Book Review: WUTHERING HEIGHTS

wuthering heights coverAuthor: Emily Bronte

Number of Pages: 384

Publisher: Penguin Books

Release Date: 1847

“Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.”

– Goodreads.com

Let me just start by getting this out of the way: THIS NOVEL IS NOT A ROMANTIC LOVE STORY. I’ve read so any reviews and heard so many people gushing about the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff that I honestly thought this book would be adorable. Wuthering Heights is anything but adorable.

This novel is dark, unsettling, dramatic, tumultuous- it reminded me of a storm, wild and intense. The drama of it all was very entertaining, and I felt like I was reading a strange, ridiculous soap opera. Nearly all of the relationships in this story- and certainly the one between Catherine and Heathcliff- are toxic because they don’t like each other for the right reasons. Or, rather, they seem to hardly like each other at all. Why would you want to be with someone that you hate more than half the time? I found myself wondering this throughout the entire novel because it really just didn’t make sense to me. The only character I actually liked in this novel was Nelly, who narrated the majority of the story. She was sort of just a bystander in the whole fiasco so I suppose she can be blamed for not stopping a lot of what happened, but she was pretty much the only one with any sort of common sense. The other characters are ones that you just love to hate, you know? You can’t stand them, but at the same time they’re so entertaining that you don’t really mind reading about them. (Umbridge comes to mind here. If you haven’t known the joy of disliking Umbridge, then you really haven’t lived at all.)

umbridge
Dolores Umbridge… AKA, a horrible pink monster.

I really liked the ghost elements incorporated into the story, although I do wish that they would have been focused on more. Also, I thought it was very clever how the setting (Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange) and the changing weather played such an important role. Moreover, the way that Emily Bronte experimented with multiple generations of the same family was really interesting. It was neat to see how young Catherine was so much like her mother with her short temper and self-righteous attitude. One thing that disappointed me was the ending- I thought it was rather anticlimactic, especially since there’s such a build-up to it. It happens so suddenly and nonchalantly that I almost couldn’t believe it was the actual ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience reading my first Bronte novel. Although Wuthering Heights was quite different from what I initially thought it would be like, I nevertheless thought it was entertaining and extremely well written. One thing is for certain, though: I certainly won’t be shipping Catherine and Heathcliff anytime soon!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! This is a great classic to read even if you’re just getting into the genre. It’s entertaining, really well written, and is a relatively quick read.

What did you think of this book? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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26 thoughts on “Book Review: WUTHERING HEIGHTS

  1. I loved this book! It’s definitely not a love story though and it shouldn’t really be marketed as one. I totally agree with you about Catherine and Heathcliff. They are toxic together, but I think that that may be the point. Obsessive and toxic love that basically changed Heathcliff’s life, pretty much for the worse.
    I really, really want to read Jane Eyre but I’ve heard that Emily was the most liberal of the Bronte sisters. So even though everyone goes on and on about Jane Eyre, I’m a little worried that it will pale in comparison to Wuthering Heights.

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    1. I’ve read both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and think Jane Eyre is much quieter than Wuthering Heights… but still quite liberal for it’s time. Where WH erupts, JE quietly seethes.

      Emily was the more outrageous sister. All of the Bronte’s books are quite liberal though, particularly Anne’s. Charlotte was so scandalised by “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” that she blocked further publication after Anne’s death (though she was arguably also really jealous that Anne was the most successful of the sisters) Anne deals with animal cruelty, alcoholism, domestic abuse, politics, misogyny… pretty liberal for her time.

      Jane Eyre is quietly rebellious… there’s loads of passion and quite a bit of feminism there, with implied sexuality. It’s definitely worth the read =) There’s some amazing lines where Jane just sticks it to the man, I loved her for that. Arguably, Rochester and Jane’s relationship is as messed up as Heathcliff and Cathy’s, for multiple reasons. The Brontes seemed to have dreadful taste in men 😉

      I agree that WH shouldn’t be marketed as a love story! I gave up on it three times before someone told me to read it with the knowledge that the “romance” is insane and everybody is horrible. Once I read it with that in mind, I loved it!

      Sorry to hijack your comment =) I just love talking about the Brontes haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hijack away, I love talking about books! I am totally sold on JE now! I loved how you put that “Where WH erupts, JE quietly seethes.” That was beautiful.
        I’m all for feminist novels and now I do believe I’ll have to give The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall a go. Never heard of it, but if Anne is even more out there than Emily then bring it on!

        Charlotte just had way too many issues with her sisters’ talent. She burnt Emily’s second manuscript so we never got to know what it was!

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      2. Thanks! =) Yay! It’s a great book and still feels so modern, the writing style hasn’t dated at all. Awww thank you!

