Val McDermid does fluffy in Northanger Abbey

There are those that cower at the thought of reading a classic novel. There are those who delight in the prospect. With all the adaptations of Jane Austen’s canon (including the dire Curtis Sittenfeld’s take on Pride and Prejudice which I sort of reviewed here), I’ve never understood who the publishers have in mind as the target reader. Is it the reader who can’t bear the stuffy prose and regency rituals of the originals, but is keen to see what all the fuss is about? Or is it the die-hard Austen fan who will read anything vaguely associated with that name? Having just finished read Val McDermid’s twist on Northanger Abbey, I’m still confused.

Are you Team Edward or Team Darcy?

Melbourne writer, Heidi Catherine joins me on Words and Leaves and we agree to disagree about the best kind of books.


Not long ago I met Weezelle through a group of book lovers who gather once a month to discuss all things books, and many things that have nothing to do with books.

Despite having a long list of things in common, we’ve quickly come to recognise that our taste in books isn’t one of them. Fortunately, we enjoy a friendly debate.

We recently caught up in a Melbourne café. As I sat with my latte and Weezelle clutched her English Breakfast tea (our taste in hot beverages is not synchronised either), we realised there was a speed dating session in progress at the next table.

Double take! Mr Darcy, wealthy gentleman and owner of the Pemberley estate and Edward Cullen, the world’s most sought-after vampire, were sitting but metres away – both with vacant seats before them. (N.B. Some license may have been taken for artistic purposes).

As you can imagine, we promptly forgot our drinks, and our husbands, and sashayed over to the speed dating session. Fortunately there were no arguments about which literary heart-throb we chose to sit with.  Here’s a recap of how our dates panned out.