Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights close up2

‘HEATHCLIFF – MAN OR DEVIL?’

It was a question which haunted Catherine like a malignant disease. When she looked into Heathcliff’s wild, glittering eyes, she could only turn away in horror. Who was this man whose every passion was motivated by ruthless greed? Was he indeed the devil come to destroy all he met, even the woman he loved?

Set against the dark and rugged moorlands of northern England, Wuthering Heights introduces two of the most startling characters in all literature: Heathcliff, an unfathomable mixture of savagery and gentleness; and Catherine, the woman he loved but drove to madness. This classic novel has truly been called ‘the strangest love story ever told.’

Wuthering Heights 2Written by Emily Brontë. First published 1847. This Cardinal Edition C-33 published by Pocket Books Inc, 1951. Cover art by Walter Baumhofer.

I picked up this lovely Cardinal edition of Wuthering Heights on a recent trip to North Carolina, which is rather fitting since the Red Cardinal has been the official state bird of NC since 1943.

Cardinal was an imprint of Pocket Books created  in 1951. Running to over 400 titles the collection features a mixture of contemporary fiction, classics and non-fiction covering such topics as home baking, languages and training your dog. There is an amazing online gallery of the Cardinal editions over at The BookScans Database – a quick browse through the series revealing a few other gothics that caught my eye – including a lovely looking Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Anya Seyton’s Dragonwyck

Book Cover (2)

Sussex Academic Press (July 25, 2014)

And although she is best known for creating ‘the strangest love story ever told’, Emily Brontë was also an accomplished poet. I was recently sent a new collection of her poetry which has been published this summer- Laura Inman’s The Poetic World of Emily Bronte.

Though there are numerous collections of Emily Brontë’s poetry available, what’s different about this volume is that the poems are arranged by topic rather than chronologically, with each chapter representing a different theme. The book starts with an outline of Emily’s life and is then divided into themed chapters –  covering the subjects of Nature, Mutability, Love, Death, Captivity & Freedom, Hope & Despair, Imagination, and Spirituality – with additional notes accompanying each poem.

I’m about half-way through this collection and really enjoying it. Emily Brontë is a complex, enigmatic figure about whom much has been speculated and it could be argued that her poetry defies any such simplified classification. However Laura Inman approaches Emily’s work with a sensitivity and insight that is thoughtful, interesting and enlightening, presenting her poetry in a very accessible way.  As much as I love the written word in all its wild and wicked forms, I find poetry – even that of my favourite writers –  largely inscrutable at the best of times. The Poetic World of Emily Brontë has enabled me to revisit the prose of one of my favourite authors with a fresh approach and enriched understanding. Definitely recommended!

More details on The Poetic World of Emily Brontë can be found HERE.

Laura Inman is an independent scholar and freelance writer who lives in Rye, New York. More of her writing and thoughts on Emily Brontë’s poetry can be read and enjoyed over at her blog – The Living Philosopher.

Enjoy!

The Third Woman

The Third Woman closeup

“Something wasn’t quite right about this. Something was very peculiar, indeed. If that was truly a cane making that mute din over her head – what could it be? Who could it be?”

When lovely, young Judith Raleigh is forced to take a position as personal secretary to the handsome but somehow sinister Geoffrey Morehouse, she is drawn into a world of terror and dangerous secrets.

Why was her employer so tormented? And who was the mad but beautiful woman who seemed so intent on harming her? She had to find the answers before it was too late…

The Third WomanFirst published in Great Britain in 1973 by Sphere Books Ltd. Copyright Michael Avallone 1971. Cover art Hector Garrido. (Thanks Ruben!)

Our first woman is the young, the lovely, the financially insecure Judith Raleigh -who finds herself stranded in London, miles from home without a penny to her name when the theatrical company she works for goes bust. This being nineteen hundred and twelve, Judith has no qualms about finding work to support herself, so she answers an ad to work as a secretary for a prominent historian who resides at the illustrious sounding 77 Chelsea South.

