Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Book Review

Title: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Brontë

Genre: Classic Fiction, Gothic, Romantic Drama, Tempestuous Relationships

Blurb from Goodreads

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated 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 relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class.

As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

My Review

“I was only going to say that Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.”

I’m here staring blankly into space trying to make sense of what I have just read!!!

Wuthering Heights…

A time-honoured classic of English literature,

A love story for the ages…

And I’m here sitting like “huh??? What just happened???” This book was bananas!!!!!!! BANANAS!!!!!!!!!!!

“It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn. There were no mutual concessions: one stood erect, and the others yielded: and who can be ill-natured and bad tempered when they encounter neither opposition nor indifference”

I don’t think I’ve ever hated and loved something so equally… and boy did I hate this at times… but then I was also UTTERLY captivated!!!!!!!!

I was so drawn into the manic world of Heathcliff and Catherine and the moors…

The desolation of the moors, the desolation of these characters…

And oh these characters…

They were the MOST HATEFUL group of characters ever!!! Emily Brontë sure knew how to write ‘flawed’!!! The things they did to each other IN THE NAME OF LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Well if that is mad passionate crazy love then I want no part of it!!

So basically Wuthering Heights…

…it’s a soap opera!!!!!

Yup one big giant gothic soap opera of misery and drama!!!!!!! And it’s not just one love story like I had always thought… it’s four… not that any of the four stories seemed like healthy relationships to me but to each their own I guess!!! I mean especially the fourth love story… that’s supposed to be the one full of mutual understanding and tenderness but… by that stage of the book… well…. perhaps I need to forgive and forget more easily!!!!

It is hard to write a review of this without spoiling the plot… and I don’t want to ruin it on anyone so if this review seems like one long rather random rambling stream of utter nonsense from me then I do apologise!!

The central themes of Wuthering Heights are love and revenge… and what cosy bedfellows they make!!!!

Catherine and Heathcliff are brought up together, they are both as wild as each other and are passionate about each other… but something happens to cause Catherine to view Heathcliff in a less than favourable light with regards to marriage and she belittles his station in life.

And thus begins the corruption of Heathcliff… and my god does he become the MOST VENGEFUL character that you could deign to meet.

And because his happiness has been irrevocably destroyed he is bent on destroying everyone around him…

and I mean DESTROY

Thusly he plots demises that span the generations. Yeah Heathcliff… not someone who forgives and forgets easily!!! It was actually quite hard reading about someone so horrid… okay he absolutely had his reasons and you can argue how he was driven to it, motive etc…

But it was incessant revenge,

Incessant hatred,

Incessant vitriol

And I as a reader found it quite exhausting at times. I suppose that probably illustrates the tension in this novel…

Everything is SO intense… EVERYTHING!!! Gosh I’m tired just thinking about it… I required FREQUENT naps when reading it as it was so emotionally taxing.

So did I like it????????

I honestly don’t know!!!!! I am utterly confused!!!!!! There were times I wanted to fling this book down and there were times when I could not get enough….

“Your cold blood cannot be worked into a fever: your veins are full of ice water; but mine are boiling, and the sight of such chillness makes them dance.”

The language of the book… oh I could get lost in it.

It really did feel like a whole other world. The descriptions of the wild moors, the weather… it really mirrored the wildness of Cathy and Heathcliff. How they could never be constrained by things such as civility or decorum.

The narration…

Oof I’m sorry to say I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t enjoy having the story of Heathcliff and Cathy related to me. I guess I just wanted to be in their heads more! I suppose this was where I needed some sort of empathy with the characters but who am I to judge Emily Brontë’s writing style. It is considered a classic… but oh if only I could have seen inside Heathcliff’s head for but a moment… What ifs… *sigh*

The romance between Heathcliff and Catherine… well it was intense and heady but toxic. So very toxic!!!! Trust me Heathcliff ain’t ever gonna be your book boyfriend!! Unless you have extremely singular taste… (okay maybe I might have such taste cos I kinda liked him in that way…. I KNOW!!)

But did I ever truly root for the love between Heathcliff and Catherine?? For their living happily ever after???

Well not really… And again this goes back to the narration! If it had been written from Heathcliff’s or Cathy’s points of view then perhaps I would have invested more in the romance but I always felt like an onlooker in this story. Do you know that notion of watching a car crash… no one wants to see it but you can’t take your eyes away…? That is Heathcliff and Cathy!!! And boy do they love each other fiercely!!!

“You teach me now how cruel you’ve been – cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes you may kiss me and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears; they’ll blight you – they’ll damn you. You loved me – then what right had you to leave me? What right – answer me… 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. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you – oh God! Would you like to live with your soul in the grave?”

“Let me alone, let me alone,” sobbed Catherine. If I’ve done wrong, I’m dying for it. It is enough! You left me too: but I won’t upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!”

“It is hard to forgive and to look at those eyes and feel those wasted hands” he answered. “Kiss me again; and don’t let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer – but yours! How can I?”

So should you read this rollercoaster ride of love and hate, and all the toxic shadows it casts?

WHY OF COURSE! 100% everyone should read Wuthering Heights.

Because first and foremost it’s one of those classics that pops up in mainstream culture so much that it’s nice to know why it still evokes great discussion all these years later. There truly is great joy to be had among its pages… in my opinion it’s a kind of popcorn-classic!! Read this with lots and lots of snacks, revel in the ridiculousness of it all and just enjoy the ride!!

“…because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”

The more I reflect on this novel the more I think about its brilliance. It has just gotten under my skin and wormed its way into my heart in among my five star favourites.

Sometimes love really does just creep up on you I guess!

My Socials

8 thoughts on “Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Book Review

  1. I read this years ago for school, but your review has got me going, damn! I really need to re-read this! I don’t think I enjoyed it much then 1) because I was forced to read it 2) I was a teenager, so I’m curious to think what I’d think of it now! Great review! 😊

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    1. I was always one of those people that read the books on my school lists well in advance of class… so it meant that I prevented my reading experience from getting bogged down in the drudgery of homework / analysis etc which I’m sure would have spoiled the enjoyment of any novel. You should definitely pick this one up again. It’s utterly bonkers and infuriating at times, but we’ll worth the rollercoaster ride of emotions imo 😊

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      1. That’s a good way to read the books in the class list! I remember having to read this really quickly because I read this in summer school, which is only a month long, and we read 3 books that month so I definitely didn’t enjoy as much as I could. Your review really made me think I need to give this a reread! 😊

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