Book Review: Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte



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Release Date: December 2002
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company.
Pages: 464.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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A wonderful classic novel that I wish I had read sooner!

Wuthering Heights is set in the 19th century in the Yorkshire moors, and follows several generations of the families who live there. It follows the romantic and destructive relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff, the young orphan Catherine’s father adopts. Heathcliff is badly treated by Catherine’s older brother, and departs the Heights, feeling his love for Catherine is not returned. Heathcliff returns many years later and proceeds to extract revenge on all who wronged him in his childhood.

Wuthering Heights is a novel I’ve always wanted to read, I’ve had a copy of the book for a long time and it has lived on my bookshelves for years, but I’ve never gotten around to reading it. I so wish I’d read it earlier, it’s a fantastic, haunting book and really is a great example of classic English literature.

Jane Eyre has been one of my favourite novels since I was a little girl, so I just loved examining the similarities between it and Wuthering Heights, and there are quite a few. Both novels look at things not often talked about in Victorian literature, and the nature of the violent relationships highlighted in Wuthering Heights, was I’m sure quite shocking at the time.

Something that really interested me about the novel is the structure, it’s written in a sort of Russian doll style, with a narrative within a narrative, and I love that you sometimes see the same thing from different viewpoints, because it calls into question the reliability of the narrator, and I do love an unreliable narrator. It’s such a wonderful book, the story is so powerful and it has all the tropes of Gothic and Victorian fiction, it’s a fabulous fabulous book.

Whilst this is my first time reading it, I actually picked it up as a result of a feminism module I’m taking at University, I found it so fascinating to analysis the novel under the concept of feminism, the depicts of domestic violence and the role Isabella Linton plays in the novel – a character which I believe is very overlooked, made it a really fascinating topic. I think one of the interesting things about a novel like Wuthering Heights is that it’s hard to approach it without any preconceived notions of the story. Most people will have seen at least one of the many film and TV adaptations, or perhaps read a retelling of the story or even just have a vague idea of the romantic story of Heathcliff and Catherine. But Wuthering Heights is much more than just a passionate love story, it is brutal, harrowing and destructive and features more revenge, anger and supernatural elements than anything else. This edition also has loads of background information, essays and reviews from the time so if you’re interested in looking at the novel in more detail, this is definitely a great edition for that!

Wuthering Heights has influenced so many popular novels today it is a must read for practically everyone, but if you’re a fan of Gothic fiction, Jane Eyre, or the old unreliable narrator, I urge you to grab this one off the shelf next!

Looking for something similar? Try: Jane Eyre or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 

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