        I haven’t read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall yet, I’m saving it for winter this year (trying to savour them all!) but I’ve read “Agnes Grey” and was shocked by the things Anne dealt with in that book. You can definitely see how she scandalised Victorian society! Even I was like “whoa, whoa… wtf just happened” a couple of times.
        There is quite a bit of moralising in the books though, which can get a bit frustrating, depending on which side of the religious fence you sit on.

        https://bookarahma.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/review-agnes-grey-by-anne-bronte/ <– my review of Agnes Grey if you'd like to see it =) shameless self promotion much!

        I wish Anne got more recognition, she's so great. If Charlotte hadn't stopped the publication of Tenant, I think we'd be talking about Anne just as much as the other two.

        Charlotte's attitude kills me, I love JE but I feel so conflicted about Charlotte. You can't go about burning your sister's manuscripts! She said such nasty things about Anne and they've unfortunately stuck, which really sucks.

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      3. Emily was a genius. Although, I did have to stop and start reading WH a few times because the writing style got too much for me at points. But I blame my tendency to read modern novels!

        I love imagining how much the Bronte sisters scandalised their society. Same with Bram Stoker really. I like imagining all those well-dressed, proper women hiding these books in their boudoirs and snuggling down late at night to read them. And if Agnes Grey can still shock a modern audience then that is one scandalous book indeed!
        Moralising gets annoying whether it’s in print or in person, but I suppose it gives us a glimpse into society at the time 🙂

        I will definitely check out your review of Agnes Grey! I love reviews of classics.

        Charlotte was such a bitch. I mean, why couldn’t she let her sisters have some success too? Such jealousy! And Charlotte’s rumour spreading must be why I don’t know much about Anne and that annoys me!

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      4. Emily was a genius, but WH is such a hard going book in some sections! I wouldn’t ever recommend it as a first classic like I do for Jane Eyre.

        Same here! I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching people read Dracula for the first time!
        Yeah I agree… I just kept reminding myself that she was the daughter of a minister, so it was probably pretty normal for her! Plus the Victorians were big on moralising in heaps of their books.

        Thanks!!

        She was a jealous bitch about everything! She was even jealous of being compared to Jane Austen and bitched about her! Yeah, she’s definitely the reason Anne isn’t as well known anymore =(

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      5. The first classic I ever read was Pride and Prejudice. I wouldn’t recommend it as a first classic either! But I think JE will be the next classic I read.

        I struggled with Dracula a bit just because I’m so used to vampires but seeing Victorian people finding out about vampires for the first time would have been great.
        Man, the Victorians did like their moralising. Case and point: Frankenstein!

        Everyone during that period would’ve been compared to Jane Austen, surely. Charlotte is just sounding like one of those bitches who needs to be the only one good at anything. Talk about bitter!

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      6. I think P&P was the first adult classic too, I felt the same way! I loved it in the end but I had to watch the BBC mini series to help me get what was going on.

        I read Dracula in year 11, I hated the teacher and it was mandatory so that coloured my perception of the book =( but they would have freaked when it was first released! OHHH Frankenstein! Moralising utopia!

        Every female author, for sure! George Eliot would have been too, if people had realised she was a woman. She does! Like damn it Charlotte, you can’t be #1 all the time!
        This is what Charlotte said about Jane Austen:
        http://flavorwire.com/408384/jane-austens-most-famous-trolls-critics-and-doubters

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      7. I think I should watch the TV series. That’s the one with Colin Firth, right? I loved the story the first time I read it, but when I ha to read it again for uni, I was not impressed. I dunno, I felt like Elizabeth didn’t actually love Mr Darcy so much as she loved Pemberley. So I don’t see it so much as a love story. More like a woman trying to marry above her station in order to have a comfortable life. I dunno, I just don’t buy the romance.

        I was forced to read Frankenstein as well, but I really just hated the story. Dr. Frankenstein was such a whiner! Like, he made a mistake but instead of fixing it, Frankenstein decides he’d rather bitch and whine and contemplate suicide. So lame as a protagonist.

        I’d boycott Jane Eyre in protest of Charlotte’s narcissism, but I’m too curious about the story! I think maybe the difficulty of being taken seriously as a female writer back then made Charlotte snap but she should have built up her sisters, not tear them down!

        Will look up Charlotte being mean about Austen now!

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      8. Yep, the Colin Firth one! It’s so good!!
        I definitely see that side of the book too… It’s a bit of a weird dynamic. I also kind of feel like she just liked making Lady Catherine angry, but then again, who wouldn’t?

        I had to read it for uni and was like BLAH. i don’t think I actually finished it completely :/ I went and watched the National Theatre Live shows with Benedict Cumberbatch in it, they were amazing and way more interesting than the book. Dr Frankenstein is such a jerk!

        Yeah same! It’s worth it though =) Exactly! They were all fighting against the same thing, why not band together and be awesome to spite the world!?

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      9. There is that. Lizzie Bennet was a bit wild for the times, but I still feel like P&P shouldn’t be marketed as a romance. But maybe I’m just spoiled by romances such as Will Herondale and Tessa Grey 🙂

        OMG YOU WATCHED THE STAGE SHOW OF FRANKENSTEIN? SO MUCH JEALOUSY!! WAS IT AMAZING? I so wanted to see that! Damn living in Australia!!!!!
        Dr. Frankenstein was a jerk. I tried really hard to make a friend of mine in that high school english class see it, but he refused. Damn he was stubborn!

