Book Review – Northanger Abbey (Val McDermid)


As always I don’t want to give too much away for people who haven’t yet read this. It’s quite a difficult feat, but I will try my best. (You may be thinking, “it’s Northanger Abbey, everyone knows how it goes”, but no, it’s Northanger Abbey with a twist…)

To begin with, there were a few things that set my teeth on edge, the dialogue between the younger characters was silly and nonsensical, speaking as a 21 year old, I can assure you the only time I’ve said “totes amazeballs” was in a sarcastic or ironic tone. The text messages sent between the characters I struggled to decipher and the childish belief in vampires when this clearly isn’t a fantasy book was a bit eh.

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Another thing that bothered me was the mention of Jane Austen’s other novels. I don’t think you can rewrite Northanger Abbey, using the exact same characters and include the fact they’ve read Pride and Prejudice, it just doesn’t make sense.

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All that aside, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book, I hated Johnny and Bella Thorpe, and fell in love with Henry Tilney just as I did in Jane’s Northanger Abbey. The new setting of Edinburgh was exciting and different, the cobblestone pavements a perfect setting for a Gothic novel.

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The ending of the novel was somewhat amusing, however not what I imagined. Understanding that the relationship problems in early 1800’s England were quite different to the relationship problems of the modern era, a change was, I guess, necessary?…
I have read some pretty unsavoury reviews of this book, but as a true lover of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (it’s my favourite over Pride and Prejudice, please everyone, don’t lose your minds all at once) I would still recommend it, it’s a retelling of the novel guys, not THE novel itself. We have to learn to have a little fun with books like these, learn a little tolerance for the differences, I have. (Eligible is the exception, worst Pride and Prejudice retelling I’ve ever read/seen, but that’s another story…) So yes, I would recommend it! Dare I say, I even loved it?

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