Catherine or Cat is a young girl who has had an isolated upbringing, few friends and home schooled, she knows little of what awaits her outside her home. She gets her opportunity to find out when a wealthy neighbour takes her to the Edinburgh Festival. Getting her first taste of freedom she laps up the atmosphere, the events and the people.
She meets two sets of friends, one simply wants to use her to get what they want and the other could change her life forever. Who can she trust, who can she turn to and should she except the invitation to the mysterious Northanger Abbey?
We follow Cat through her journey of discovery, finding out how little things can affect how you perceive life. It is of course a modern retelling of the Jane Austen and is done well. It is hard in this day and age to make a young woman seem so naive and she does her best. The home schooling means she knows little of the nuances that the people around her use to manipulate her, but she isn’t cut off completely Val McDermid has ensured that the character has facebook and twitter, though cleverly cuts off that avenue as there is no wi-fi at Northanger Abbey. Although keeping it modern her language is old which I think works well. The only thing that didn’t fit for me was the change in why the general throws her out of the house in the early hours of the morning.
It was as if she felt she couldn’t use the excuse of lack of money or status, which is still relevant in some people’s eyes and went for something completely different. Overall this is well written, the plot may already be established but the flow and fresh look at the characters worked really well.