Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the authors for my advance reading copy of The Heights. This review is unbiased and honest.
I always have a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to retellings. In fact nearly every retelling I’ve ever read has been disappointing, unable to live up to the great story they’re trying to reproduce. Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favourite books, so I was both excited, and full of caution when I requested The Heights, how would Heathcliffe and Cathy’s love story live up to a modern retelling? Very well it turns out!
Cathy Earnshaw lives in a typical 1980s Yorkshire town, during the Miner’s Strike, with her mother an unhappy housewife, her father a disgruntled miner and her brother Mick who is frankly a bit of a yob. Then one day, her father brings home Heathcliffe, a dark, strange little boy who quickly becomes Cathy’s best friend.
That is, until Cathy befriends the new, posh kids in school, Isabelle and Edward Linton, and abandons Heathcliffe to marry Edward, who she sees as a ticket out of her horrible life.
The rest of the story plays out exactly as in the original with the tragic deaths of many of the main characters, leaving their children in the care of The now insane Heathcliffe. I loved the idea of Lockwood as a police officer, Ellen Dean as a Social Worked and Joseph as the local priest. It generally just worked really well.
The Heights really explored the themes of incest within The story, the idea that Heathcliffe was the bastard son of Cathy’s father and therefore her half brother, something that unbelievably never crossed my mind before. The story flicks between past and present, between DCI Lockwood’s investigation in 2008/9 and the events which happened in the 80s and 90s and brought about the tragedies now being experienced.
Wuthering Heights of course remains not only one of my favourite novels but a novel which is favourite of many in the world, one of the great classic novels which remains timeless, and finally we have a retelling which does it justice.