        Man, could you even imagine what would have happened if all of the female writers of that era banded together? I mean, it could have been extraordinary!

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      10. I love how wild she was though! I haven’t read any Cassandra Clare books, so maybe that helped =P

        I live in Sydney! I went and watched it at the Dendy cinemas at the Opera House! IT WAS AMAZING EVEN IN A CINEMA! I went and watched BOTH variations and loved them!!
        I do agree though, being in Australia freaking sucks when it comes to seeing all the awesome stuff!!
        I don’t get how it’s not totally obvious! He left that poor monster, who just wanted to be loved! Then when he saw him, he called him horrible things, and was a jerk to everyone around him all the time!

        IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GLORIOUS ANARCHY =P

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      11. Ohhh you’re missing out! Give Cassie a chance!!! She’s amazing.

        Omg!! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LIVE IN CANBERRA FOR A YEAR! YOU MISS THINGS! DAMNIT!!! I am such a Cumberbitch, it’s actually a little embarrasing. Maybe I’ll see play eventually. DVD maybe?

        Man, I just hate Dr Frankenstein. He annoyed me. Especially BECAUSE the monster just wanted to be loved. Stupid man.

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      12. I think I have City of Bones on my Kindle and a trip to Melbourne on the train on Sunday… I’ll see if I finish These Broken Stars and maybe I’ll start on that =)

        OH NO NOT CANBERRA! Are you at ANU? They don’t make dvd’s of any of their shows =( I torrented Coriolanus… hate doing it but if they don’t make it available properly then it’s not my problem, I did pay to see it in the cinema too.

        I felt so bad for the poor monster =( He did bad things, but if he’d been treated properly he wouldn’t have done it at all.

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      13. Yes! Do that!!! Even though I do believe The Infernal Devices is the better series, City of Bones is where it all started!

        I was at UC but I’m done now and heading to Brisbane. Hopefully more cultural stuff coming my way! I’ve missed all that stuff. I could’ve seen Coriolanus at Dendy in Canberra but I had to work for its entire run!

        And I agree COMPLETELY about the monster. If he’d known love, he would’ve known how to give love properly!

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      14. That’s the Clockwork ones, right? I’ve been kinda wanting to pick those up, I don’t have to have read the other series first?

        Ooh, that’ll be a change in climate. I was meant to be down in Canberra this summer but plans changed. I’ve been thinking of applying to ANU for my PhD, but I don’t know anyone who can tell me how it is there!

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      15. It sure is. And no you don’t. In actual fact “The Infernal Devices” are a prequel series. The only reason people read The Mortal Instruments first is because that series came out first. Each series kind of stands alone but there are bits and pieces in each series that have a deeper meaning if you’ve read both 🙂

        Canberra in summer can be brutal, but it’s a dry heat. A lot different from summers i’m used to up north! And as for winter…well, I have never been so cold! Accidentally left my window open one night. I nearly froze, I swear. But autumn is beautiful. You don’t get changing leaves in Brisbane!

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  2. I actually own a copy of this book, but every time I go to read it, I end up putting it down for something else… Maybe just not my thing 🙂

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    1. That happened to me the first time I tried to read it! It was a few months ago and I got about 20 pages in and then had to put it down. Giving it a second chance was definitely worth it though! But you’re right, it might just not be your thing. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  3. I’m so glad you read and enjoyed this Holly! You took my review on board, yayyyyy! They’re so freaking twisted, it’s the worst classic “love story” ever. If I met a man like Heathcliff, I’d be running for the hills 😉
    I agree about the ending. I read it as an audiobook and thought I must have somehow bumped my phone and skipped a chapter, but nope. We don’t even get to see Heathcliff die properly or anything!
    You know what, you know how people (like me) hate Umbridge more than Voldemort? I felt that way about Young Heathcliff. I can vaguely understand Heathcliff being so insane, but YH has no excuse… he’s just vile for the hell of it. That’s why I didn’t like Cathy either!

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    1. haha that’s a really good point about Young Heathcliff! And I think the younger generation in this novel in general. They’re all so terrible but they don’t really have any reason at all to be. It’s so frustrating!! Then again, I guess it does reflect the fact that there are people like that in real life! haha 🙂

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      1. Young Cathy is silly and spoilt but she doesn’t really make me angry until she’s mean to Hareton. He was so nice to her at first, she had no reason to call him names =( But Young Heathcliff… ugh. He’s disgusting.
        That’s so true! Though hopefully they’re a minor percentage… or they’re in gaol =P

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  4. Ah, Wuthering Heights. I need to read this one ASAP. I read a bit and fell. in. love. It’s such a mysterious story and helps shoo away the prejudices I have with classics being haughty and detached from our everyday experiences. 🙂

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