Wuthering Heights

This Victorian classi (353 pages) was published in December of 2002 by Penguin. The book takes you to the windswept moors of Yorkshire. Melissa read Wuthering Heights and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë

Let’s make something perfectly clear: Wuthering Heights is not a love story.

Let’s make something clear: Wuthering Heights is not a love story. It’s a disturbing, grasping, claustrophobic exploration of jealousy and revenge played out in two family homes located within spitting distance of each other on the desolate moors of Yorkshire. There’s not a hint of sunshine in the tale or the setting, and that’s what makes it so potent.

The plot tells the life story of Heathcliff, a mysterious orphan who is adopted by the patriarch of the Earnshaw family. The Earnshaw’s farmhouse, called Wuthering Heights, is a hard environment for hard people: dark, cold, situated atop a windy rise. As children, Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw become inseparable and obsessed with each other — the un-love story that makes moody teenagers swoon.

Across the way, is the family home of the Lintons. Known as Thrushcross Grange, it’s the wealthiest estate in the area. Lower in the valley and closer to civilization, it’s a soft, bright, warm home for soft people. When Catherine breaks Heathcliff’s heart by taking up with the son of her civilized neighbors, Heathcliff runs away.

After an absense of three years, a wealthier Heathcliff returns and exacts his grinding, intricate plan of revenge on everyone who wronged him. Ghosts, betrayals, dramatic revelations, and unreliable narrators abound. This book is carefully assembled for maximum atmosphere, and while you probably won’t much like the characters, you’ll never forget them.

My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. — Emily Brontë

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