I’ve had a lot of fun with this little mash-up of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. In fact, until last week, when I did a search on Amazon, I thought I was the only author who’d ever thought of such a clever title. Whoops! There’s another book with the same title, and it’s also based on Northanger Abbey although it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Hitchcock. I’m always learning lessons as an author. Fortunately, titles cannot be copyrighted because I think this one fits perfectly.
Here is an excerpt:
The place where we’d agreed to meet was better than I expected. It was an old-style diner with shiny chrome accents. A long counter ran beside the kitchen, and a row of booths sat beneath the large windows. The floorplan was straight out of the fifties. Wade must have really wanted me to like this roommate of his.
Since I was twenty minutes early, I sat down at the counter and ordered myself a red cream soda while I got out my phone to text Wade. I was enjoying my first sip of soda, when in walked the perfect leading man—if this had been a movie. He was tall with wide shoulders, and his dark hair swept across his forehead with the slightest wave. He wore a light blue button-up shirt untucked over jeans.
Though every single stool at the bar was available, he sat two seats down from me—with just one seat between us. Now that I think about it, that should have been a warning. Handsome men didn’t ever choose to sit near me. I never quite understood why that was—perhaps the Morland family’s conservative reputation or a distrust of girls who wore vintage clothing.
Without bothering to think, I closed the gap between us by sliding myself, my phone, and my drink toward him.
He smiled and looked like he was about to say something, but the server approached. “Hi Grant,” she said. “What can I get you?”
The name Grant suited him—a little Cary, a little Hugh. He seemed like the type who could fit in at the governor’s mansion as well as a monster truck rally.
He ordered an orange juice—nothing more. After the server left, he studied me a moment, taking in my dress, my gloves, my pale pink lipstick. “Let me guess. Pretty blond hair, white gloves, a fifties-style dress. You’re channeling Princess Grace of Monaco.”
“Close,” I said. “I’m channeling Grace Kelly. You know, the actress.”
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