Book Reviews / Books / The Big Read

Review: Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

11.10.13
Wuthering Heights
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Earlier in the year I attended a writing evening at the Southbank – hosted by the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Grazia Magazine – with my lovely friend Helen. Following the event I was lucky enough to meet one of my very favourite authors – Kate Mosse – whose books include Labyrinth and Sepulchre – and it was on her recommendation that I began Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte one blustery afternoon.

Rated number 12 in the BBC’s Big Read, Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 and was Emily Bronte’s first and only published novel. One of the nineteenth century’s best-loved books, Wuthering Heights is set in a farmhouse on the windswept Yorkshire moors and tells the haunting tale of the intense and destructive love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s wealthy father. The prose is replete with powerful imagery that perfectly complements the often unsettling nature of the plot.

As the story unfolds, the Yorkshire moors offer the perfect backdrop to a tale of love, rage, passion and revenge. Heathcliff, in particular is a dark and brooding character and the novel follows the anti-hero from his first appearance at Wuthering Heights to his untimely demise.

Wild, passionate and intense, Wuthering Heights is a compelling tale of a demonic romance that truly deserves its place in the nation’s best loved books.

About Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the 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. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

About Emily Bronte

Emily Jane Brontë was a British novelist and poet, now best remembered for her only novel Wuthering Heights, a classic of English literature. Emily was the second eldest of the three surviving Brontë sisters, being younger than Charlotte Brontë and older than Anne Brontë. She published under the masculine pen name Ellis Bell.

Emily was born in Thornton, near Bradford in Yorkshire to Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1824, the family moved to Haworth, where Emily’s father was perpetual curate, and it was in these surroundings that their literary oddities flourished. In childhood, after the death of their mother, the three sisters and their brother Patrick Branwell Brontë created imaginary lands (Angria, Gondal, Gaaldine, Oceania), which were featured in stories they wrote. Little of Emily’s work from this period survived, except for poems spoken by characters (The Brontës’ Web of Childhood, Fannie Ratchford, 1941).

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