"So-so" books: Over Easy
And one book I outright hated: Shotgun Lovesongs.

"So-so" books: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey
by Val Mcdermid

I am, of course, a woman with a Jane Austen problem.

And that problem, the one wherein I love Austen beyond all reason, means that I will read pretty much anything with a Jane Austen connection. Modern retellings, like Val McDermid's Northanger Abbey? Yeah, you know I had to read that. So I got it, and here's how it starts:

"Cat, as she preferred to be known--on the basis that nobody should emerge from their teens with the name their parents had chosen--had been disappointed by her life for as long as she could remember. Her family were, in her eyes, deeply average and desperately dull. Her father ministered to five Church of England parishes with good-natured charm and a gift for sermons that were not quite entertaining but not quite boring either. Her mother had given up primary school teaching for the unpaid job of vicar's wife, which she accomplished with few complaints and enough imagination to leaven its potential for dreariness. If she'd had an annual performance review, it would have read, 'Annie Morland is a cheerful and hardworking team member who treats problems as challenges...'" (p. 1-2.)

McDermid actually did a good job keeping to Austen's style, but, as in most Austen interpretations, she just doesn't approach the original's sense of humor. Because it's a modern retelling, of course, it comes complete with references to cell phones, texting, and the popularity of vampire books (in Austen's time she picked on the popular gothic novels of the time), and McDermid handled all of that quite well too.

I did read the whole thing, but I can't say it really set me on fire. So-so.