descriptions of the abbey and Henry’s house. The story moved along nicely, and gave me a lot of laughs.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The World's Worst Home Schooler 26 Jan. 2015
By Annandale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While there are several clever "updates" to the Northanger Abbey story (Edinburgh as the new Bath, sexy vampires replacing Mrs Radcliffe's gothic horrors, for example), the author is not able to sustain the whimsical tone of the early chapters, and the novel starts to drag midway, never to recover. Worst of all, the heroine, Cat Morland, seems more and more like a complete idiot as the story goes on, her naïveté becoming something like ineffable ignorance. She's supposed to be 17 years old, but she starts acting more like a not-too-bright 7 year old, considering seriously, apparently, that the Tilneys are vampires -- really?? And it gets worse when we are told that she has no academic qualifications of any kind because she was home-schooled - huh? And has no plans for any kind of career or profession beyond maybe studying to be -- wait for it -- a NANNY! This may be why she gets along so well with the Tilney daughter because she, too, has apparently never been educated to do anything or consider working to support herself. Feminist implications aside, this is a perplexing take on the 'modern' update of the story and certainly doesn't ring true at all - young ladies in Austen's day did not have careers (though ironically nanny-hood was one of the few paths available for genteel females without resources or family) but neither did young gentlemen, if they truly were gentlemen. Yet the author gives the males of the story robust working profiles but leaves the females as hapless in his area as they were 200 years ago. It was also vaguely disconcerting to "discover" the purported reason for Cat's (ugh, hate the name) ejection from the Abbey in the middle of the night, and then to have this issue so cavalierly, even insensitively, treated by the author - behavior worthy of the General, I'd say, in this day and age. I am unfamiliar with the work of this author but cannot imagine looking further for her writing. And cannot recommend this novel to Austen fans or fans of The Austen Project. I can recommend Emma, however, by Alexander McCall Smith, coincidentally from Edinburgh, also part of the Project - tho' there is a bit of drag here and there, Emma is a towering intellect compared to Cat Morland, and, ironically, tho' independently wealthy, has a career she plans to pursue (Cat's family's lack of wealth makes her joblessness even more puzzling). Finally, at one point Cat mentions that her family never watched television, though she and her brother, at least, are completely familiar with social media. Two things wrong with this - firstly, there are many good, educational programs on TV which clearly would have been immensely enriching to a dullard like Cat - there is no plausible explanation of why her parents would have denied her this experience, which she clearly could have used. Secondly, unrestricted social media/Internet usage has far more perils for youth than TV but there is no indication, actually the opposite, that her usage was restricted or monitored in any way. Really makes no sense at all, and another indication that the author just didn't think it all through convincingly. And one final nail in the coffin (excuse the pun), is Cat's obsession with trash horror literature but without any influence of good literature which should, at least, have helped her mature more. One comes away with the feeling that her mother may be one of the worst home-schoolers in history. What Henry Tilney sees in her is hard to understand and his father's unhappiness with his choice of partners is really, upon reflection, quite understandable.
4.0 out of 5 stars Young Love at the Edingburgh Festival. 16 Oct. 2016
By J PHILLIPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was unfortunate enough to first meet Northanger Abbey as a teenager and, even worse, at school. It was chosen no doubt well-meaningly, because it's about a teenager but it is making fun of that teenager from a more adult perspective, so not exactly appealing when you are going through similar trials yourself. Now I can enjoy it more and laugh along.
This was another happy experience of an updated version of Jane Austen. My only quibbles are the author's tendency to spell things out for the reader - I suppose she was writing for teenagers (I recently read "The Railway Children" and found that author very condescending to her young readers although I still enjoyed the story); plus she had to really twist the plot to manage to get her heroine cut off from the Internet. Using the Edinburgh Festival instead of Bath was a good idea as were the other updates in general.
After reading Joanna Trollope's update of "Sense and Sensibility" I felt it proved I just do know know modern upper class English usage. I now realise it probably just means I don't know modern English teen speak (having lived in USA for 15 years and having no teens in my vicinity).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic re-imagining of the Jane Austen classic 10 May 2014
By Alluraluna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the first page, I adored this rewrite of Northanger Abbey by author Val McDermid. McDermid, better known as an award-winning crime writer, has here taken on the task of reimagining Jane Austen’s heroine Cat Morland in the present day. McDermid states in her prologue that she hopes Jane Austen would enjoy her take on the classic novel, and I think McDermid has succeeded in this aim.
Val McDermid is clearly an author who is intimately familiar with Jane Austen’s work. Happily, I had just finished reading the original Northanger Abbey, as well as watching the Masterpiece Theater film adaptation, so I had many of the sentences, and the particular wit that Austen employs, fresh in my mind. Thus, I was truly impressed with the way that McDermid captures the essence of Austen’s classic so succinctly. Using her own words, McDermid somehow manages to convey the sound, rhythm, and tone of the original Northanger Abbey. And even more remarkable is how she is able to do this within a contemporary setting.
What McDermid has achieved here is no small feat, as I can attest to, having read, and been disappointed by, numerous novels by contemporary authors which fail to achieve an authentic sense of the past. The problem of a superficial gloss of old buildings and costumes over disappointingly contemporary characters is also apparent in popular television series. One example is Lost in Austen, in which a present-day heroine goes back in time to visit the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice. What these artistic attempts, and quite a few others, show, more than anything, is how difficult it is for contemporary writers and filmmakers to capture a convincing sense of the past. Somehow, Val McDermid has reached that difficult goal, creating modern characters who manage to almost seamlessly capture the essence of an Austen novel. Basically, Northanger Abbey feels like the novel Austen would have written herself, if she was alive in 2014.
That said, Northanger Abbey stays true to the plot of the original novel. It is a credit to this rewrite that, despite having recently read the original, I was completely enchanted with McDermid’s version, even knowing every conversation and situation the characters would encounter. This is indeed high praise from someone who rarely rereads a book or rewatches a movie.
The only slight quibbles I would have, which are not really complaints, but just interesting observations, were that to me, the Henry Tilney of McDermid’s Northanger Abbey lacked the charm, self-effacing humor, and integrity that made him such an endearing character in Austen’s novel. McDermid’s Henry was a pretty nice guy, but he didn’t seem quite so intelligent, gallant, or mature as Austen’s character. At times, he came across as harsh. The same goes for Ellie, and for Cat. Ellie seemed a little less graceful and angelic, and Cat seemed a little less ingenuous. The closest thing I can compare it to is how different actors portray characters in film adaptations of a novel. An example would be Johnny Lee Miller and Jeremy Northam in the different Emma adaptations. Each actor had slightly different takes on the character of Mr. Knightley, though I must say, in that instance, I would have a difficult time deciding which one I would rather fall in love with.
All said, McDermid’s Northanger Abbey was a delight to read and a worthy tribute to the Jane Austen classic. It will definitely be more fully appreciated by readers familiar with the original novel. And I was so impressed by McDermid’s writing that I began her crime novel, A Place of Execution, while still in the middle of Northanger Abbey. Though utterly different in tone, I am happily engrossed in this mystery, and am so glad to finally become familiar with this truly gifted and versatile author.
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