Arriving one godless evening for her interview, Judith is greeted by a fog enshrouded gloom teeming with unspeakable terrors. Howling dogs, flitting shadows and malevolent faces appearing from nowhere all conspire to make her first impression of number 77 a terrifying one. For Judith it is all too much and she faints on the threshold just as her prospective boss opens the door.

Enter Geoffrey Morehouse esq. He’s tall, strangely striking with a touch of the night about him. His first impressions of Judith aren’t too favourable but he hires her on the spot, despite the fact she has no job references and has a habit of passing out at interviews.

Geoffrey is keen to get on with his book first thing in the morning, insisting there’s no need for Judith to leave the house that night. Leading Judith to her new tapioca-coloured quarters, he is considerate enough to supply her with a fresh set of feminine bed-wear and other such ‘unmentionables’ – explaining he can send someone out to collect her belongings later. 

Judith gets ready for bed. Her room is nice, her new silk undergarments even nicer – for not only are they lovely and expensive, they are a perfect fit. (A note to all you Gothic ladies-in-waiting out there – despite being a frequent occurrence in this genre, when your leading man starts dressing you in his wife’s / girlfriend’s / sister’s clothes it is NEVER a good sign, especially when they fit perfectly). We soon find out these garments belong to Geoffrey’s spouse.

Cue woman number two, Geoffrey’s disabled wife Olivia, who walks with a cane, lives in the attic and never ventures down to the lower floors without assistance. Judith is at first a little scared of ol’ Livvy but, apart from the annoyingly persistent thump- thumping of her cane, Olivia does little to get in the way of Judith’s budding romance with her new employer.

The Third Woman xtra closeupNot so woman number three. For the more Judith finds herself falling in love with Geoffrey, the more she is tormented by strange dreams and terrifying experiences. A ghost or not a ghost? That is the question Judith finds herself asking as her nights become evermore filled with fear. Someone else is living at number 77, someone who rocks its walls with tortured moans and wailing sighs. Someone who wants Judith Raleigh dead. And as this story reaches its infernal climax, it transpires Geoffrey Morehouse is more than a man with strange nocturnal habits, he is also a man with deadly secrets….

The Third Woman is an exuberantly written, wonderfully insane novel with a plot that doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny but is great fun to read. Imagine your boss handing you a copy of Jane Eyre then giving you half an hour or so to come up with something similar. Not surprising then to find out Jean-Anne De Pre is a pseudonym for the supernaturally prolific Michael Avallone – who wrote at least a zillion novels in just about every genre imaginable.

Aside from the very lovely artwork on this Sphere edition, there is also a rather nice dedication on the inside cover that reads:

This book is for Anna Mary Wells – a very dear preceptor of my own.

Preceptor…. an interesting choice of word (ashamed to say I had to look it up!). I’m guessing this is the same Anna Mary Wells whose book is reviewed over at the ever-informative Pretty Sinister Books blog.

And there’s a great article chronicling Michael Avallone’s career on The Thrilling Detective website.  It’s peppered with hilarious anecdotes, my favourite being Mr Avallone’s love of puns, as evidenced by such titles as The Cunning Linguist, Turn the Other Sheik and The Alarming Clock!

The Third Woman gets three out of four stars – with extra marks given for incredibly inventive, karmic twist in the tale utilising the disastrous maiden voyage of the Titanic in order to meter out justice where justice was due.

The Third Woman

Menfreya

Menfreya close up (2)

“Love, lust and the Cornish sea pound through this saga of a 19th century family.” EVENING STANDARD.

For Harriet Delvaney, the great house of Menfreya, standing like a fortress on the Cornish coast, has always been a citadel of happiness and high spirits. Not until she herself comes to Menfreya as a bride does Harriet discover its legend of infidelity, jealousy and murder. And not until that legend comes dangerously to life does Harriet begin to believe the old story that when the tower clock of Menfreya stops, it means that someone is about to die…

“Sinister… a splendidly wild background.” BOOKS AND BOOKMEN.

Menfreya Fontana (2)Written by Victoria Holt. First published 1966. First issued in Fontana Books 1968. 

Our first encounter with Harriet Delvaney, is as a thirteen year old runaway – fleeing the confining, hostile environment of her father’s grand London house to hide out in an abandoned old cottage on an island just off the Cornish coast.

From here she gazes across the dawn-lit sea towards Menfreya, an enchanting stately manor sprawled across the cliff top. Home to the Menfrey’s and more castle than house, Menfreya’s gothic turrets, machicolated towers, and ancient flint walls symbolise for Harriet everything she has been longing for in her short, sad life – romance, intrigue, mystery and adventure.

Menfreya Fawcett Crest (2)

Fawcett Crest reprint. Cover art Harry Bennett

Fast forward a few years and Harriet’s adolescent dreams have come true. Now a wealthy heiress and married to the dashingly handsome Bevil Menfrey, she has become mistress of Menfreya. However, this being a gothic romance, the best of times very quickly sour into the worst of nightmares for our heroine, with madness, murder, treachery and rape being just a few of the ordeals she finds herself enduring. Worse still are the mercurial moods and roving eyes of husband Bevil, forcing Harriet to ask herself – did he marry her for love or for a reason much more sinister?

Menfreya Fontana banana

Fontana 19th Impression 1979

Menfreya is a great read full of all the usual ingredients beloved by fans of Victoria Holt’s novels – gorgeous settings oozing atmosphere, a likeable heroine who is feminine without being flighty partnered alongside a dangerously rakish leading man whose motives will keep you guessing right till the end. It’s a familiar formula yes, but in Holt’s hands never predictable and I love the way she weaves complex family histories and mythologies so effortlessly into her books, creating back-stories which are just as engrossing as the main plot of the novel itself. 

I have three copies of this book. My favourite by far being the older Fontana edition with its wild n’ wuthering crimson-stained sky. I got this from Healthy Planet, complete with a stamp on the inside cover asking me to pass this book on once I have read it… but I think I’ll be keeping this one for some time yet!

Menfreya Fontana (2)

Shadow of Evil

Shadow of Evil close up

DRIVEN BY AN UNEARTHLY TERROR, PORTIA MUST PROTECT THE MAN SHE LOVES.

The beautiful widow Portia is an investigator into the occult.

She is aided by her fiancé, Owen Edwardes. Suddenly their future is threatened by the diabolical, lovely neighbour, Princess Tchernova – who pursues Owen like a beast of prey. She wants to see him dead. Portia uses every weapon at her disposal – including her love and her mastery of the occult – to keep Owen out of her rival’s clutches.

The duel between Portia and the princess will haunt the memories of addicts of the Gothic novel for many long, dark nights.

Shadow ov EvilOriginal title – Invaders from the Dark. Copyright 1960 by Greye La Spina. Copyright 1925 by the Popular Fiction Publishing Company, for Weird Tales, where an earlier version of this novel appeared in the issues for April, May and June 1925.

This Paperback Library edition is published by arrangement with Arkham House. First Printing September 1966.

Barely a year into her marriage to occult philanthropist Howard Differdale, Portia finds herself widowed when he is struck down dead in the midst of a particularly treacherous ritual. Undaunted by this cruel twist of fate, she makes the brave decision to carry on her husband’s work. But it’s a lonely existence, made all the more difficult by the ill-will and malicious rumour-mongering of her neighbours.

To combat her isolation and curtail the town’s gossips, Portia invites her Aunt Sophie to come live with her and it’s through Sophie’s eyes, presented in the form of a manuscript recovered by Greye La Spina herself, that the story unfolds.

