In my sorry attempt at reading more classics this year, I wanted to read at least one book from each of the Bronte sisters. Not exactly sure why, it just seemed like a good place to start.
Last year I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and at the beginning of this year I bought Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Since I’m a bit…hesitant…towards classics, I buy the Wordsworth editions rather than some of the prettier covers, because they’re literally £1.99 on Amazon. I love it! Plus, they’re hardly ugly covers, and they look so sleek when you have a few together. I’ll leave a link to them at the end – I really recommend the Wordsworth editions if you want cheap classics!
So finally, I actually read one.
And here we are today. Let’s see how I – a person who very rarely reads classics – fared with this one, shall we?
Let’s talk about Wuthering Heights!
(Excuse my awfully messy hair in this, it was a very long photography session that day 😆 )
Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Bronte
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Limited
Genre: Classic, Romance, Gothic
Series Status: Standalone
Number of Pages: 245 (+ 3 pages of notes)
(Found on back cover, see another version on Goodreads)
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and, wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.
Well didn’t THIS take me by surprise!
I did not expect to enjoy this quite as much as I did. Wow.
Right. So the main thing that puts me off reading classics is the amount of effort it takes me to read them compared to my usual books because of the difference in language. Yes, I know it is more educational for me to read more complex books occasionally. But when I read for enjoyment, sometimes I just don’t want that extra struggle.
And by sometimes I mean most of the time. But this book was nowhere near as difficult to understand as I thought it would be! Of course, it did take me longer to read because it was still different, but I’ve read classics that are much denser and feel like mud to get through. This didn’t. At all. Especially with the note pages at the back of the book to help you through some of the language meanings.
Honestly, I think the only time I’d struggle was when one character in particular would talk – Joseph. Dear lord, did that man have a thick accent! Half the time I had no idea what he’d be rambling on about, but like I said, the note pages are there (in this edition, at least) to help you through. I swear, most of the notes are just devoted to translating his accent and phrases!
Enough about accents though.
This book grabbed my attention from the start. It’s told in a very interesting way – and this is where I try my best to describe it to you guys while probably confusing everyone. I apologise in advance. So, you read the book from Mr Lockwood’s point of view, as he’s hearing the story of Catherine and Heathcliff through the housekeeper, Mrs Dean. If that makes sense. So you start at “present day” (though obviously not OUR present day), then go back a few years to the beginning of the story, and gradually make your way back to “present day”. If that confused you, I’m sorry for my awful explaining skills – but I promise it all makes perfect sense when you read it! What I’m basically trying to say though is that it doesn’t just feel like a random story, but you’re discovering it for a reason.
Also, the perspective you’re reading from isn’t the main character – or even a side character – but more of a…bystander? I don’t think I’ve read a book from that point of view before!
As for the actual story, although it’s by no means as action based and thrilling as most of the books I read, it was highly entertaining for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the Victorian drama! And yes, I say Victorian drama specifically, because everything was so much more dramatic during those times. If you look at someone without smiling, you’re basically the devil’s spawn and have no soul. I mean, look at this. One character was looking after another while they were ill, and here’s how it was described…
“His health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity.”
I know it’s probably wrong, but I can’t help but be amused by phrases like that! The book is so dramatic, and yet if the events happened nowadays, it’d hardly be anything. And yet everything seems like a shocking downright disgrace to humanity, purely because that’s how the book is written. And it was sort of nice to see how everything – every word, every action, every meal or object or journey – meant so much more back then. It made me feel like I was living in the Victorian times, and with how much I adore history, that’s a massive bonus to me.
At first I was VERY confused about how all the characters were related. So, so confused. But about halfway through it all became clear in an instant. That moment, oh how it felt like a ray of light burst through the clouds fogging my mind. I couldn’t make sense of it before, but just went with it and continued enjoying the story regardless, and then suddenly another person comes into play and CLICK everything suddenly makes sense.
I actually said aloud “OHHHH NOW I GET IT”
So other than the original confusion with the relations of the characters and the struggles of understanding Joseph’s accent, I had no other problems with this book. I loved the drama, I loved the gothic feeling surrounding the (very highly detailed) settings, and I loved seeing the difference between the society then and now.
I feel like this book is a great place to start if you want to get into classics. I mean, that’s what I’m trying to do, and it’s certainly worked for me! I honestly think this is my favourite classic so far (along with Pride and Prejudice).
Rated 4.5/5 stars!
PS. The Wordsworth editions are only £1.99 so if you want cheap classics, I’d highly recommend!
[Available in Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle and Audio edition – and other covers]
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Who was your favourite character?
If you haven’t read this book, are you planning to?
Are there any classics you’d recommend, based on my review of this one? I’d love to know which others to read!
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…