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review 2020-05-27 16:42
Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

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The last time I recall someone telling me that a book was the greatest romance they ever read, they were speaking about "Fifty Shades of Grey." I was reluctant to even read this one because I knew that I probably wasn't going to like it. I started to read it and went, yep do not like. I gave this two stars honestly because it's engrossing to read even though I didn't like one character save the two servants (Nelly and Joseph). And I was pretty much luke-warm on Nelly for most of the book. I don't know, maybe this would have worked better if the story was told from Catherine or Heathcliff's point of view. Most of the story follows Nelly's POV and a man named Mr. Lockwood. 


"Wuthering Heights" begins in 1801 when a man named Lockwood begins the tale. Lockwood is a new tenant at Thrushcross Grange and he goes to pay a visit to his landlord a Mr. Heathcliff. Mr. Heathcliff lives in his home called Wuthering Heights. Lockwood is repelled by most of the household (same boy, same) and wonders at the young woman named Cathy that lives there and a young man that Cathy seems to despise named Hareton. When Lockwood stays overnight in Wuthering Heights, he finds the diary of a woman named Catherine Earnshaw and starts to wonder about the people who lived there. He eventually gets his housekeeper, Nelly to tell him about what went on at Wuthering Heights. Bronte then proceeds to take up the rest of the tale explaining about Catherine, her brother Hindley, Heathcliff and the Linton family. 


So, there's so much going on that the narrative told by Nelly doesn't help. Nelly is like the priest in Romeo and Juliet to me. Knows a lot about what is going on, but does nothing to help. 


I honestly don't get why women were swooning over Heathcliff. He's a bully and as much of a mess as Catherine. I do feel badly for how he was treated by Hindley, but he purposely went about trying to ruin people and play God with other characters.

Catherine seemed ridiculous to the extreme to me. I just imagine that the men fought over her because no one else was in the vicinity besides Isabella. 


Hindley I found to be terrible and I honestly pitied Edgar and Isabella. The last two are just used as chess pieces and don't seem to be viewed as people with real hope for love and a happy marriage. 

The writing was a bit tough to get through. It just didn't work for me at all as a Gothic romance. I really loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte so just figured this would work for me too. I think if the book had switched things up so that we stayed with one narrator this would have made things stronger. 


The flow was off. I think switching from narrator to another narrator and I think some other narrators (my brain shut off) it just made the story too unwieldy to follow after a while. 


The setting of Wuthering Heights sounds desolate and unforgiving though.

The ending just leaves you with a shake of your head. You are left thinking that maybe a cycle has been broken, but you wonder since once again, the families in this story are a hot mess.  

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text 2020-05-26 19:00
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

Well we finally get into the history of Mr. Heathcliff, Hindley, and Cathy. 

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review 2020-04-21 15:21
Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë

by Charlotte Bronte


I began reading Jane Eyre just to open my horizons on well-known historic authors a little and was immediately drawn in by the main character. As a child, Jane had a certain fire to her that I could respect and on the strength of that, I added several other Bronte sisters books to my Kindle with intent.


As the book progressed, I felt it slowed and Jane became far too complacent to hold my interest. However, I was too invested to stop so continued reading and occasionally found a trace of the spark from her childhood.


I didn't like Rochester much. He played games to manipulate Jane too much, though he gets a point for having the sense to see when he was being drawn into a convenience marriage for a gold-digger. I couldn't understand why Jane would love him or put up with his mind games, or exactly when her feelings for him developed.


My interest was revived about 65% in, when a twist I should have seen coming put Jane in a situation of personal conflict. I had a real struggle through this as I had to remember the morés of the times which conflict with my own natural inclinations of what I would do in the same situation.


Some of the choices she made I found both brave and foolish. That she had the strength of character to trust to her own resourcefulness over relying on the charity of others was part of what made her such an interesting character. In a time period when Lara Croft could not exist, she showed the resilience of a truly strong woman.


The one thing I found really awkward wad the unfinished place names. ----shire and other half words broke the flow occasionally. In the end I'm glad I've read the story now. I felt that Jane was too service oriented for me to really identify with her, but I did admire the spirit that she showed on occasion, particularly on the occasions when the path of least resistance would have led her to paths in her life that would not have made her happy, but she refused to be bullied when cornered.


I will mention, classic or no, that this book would have run into some problems if it was submitted to a publisher today. Apart from the place names already mentioned, the author occasionally broke the fourth wall rule, but too occasionally to call it writing style. She also changed from past tense to present tense in a couple of chapters. Some things I thought were far too drawn out and especially at the end when it's obvious how it will all come out, it was belaboured to an excruciating degree.


Still, it's a product of its time and I will be reading more of this sort of classic over time, including more Bronte sisters.

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review 2020-04-02 23:45
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë

I dodged this book in high school, choosing to study Wuthering Heights instead. I'm glad I did, because I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much as a teenager as I do now.

I loved Jane SO MUCH. She was smart and stubborn and exasperating and absolutely correct. I loved that she knew she was annoying, and that she couldn't help it. She knew her life would have been different if she could just be more mannerly and agreeable, but she couldn't make herself do it. She bristled not just at the idea of being shackled by marriage, but also of being shackled by social niceties. She wasn't a brute, but she could not form a fake smile if her life depended on it, and this was so endearing to me. She was open-minded, but morally strong. She was compassionate, and very aware of her own shortcomings. I could have spent so much more time with her!

It's wild that this book was published in 1847 under a male pseudonym. Did anyone really believe that this novel, which examines the interior life of an unconventional lower-class woman, was written by a man? I have a doubt.

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review 2020-03-25 08:53
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

TITLE:  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall


AUTHOR:  Anne Bronte


DATE PUBLISHED:  1996 (originally 1848)


FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  9780140434743



"This is the story of a woman's struggle for independence. Helen "Graham" has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter."




I enjoyed this novel a great deal.  It's different, no governess for one, more "stuff" happens and it's a very well written epistolary novel.  This comes across as a rather personal novel for the author.

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