Sophie is initially concerned for her niece but her fears are allayed somewhat by Portia’s new found maturity and unceasing resolve to continue with her late husband’s work.  Even better, there is an handsome young man on the horizon  - the eligible Owen Edwardes – whose interest in Portia appears to be reciprocated, and hopeless romantic Aunt Sophie is determined to bring them together.

But there’s a rival for Owen’s affections – the mysterious, the sensuous, the carnivorous Princess Irma Andreyevna Tchernova. Swathed in furs, her eyes glowing garnet in the gloom, she has a manner that many find alluring, coupled with a sleight of hand as fast as she is fair – linger just a little too long in her presence and you may find yourself the unwary recipient of a strange looking flower pinned to your buttonhole – a foul smelling, fleshy bloom that serves a deadly purpose.

No man can escape her fast-fingered charms and it’s Owen in particular she has set her glittery-eyed sights on. Though many find her pointy-toothed smile irresistible, it only serves to sap the sunlight from Aunt Sophie’s day and her heart sinks each time she sees the hapless Owen falling ever deeper under the princess’s spell.

Sophie isn’t the only one who is heartsick as Portia has long held suspicions of her own. To those with the occult know-how, the signs are obvious; Princess Tchernova keeps wolves for pets and eats nothing but meat; her fingers are unnaturally long, her eyebrows unnaturally low. Moreover, those hideous Orchids she keeps throwing around have a use far more sinister than the townsfolk could ever imagine.

2010 Ramble House reprint

2010 Ramble House reprint

One stormy night Portia confides in her Aunt, simultaneously revealing her suspicions while educating Sophie into the reality of the loup-garou or werewolf. Using her extensive occult library and powers of persuasion she convinces her Aunt that, not only do these monstrous beings exist but that the Princess herself is a shape-changing werewolf, intent on turning Owen into her life-long mate.

Using powers of astral projection along with some good old-fashioned peeping through other people’s windows, Portia and Sophie’s worse fears are confirmed when they witness the princess performing a strange ritual of her own – plying Owen with a liquor extracted from some lycanthropous stream that brings with it the curse of becoming werewolf.

Uh-oh. Time is running out for our intrepid duo if they are to save Owen from the clutches of Princess Tchernova. Preparing for his rescue, disaster strikes in the form of an enormous explosion that rocks through the town, destroying the princess’s mansion. Sophie and Portia watch helplessly from their window as the mansion burns to the ground, dismayed in the knowledge that Owen could not possibly survive such a catastrophe.

The shock has barely worn off when there’s a knock on the door. Portia answers it to find the princess’s mute servant standing on the threshold, accompanied by a large grey wolf….

Shadow of Evil backcover

Shadow of Evil is a fabulous read where romance, intrigue and supernatural thrills ‘n’ spills all combine to create a story as weird as it is wonderful. And as far as anti-heroines go, the Princess Irma Andreyevna Tchernova is a villainess as exotically gothic as her name implies.

Greye La Spina has written a few werewolf stories and it is obvious she has a more than passing interest in her subject matter – I particularly enjoyed Portia’s account detailing lycanthropy in terms of the use and abuse of faith and how those sworn to evil are just as capable of performing miracles as those sworn to good – an explanation which made perfectly spooky sense while I was reading it late at night over a glass of wine or two!

Born in 1880 in Wakefield Massachusetts, Greye La Spina lived a life as unconventional as her gothic heroines. More about her and her contribution to early pulp horror can be found over at The Innsmouth Free Press HERE. There is also an informative thread on her works over at the ever-fabulous Vault of Evil. 

Four out of five stars, with extra gothic points for use of the word decoction

Shadow of Evil

Help Wanted – Harry Bennett Cover Art

Harry Bennett artwork

Alex Henzel has emailed me this lovely piece of artwork crying out for a gothic romance to call its own. The artist is Harry Bennett, an award-winning painter and illustrator who created over 1,000 covers and illustrations during his career as a commercial artist.

