I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.
~ Wuthering Heights
Every now and then I stumble across a book that really surprises me: A book I thought I'd detest but end up immensely enjoying.
Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, is one of those books.
I know why it took me so long to read it: I feared I would end up passionately despising it like I did her sister Charlotte's famous novel, Jane Eyre. Then Wuthering Heights turned up in the post, a surprise package from Shelley over at Tea Time, and I began to re-assess why a ten-year hatred of Jane Eyre and sister Charlotte should make me so afraid to read any other works by the Bronte sisters?
It sat on my bookshelf for months whilst I pondered. Wuthering Heights is considered as one of the best novels ever written. There have been movies, TV adaptions, endless book editions, and Kate Bush even wrote a song about it, so why should I so fervently avoid it?
So, I quit stalling. I read it, and would you believe it: It is so good. So very, very good. I loved it.
The story centres around violent and mean Heathcliff, brought to Wuthering Heights as a child and treated badly after the death of his guardian. It's hard not to think of him as an unloved orphan, who is so angry and bitter at the world that he takes it out on everyone he knows, and probably justifiably so. He is so sad that it is difficult not to pity him, despite the misery he inflicts on those around him.
Yet, in a dark, brooding story with dark, brooding characters all around her, Catherine Linton shines. Strong-willed and determined not to let Heathcliff get the better of her, she is like a smouldering ember, just waiting for the right moment to spark and set the whole place alight...
Wuthering Heights is a brutal yet brilliant novel, in true gothic style.
If you've not read it (assuming I'm not the last person on the face of the planet to do so) then I highly recommend it.
What books have surprised you in this way?
Spring Reading List (September - November) Progression:
4. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory