Updated: Apr 6
Let's talk about this: romantic tragedy (emphasis on tragedy), familial troubles, cousin loving cousin, Catherine & Heathcliff, do I go on?
Hi my loves! Let's get straight into my thoughts about this novel & why I have a love hate relationship with it. Hope you enjoy this Wuthering Heights book review.
"Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart- you have broken it- and in breaking it, you have broken mine," (pg 163)- Heathcliff speaking to Catherine
Summary without spoilers
This novel shows the life of two families who live around 5 miles apart from each other. The Earnshaws live at Wuthering Heights while the Lintons live at Thrushcross Grange. It's written in the 1840s by Emily Bronte, who lived alone with her family, so it's hard to fathom how she came up with these complex characters. If you read about her history, she barely ventured from her home, yet the novel has crazy, complex characters. Throughout reading, I needed a family diagram because it follows these two families who mesh together and marry each other and it gets quite confusing (so deff recommend pulling one up at the beginning).
It starts with Mr. Lockwood, who wants to rent Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff, who is the master of the property and of Wuthering Heights. Mr. Lockwood gets a detailed history (which becomes the majority of the novel) of the two families and all the marriages, deaths, revenge, etc. from Nelly Dean (house servant). Her narration is hard to trust at times because she gets very emotional and definitely puts a biased twist on things.
Mr. & Mrs. Earnshaw live at Wuthering Heights with their birth children, Catherine and Hindley. Mr. Earnshaw comes home one day with a small boy Heathcliff who they basically adopt and you already know that Hindley (the son) was pissed off and jealous. The novel reflects around the love story of Heathcliff and Catherine, but personally to me, it's barely about love. It's so tragic and every character in here does something repulsive and mean that makes me judge their character and morals. But again, this makes the novel 10x more attractive. As soon as you think a character isn't so terrible, BOOM, something happens and they turn into an asshole and then you hate them.
The novel continues and the main theme I see is REVENGE. Hindley takes revenge on Heathcliff, Heathcliff wants revenge on Catherine, then all their kids get pulled into their drama and it shows how history repeats itself. There is always someone who is the lower class and treated like shit because of events out of their control. There's always a girl who causes issues between two boys and a constant fight over property and land.
Let's talk about sex
It's funny because with this being a romantic novel there is no sex mentioned. I don't know if it's on my mind because I just got done rewatching Fifty Shades of Grey, but this novel has more violence than sex. Clearly kids pop up, but the most we see is a kiss on the cheek.
I like that it's not just about sex though, because a lot of romantic novels focus on that (not that it's bad). Although, it is a gothic novel which would explain the violence and revenge side of it. It's cute to see the romance blossoming with something as simple as two characters reading together or being trapped in the same house.
Not to mention that since this was based in the 1800s, the families marry their cousins. I crack up when I get into one of the love stories and realize it's actually between two first cousins.
Do I recommend?
Yes! 100% yes. It might seem like I was bashing on it, but the drama keeps it pretty interesting. The language can be hard to understand so keep Google nearby. I think it's the paragraphs of emotion that really draw me in. When a character gets hurt or loves, their emotions drown the page. Emily Bronte truly has a way of explaining the unexplainable feelings we encounter when completely madly in love or blind in rage.
Each character is well developed and you grow up with them. You get the right to judge them and be pissed at them because they feel like family. I've had to set the book down multiple times to get a breather from my anger or anxiety because I get scared of what'll happen next.
THIS I CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH: the raw view of life we get. The novel doesn't hide feelings nor does it hide the sad truths of life. It's raw, relatable, and pure injustice at its finest.
DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS!
For the people who read this novel, can we just talk about the ending? This whole novel I switch between being pissed off at Catherine marrying Edgar and I feel bad for Heathcliff. Then I get pissed at Heathcliff for being such an ass to all the kids and especially mini Cathy who is probably the one character with the most decent morals. The ending does give a kind of peace since Cathy marries Hareton and it's the only true love that follows through without death or forced marriage. I feel that it was all a bit rushed though. Hareton and Cathy's relationship starts mainly towards the end and boom, they get married. Let me know what you thought of the ending!
Thanks for reading everyone! I'll link my Insta page which has short reviews and cute quotes.