Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia
  • Location: Edinburgh

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: “It was a source of constant disappointment to Catherine Morland that her life did not more closely resemble her books”

  • ISBN: 978-0007504299
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Cat Morland is being home-schooled in Dorset  and she is bored. She reads a great deal of books to stave off her boredom and particularly loves the supernatural elements of her collection. Like any reader, she dreams of experiencing her books in the real world, but what if this were about to become true?

Invited to the Edinburgh Festival she meets a strange young man, Henry Tilney; a like-minded friend, Isabella Thorpe; and her odious brother, who threatens to ruin Cat’s chances of adventure. Soon she gets to stay with them at their imposing gothic castle, Northanger Abbey.

A gothic castle with creaks and crevices to explore – but what if they are not the only ones staying there? are fact and fiction about to mix?

Travel Guide

The setting is the Gothic landscape of Edinburgh and the surrounding area.  And instead of the Bath pump rooms of the early 19th century, we are transported to the crowded rooms of the Dome or the Assembly rooms and the crowds of the Edinburgh book festival.

Instead of reading gothic romance, for example, Catherine Morland reads Twilight;

Instead of letters brought in by maids, they post on Facebook


Moving the story to Edinburgh works well. The Gothic backdrop is perfect for a new retelling of the story and obviously fits well with Cat Morland’s vampire fantasies.

The family home in the west end will make people familiar with the city smile.

“This year he’d rented a three bedroomed flat towards the West End of Queen Street which came with that contemporary Edinburgh equivalent of the Holy Grail – a parking permit. ”

You can tell McDermid was having fun with this as she wrote it – lots of literary mentions and the Fringe and the festival are right up there as the stars of the show –

“Annie displayed not a sign of concern about what dangers might lurk on the streets of Edinburgh, in spite of having read the crime novels of both Ian Rankin and Kate Atkinson.”

Booktrailer Review

Susan @thebooktrailer

McDermid has remained faithful to the original plot and has managed to inject her own brand of humour  and to modernise it at the same time. It is more than changing the setting and the references however – she has not only revived the story for a modern setting, but she has actually gone one step further and smoothed over some of the cracks in the original  – this was after all one of Austen’s lesser known works and hopefully now more people will be encouraged to read it having had a McDermid invitation.

In the words of one of the characters-


Don’t be disappointed if your trip to Edinburgh doesn’t play out like a Harry Potter story’

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter: @valmcdermid


Web: valmcdermid.com

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