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 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… Read Caroline Baum's Review Well now, this is a bit of fun. For the second instalment of the Austen project (the first was Joanna Trollope on Sense and Sensibility) British crime writer McDermid injects a very contemporary spirit into Austen's first comedy of manners. Set at the time of the Edinburgh Festival when the city is full of visitors and bustle, she transforms Austen's Catherine Morland into the more modern Cat, a shy girl with an over active imagination. McDermid updates the gothic elements of Austen's original with the current on-trend fascination for vampires. And while Austen's Catherine had to wait for letters to keep pace with the goings-on of the Tinleys and Thorpes, everything here is speeded up with fast cars instead of carriages and text messages instead of hand delivered notes. It works.