Books Based on Wuthering Heights
Novels Written Using the Themes of Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights is, hands down, my favorite book and has been since I was thirteen years old. The first time I read it, I was swept up into what I thought was the star-crossed romance of the main characters, Heathcliff and Cathy; Cathy was fiery and independent, and Heathcliff the perfect brooding hero.
As I grew old, I realized that Cathy is selfish and impetuous, and Heathcliff is actually kind of a sociopath--there's hardly a likeable character in the whole book. But that doesn't stop the beauty of the writing and the ferocity of the story from taking hold of you, and now I appreciate it on many levels, few of which have to do with romance.
However, the belief of the novel as a romance lives on, and many modern-day authors have taken the themes of Wuthering Heights to craft their own romantic works.
If you love Wuthering Heights, you'll also enjoy these well-written contemporary novels.
Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve
Anita Shreve is a master of beautifully written novels about the human emotions that rise and fall in romantic relationships, and her novel Fortune's Rocks is no different. Set almost a hundred years after Wuthering Heights, the novel's characters Olympia and Haskell fill the roles of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Olympia, a wealthy and pampered girl, is drawn to John Haskell, a married man. They embark on a passionate affair despite their age differences, and soon Olympia finds she is pregnant--and forbidden by her father to continue the relationship that has now shamed their family.
While this novel is only loosely based on Wuthering Heights, with the characters given more positive qualities and not hell-bent on self-destruction, the emotional themes ring true: class, fate, romance, and tragedy intertwine for an enthralling read.
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman has a way with lyrical prose, working in touches of magic that allow the reader to suspend his or her disbelief and sink into her stories. Her version of Wuthering Heights, entitled Here on Earth, follows the story of March Murray, who returns to her small hometown for a funeral and falls back into the arms of her first love, Hollis.
Hollis and March were raised together as children, along with March's brother Alan; as in Wuthering Heights, March chooses another man, Hollis grows vengeful and embittered, and Alan becomes a sad alcoholic. However, unlike Wuthering Heights, Here on Earth explores the consequences of March returning to the passionate love from which she's never moved on.
Hoffman does an excellent job of capturing the ferocious passion of Wuthering Heights, and Here on Earth is my favorite modern-day work inspired by the love of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Wuthering Heights (1992 Version)
The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle
Clare Dunkle's The House of Dead Maids is a YA novel that can easily be enjoyed by adults as well; instead of just employing the themes of Wuthering Heights, it takes us to the time before Heathcliff was found on the streets of Liverpool by Catherine's father.
Tabby is brought to the imposing Seldom House as a maid, but has no responsibilities--and soon she's frightened by the ghost of the maid before her. Tabby soon finds out that her true job is to be a playmate and nanny figure to a young boy brought to the house, a boy who insists he's the young master and must be obeyed.
The boy is Heathcliff, and the secrets of the house turn out to be far more sinister than Tabby could ever have realized.
Since Wuthering Heights never tells the reader where exactly Heathcliff came from or the details of his early childhood, The House of Dead Maids is an eerie and supernatural take on his origins.
Appreciating Wuthering Heights
While many readers are turned off by the nastiness of the characters, if you go into Wuthering Heights expecting something other than a traditional romance, you may find yourself swept away by its bleak setting, raw emotion, and relentless tragedy.
If you end up loving the novel, then certainly try out some of the modern-day works that owe their inspiration to Emily Bronte's classic.
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