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Northanger Abbey

A modern re-imagining of the Gothic Classic Northanger Abbey by the bestselling crime author Val McDermid. The second book in The Austen Project.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine ‘Cat’ Morland has led a sheltered existence in rural Dorset, a life entirely bereft of the romance and excitement for which she yearns. So when Cat’s wealthy neighbours, the Allens, invite her to the Edinburgh Festival, she is sure adventure beckons.

Edinburgh initially offers no such thrills: Susie Allen is obsessed by shopping, Andrew Allen by the Fringe. A Highland Dance class, though, brings Cat a new acquaintance: Henry Tilney, a pale, dark-eyed gentleman whose family home, Northanger Abbey, sounds perfectly thrilling. And an introduction to Bella Thorpe, who shares her passion for supernatural novels, provides Cat with a like-minded friend. But with Bella comes her brother John, an obnoxious banker whose vulgar behaviour seems designed to thwart Cat’s growing fondness for Henry.

Happily, rescue is at hand. The rigidly formal General Tilney invites her to stay at Northanger with son Henry and daughter Eleanor. Cat’s imagination runs riot: an ancient abbey, crumbling turrets, secret chambers, ghosts…and Henry! What could be more deliciously romantic?

But Cat gets far more than she bargained for in this isolated corner of the Scottish Borders. The real world outside the pages of a novel proves to be altogether more disturbing than the imagined world within…




All translation rights for this title are handled by HarperCollins.

Film and Television rights are handled by Gregory and Company


‘Ø  ‘Undoubtedly worth waiting for’ –  Independent (Radar)

Ø  ‘The queen of crime reimagines Jane Austen’s gothic satire’ – Guardian

Ø  ‘Following Joanna Trollope’s oh-so-readable Sense & Sensibility update, crime writer Val McDermid takes up the mantle in the second of the Austen Project series’ – Sun on Sunday

Ø  ‘The marriage of Austen and McDermid should keep us on the edge of our seats’ – Woman and Home

“An exquisitely realised tale of the uncertainty and brutality of teenage years told with the lightness of touch and humour that Val is famous for.  It also contains the most detailed, and honest, description of the Edinburgh Fringe that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  I’ll never look at the Book festival in the same way again. Utter brilliance from McDermid.” – Susan Calman

‘NORTHANGER ABBEY is funny, clever, subversive and Scottish.  No bonnets – all brio’ – Jeanette Winterson

‘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

“McDermid’s reworking of the original novel is intelligent, amusing and well-written… captures beautifully how it feels to be a teenager… McDermid is a subtle and witty writer and it’s hard to imagine a better evocation of the spirit of the original.” – The Times

“A fun rendering… McDermid’s Abbey, with its passageways and dark corners, is fantastic, and this novel is a lark.” – Sunday Times

“McDermid’s great virtue is to have made Austen’s characters seem fresh in the way they would have been for her first readers… I can imagine Jane herself applauding.” – Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express

“note perfect… breezy, vital, inventive… Her obvious pleasure in the task is as contagious as Austen’s wit. …The only possible recommendation is to acquire this book and read it.” – The Scotsman

 “It’s good fun watching McDermid enjoy herself as she sprinkles in references to the likes of Beyoncé and — believe it or not — “Harriet the Spy.” 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 à la McDermid.” – Boston Globe

“…nothing feels forced, nothing feels untrue. McDermid makes it very much her own, although any skeletons in the cupboards are strictly metaphorical.” – The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

“Darkly funny and brilliantly conceived, this is a clever, enjoyable rewrite.” – Daily Express, Best women’s fiction for the beach.

 McDermid’s refashioning of this is a surprising twist.” – The Times