Review: Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Why I chose this book:
This had my Heathcliff x Catherine heart fluttering at the idea of a retelling. Back in January, I knew I wanted to have a copy of this to snuggle up to with a warm cup of tea and a thunder storm outside. I have too much love for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights not to read this book. I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 


 Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Format: eARC
Genre: Women's Fiction, Adult, Contemporary/Realistic Fiction, Romance
Buy: B&N | Indiebound | Amazon
Synopsis:
The windswept moors of England, a grand rustic estate, and a love story of one woman caught between two men who love her powerfully—all inspired by Emily Bronte’s beloved classic, Wuthering Heights. Solsbury Hill brings the legend of Catherine and Heathcliff, and that of their mysterious creator herself, into a contemporary love story that unlocks the past.

When a surprise call from a dying aunt brings twenty-something New Yorker Eleanor Abbott to the Yorkshire moors, and the family estate she is about to inherit, she finds a world beyond anything she might have expected. Having left behind an American fiance, here Eleanor meets Meadowscarp MacLeod—a young man who challenges and changes her. Here too she encounters the presence of Bronte herself and discovers a family legacy they may share.

With winds powerful enough to carve stone and bend trees, the moors are another world where time and space work differently. Remanants of the past are just around a craggy, windswept corner. For Eleanor, this means ancestors and a devastating romantic history that bears on her own life, on the history of the novel Wuthering Heights, and on the destinies of all who live in its shadow. (Goodreads)

3 things you need to know about this book:

1. Wyler tries to stay loyal to the original story.
Though this isn’t exactly a retelling of Wuthering Heights, it is still strongly inspired by the gothic novel. Therefore, her adoption of gothic themes as well as the theme of civilization and the the moors as a motif. This was probably my favorite part, but I’m not sure if it was because the English major in me was squealing or if she just executed this part well. 

The moors are a huge motif in Wuthering Heights and Solsbury Hill. They are seen as dangerous and deadly, while also they carry with them the idea of revival and and free. Wyler also incorporates the theme of civilization as did Brontë. In Solsbury Hill New York City was the epitome of civilization; whereas, Trent Hall was identified as wild, unsafe, and naturally eerie. As and English major and a writer myself, I truly appreciated her incorporating these themes in her novel.

2. Characters in the retelling vs. original work.
For those of you who have read Wuthering Heights, Catherine and Heathcliff are extremely passionate (though slightly twisted) people. As I said before, this is not your normal retelling, but it does carry characters that are modeled after Heathcliff, Catherine, and Edgar. I wish she could have developed their characters more in order to adopt more of the characteristics seen in Wuthering Heights, but honestly, they all felt rather flat, even at the end of the novel.

3. More qualms with the writing style rather than plot.
Generally speaking, the plot was good and worth while, but the writing in which she executed said plot was nearing on atrocious. Wyler seemed to jump around in thought quite a bit, and sentences and ideas seemed out of place. It created an extremely chaotic thought process of Eleanor, and it was difficult for the reader to catch on at times. What I found most disconcerting is that I felt no tie to the characters. I wanted to feel for them, I truly did, but the way she conveyed emotion was poor and it didn’t matter as much to me emotionally as I wish it would have.

Final Thoughts:
I really wanted to love this book with all my heart! I truly, truly did! I LOVE Wuthering Heights, so I was sure this would be a wonderful book to add to my bookshelf. Thank goodness I only got the eARC. I read it to its completion, but it just wasn’t up to par in my opinion.

I gave this book 2 (really 2.5) stars on my Goodreads.

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