I have quite a few Fawcett Crest novels (mostly written by Victoria Holt, Susan Howatch, Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart) that feature Harry Bennett covers but I don’t recognise this one. The more I look at it though, the more it’s ringing bells for me somewhere – I’m sure there must be a deliciously creepy tale behind this eerie threesome!

Harry Bennett close upThe piece could be a preliminary sketch for a more complete work and it’s beautiful. Harry Bennett has a very distinctive style – the lush sweep of a dress or cloak, the brooding, shadowed expressions combined with a vivid use of light and dark are all trademarks of his gothic romance art. Violet is such an evocative colour to use and very Victorian, bringing to mind a storm swept, winter’s dusk. I think this would make the perfect cover for an sinister vampire novel.

Does any recognise it or can hazard a guess what it was used for? If so, please get in touch!

Alex also has an amazing collection of vintage paperbacks which you can view at his web page Good Girl Art Vintage Paperbacks. They really don’t publish books like these anymore – I’ve spend hours looking through his collection already and I think the titles are almost as wonderful as the covers!

Thank you for sharing Alex!

Chateau of Secrets revisited

chateausecret close up

Chateau of Secrets was the very first gothic I reviewed on this blog. It’s a short, enjoyable romp following the misadventures of Ann Preston who travels to France and finds herself enmeshed in her own chateau of secrets, along with some very peculiar characters. My original ramblings can be read HERE.

chateau-of-secretsPublished by Five Star, this is one of my favourite covers. The artwork is different from most in this genre and at the time I posted the review, apart from a backwards signature just visible under the subject’s right arm, I had no idea who the artist was.

So it was a lovely surprise when Lynn Munroe emailed me with a link to his new spring catalogue, detailing the work of artist Tom Miller.

Lynn’s comprehensive biography and checklist includes a scan of the same portrait used for Chateau of Secrets gracing another cover – a Fawcett Crest publication of Vladimir Nabokov’s Mary. You can see Miller’s artwork was flipped in the Five Star edition (hence the backward signature).

It’s always a thrill when I come across a favourite cover being used on an unfamiliar book. Comparing the two, I think the change of perspective subtly alters her expression and that she looks more pensive on the gothic.

What do you think? The two covers can be seen together HERE along with a biography and more fine examples of Tom Miller’s work HERE.

Thank you Lynn!

Gothic Romance Artwork

gothicpainting

Can anyone help? Robert has emailed me with a scan of this original painting he’s acquired recently and he is trying to find the book it was used for. There is no signature but there is a number on the back (1524). The seller guessed it might belong to a Lancer publication, perhaps an international edition of one of Deanna Dwyer’s (Dean Koontz) gothics. It’s not one that I recognise but it’s an amazing piece of art and would make a fantastically eerie cover. Any ideas? Please get in touch. And thanks for sharing this gorgeous artwork Robert!

The Web of Evil

Web of Evil closeup

Fear and terror creep into the heart of a lovely young bride as she watches her husband change before her eyes – as she learns the tragic story of that other bride who was so like herself – as she becomes the helpless prey of a strange and relentless hatred. Swiftly the web of evil spreads until its meshes enclose – murder! Strangely enough, it is the murder that drives away the evil – while a twenty-foot wall of water washes away the debris of two almost wrecked lives.

Web of EvilCopyright 1948 by Lucille Emerick. Cover painting by Robert Stanley. 

Dell Publishing Company, printed 1951.

I have completely forgotten when or where I found this gorgeous gem of a book, but it stands out as one of the oldest examples of the classic ‘gothic romance’ cover that I own. Painted by Robert Stanley long before the hey-day of the 60’s & 70′s, when gothic romances were at their most popular, this picture is as sinister and storm-swept as any – with those deep, rich colours and airbrush effect combining to create a lush, dreamy feel that I love.

According to The Book of Paperbacks  written by Piet Schreuders, Robert Stanley often used his wife Rhoda as a model for his covers. My curiosity piqued, I looked up some scans of his work on the internet and she is beautiful! You can see what I mean from this fabulous Flickr gallery HERE

Schreuders’ book also includes a short but informative section devoted to gothic cover art, with a wonderful story from an (un-named) author about the immutability of the gothic cover who says:

“Once, just to see what would happen, I wrote a story set in a suburban ranch house in a densely-populated valley, with every single scene taking place in broad daylight; the heroine was a short-haired redhead who wore jeans throughout the entire book. But when the paperback came out, sure enough, there on the cover was a long-haired blonde in a flowing white dress, haring away from some frightening mansion at the top of a lonely hill in the dead of night!”

Web of Evil back coverThis edition of Web of Evil is one of the Dell Mapbacks – a series of paperbacks printed in the 1940’s to 1950’s, each with a map on the back detailing the scenes where the events of novel took place. Apparently Dell’s sales department hated the idea, finding it unnecessary and non-commercial and the practice was phased out in 1951. Personally I think they’re kind of cute and great for those lazy days when you’re much too hazy-headed to read a book – far better to just stare into the map and make up your own! 

Another feature common to this series is the list of story characters set out in the flyleaf, with brief descriptions of who they are. So in Web of Evil for instance we learn CAROLINE SPRINGER is a shy and pretty girl whose parents drowned in her infancy. Her leading man is JONATHAN WARREN; handsome, self possessed and at 41 he knows what he wants and what he stands for. RED KOVACS is a hot-headed young fire boss, blindly devoted to the cause, with a passionate hatred shining in his eyes, whereas AUNT ELOISE is a delicate and self-effacing woman who, fluttering nervously in the wake of her domineering sister Harriet, is relegated to her room as much as possible. 

Web paperback LGThese cast-lists are common in older romance novels and something I am not so fond of  - overly twee and unnecessarily theatrical, not only do they undermine the story telling before you have even reached the start of Chapter 1, but I prefer to get to know the characters in a novel on the writer’s terms, as and when they appear in the story.  

Nevertheless, I love this cover. And with a map that features a cemetery, lilac tree and stables, I think it has all the makings of a very intriguing tale! The Web of Evil was also published by Paperback Library Gothic in 1965. 

Web of Evil

Web of Evil back cover

Climb The Dark Mountain

Climb the dark mountain close up

Dream… Or Nightmare?

Paris! Anita could not believe it. Her every dream had been of the glories of the City of Light, and now, thanks to aunt Emily’s legacy, she was really here.

Anita had one goal: becoming a successful artist. And what better place to study art than in the world capital of art? When Alexis Binaud agreed to accept her as a student, she was ecstatic… but her idol soon proved himself nothing more than a man. And Anita found she had opened the door to a dark secret… and that door was closing, locking her prisoner in a private hell!

Climb the dark mountainCopyright Press Editorial Services.

This edition published by Zenith Publications, London. (No date). 

It’s been awhile since my last post, I know… so thanks to everyone who has stopped by and left comments & emails – I promise to start replying soon! Bear with me as my beleaguered brain relearns its way around WordPress – I have been doing things the old fashioned way these past few months and am slowly refamiliarising myself with the internet.

Having reviewed a couple of Julie Wellsley novels on this site before – House Malign and Chateau of Secrets – I thought Climb the Dark Mountain would be a good book to start the summer off with since it’s been lurking on my to-read pile for ages.

The story starts when Anita Morris inherits some money and uses it to fulfil her long time ambition of becoming an artist. Thanks to a small legacy left to her in her aunt’s will, she now has enough cash to fly to Paris and study under the tutelage of renowned painter Alexis Binaud.

