Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is such a devisive story, and I sometimes wonder if readers expecting a gothic romance (perhaps similar to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre) are shocked by Emily’s dark tale of obsession, madness and revenge.

I first read Wuthering Heights on the cusp of my teenager years, and have re-read it several times since. I picked it up most recently after reading ‘The Bronte Mysteries’ by Bella Ellis, and once again I was drawn back into the wild Yorkshire moors and the tangled web of the Earnshaw and Linton families.

Narrated by Heathcliff’s tennant, and the Earnshaw and Linton families’ long suffering servant, Nelly, both appear to be somewhat unreliable narrators allowing their prejudices and superstitions to influence their perceptions and memories. Nelly, in particular, is interesting in that she openly admits to prying, meddling and with-holding information from Heathcliff, Cathy, Edgar and their children, nevertheless she tells a gripping tale.

While the tempestuous, destructive love affair between Cathy and Heathcliff, and Heathcliff’s subsequent quest for revenge, dominate the story, it’s the slower, kinder romance betwen Cathy’s nephew, Hareton, and her own daughter (also called Catherine) that finally restores peace to Wuthering Heights, despite how badly Heathcliff mistreated and wronged them both. Hareton and Catherine arguably represent the lovers Heathcliff and Cathy could have been if only circumstances had been different, and they’d been able to temper their wild impulses and passions.

Wuthering Heights is not without its flaws, but it remains one of my favourites, a story I return to again and again, finding something new every time I read it, and I’m still impressed by the power and urgency of Emily Bronte’s writing. Have a lovely week. X

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Mysteries are a genre that I’ve always been curious about but never tried, but I’ve been fascinated by the Bronte sisters ever since I read Wuthering Heights in my teens and I couldn’t resist this when I chanced upon it in a bookshop a wee while ago.

When Elizabeth Chester, the second wife of Yorkshire land owner, Robert Chester, goes missing in mysterious circumstances, the Bronte sisters take it upon themselves to investigate. The narrative switches between Charlotte, Emily and Anne’s perspectives, and their brother Branwell plays a supporting role too.

This is such a clever little mystery about the Bronte sisters investigating a crime and how the details of their detective work might have inspired their own novels. The Vanished Bride is full of governesses, gypsies, ghosts, secrets, scandals and schemes, and at the heart of it all, the three intelligent, imaginative and independent Bronte sisters.

The story is peppered with little details and historical facts about their real lives, and it’s a treat for fans of the Bronte sisters.

This was a departure from my usual reading habits, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. The Vanished Bride is a fun story, full of humour, suspense and twists, that’s perfect for a dark winter eve. X