Lancer Edition

Lancer Edition

Montmartre is a long, long way from Maida Vale and everything Anita imagined it would be – all cutting edge glamour crossed with bohemian insouciance. As for Alexis, well, if drinking Pernod and chain-smoking Gitanes didn’t single him out as a genius, his moody charm and ruggedly handsome good looks sure do – so it’s no wonder Anita has fallen helplessly in love by the end of chapter 3.

When Alexis offers her a part time job illustrating a cartoon strip he is creating for a local paper, she jumps at the chance of spending more time with him. There is one slight catch however – for a mysterious fire at the art school means Anita will now be living and working from the artist’s home.

And it’s not just any old house. Alexis lives with his mother in an old French chateau with a dark past. Occupied by the Gestapo during the war, it is a place impregnated with evil, haunted by the ghosts of prisoners of war who were tortured and buried in its dungeons.

As soon as she moves in, Anita knows something is terribly wrong – strange accidents, a sense of being followed, shadowy figures creeping into her bedroom at night… someone wants her dead… and though she can not know for sure, the sinister, skeletal finger of gothic romance is pointing very much in the direction of one troubled artist with mad glittery eyes…

Climb the DM insert

Fast-paced, action-packed, Climb the Dark Mountain was a lot of fun crammed with whole heaps of gothicness – including eerily painted murals with eyes that follow you in the dark, an artist’s incestuous love for his dead sister, Nazis, secret rooms, madness, murder and much, much, more – I really sensed Julie Wellsley must have had a lot of fun writing this one.

But with so much going on, I found the story did get a little convoluted at times – with a confusing subplot about a spy ring or criminal gang that did not make sense to me at all – although that could be because I was far too engrossed with Alexis’ tortured love for his embalmed sibling to take much notice of other such minor fripperies.

Three out of four stars, with bonus points for this lovely cover which could have been painted by Alexis Binaud himself!

Climb the dark mountain

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte’s supreme legacy. Indeed, many eminent critics consider it the greatest novel in the English language – a dramatic and imaginative masterpiece.

The scene is the dark windswept Yorkshire moors. The time is the last century. The drama concerns the attempt of Heathcliff, a dark-skinned gypsy waif of passionate and violent nature, to destroy the families of Earnshaw and Linton. The mystical history of Heathcliff’s life after the death of his love, Catherine, is perhaps the most poignant fictional haunting in any European language, and one which lives unforgettably in the memory.

Panther Imperial edition first published April 1961.

I have been away from blogging for a while and thought I’d ease myself gently back into the swing of things with this lovely Panther Edition of Wuthering Heights. Though I haven’t been posting much, that’s not to say I haven’t been reading! So I do hope to have more lovely gothic romance reviews on here soon.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a great blog I stumbled on. Fittingly entitled Bad Reviews of Good Books, it chronicles readers’ honest opinions about some of the greatest classic novels of all time and I found it compulsive reading! Taking a look at what our learned friends from cyber-space have been saying about Wuthering Heights, the comments range from the bizarre:

“The story carries the reader along, but every character is laced with a dramatic flaw (and by dramatic, I mean, it isn’t like a ‘weak man’ could just be weak to his wife; he’s weak in the face of the universal will. A selfish person isn’t just selfish about her daily amount of reading time, or whether her husband goes out whoring or not; she’s selfish about every single thing that comes into contact with her).”

 To the downright ridiculous:

“I read it on the train and, as we RAN SOMEONE OVER, I got eightish hours to read it.”

It certainly is an interesting debate as to whether just reading a book gives you the automatic right to critique someone else’s work and to how informed that opinion might be. Personally, I love reading other people’s reviews, good, bad or ugly but only after I have finished reading the book for myself. 

Anyway, to end with a good review of this great book – here’s what Charlotte Bronte herself had to say about her sister’s novel:

 “Wuthering Heights stands colossal, dark and frowning, half-statue, half-rock. It is Moorish and wild and knotty as a root of heather. Over much there broods ‘a horror of great darkness’; in its storm-heated and electrical atmosphere we seem at times to breathe lightening.”

 

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