Catherine by April Lindner

Wuthering Heights is a classic novel that teenagers love to hate and certain fictional characters love to read every Christmas for some unknown reason.  If you don’t know the story, the plot centers around the undying and unhealthy love between Heathcliff and Catherine and the problems that it causes both in their generation and their children’s generation.  (That’s the extremely barebones overview, I know.)

In Catherine, Lindner attempts to take this classic story and bring it into a modern context.  Rather than the English moors, this tale is set in a New York City nightclub owned by Catherine’s father and is told from alternating points of view of a teenage Catherine and her teenage daughter, Chelsea.  Heathcliff is played by the young, angry musician, Hence.  “Like therefore,” he tells a dubious Catherine.  Their love story is played out between chapters of Chelsea encountering an older, angrier Hence in an attempt to find her mother.

Catherine is the best Wuthering Heights retelling I’ve found to date (there’s more of them than you might think) though the ending, which I won’t give away, veered pretty far from the original novel.  I liked this book both as a retelling and as a story in its own right, though I had a bit of a problem with Hence.  While he was surly and gruff and moody, he wasn’t enough like the original Heathcliff to be convincing.  He just seemed like an angry old man with a fairly large capacity for being nice.  If I had to type him, it seems like he would be the angry man who finds you sleeping on the couch and tucks you in.  Think Harrison Ford in the movie Morning Glory.  Overall it was well-written and interesting with your average YA novel characters.

Plot: 7/10  Interesting, accurate, and original twist on the original.

Writing: 8/10

Intensity: 4/10  This might have been higher if I weren’t familiar with the original.

Characters: 6/10  I miss Nelly.  Edgar was practically nonexistent.  And the characters could have been replaced with almost any YA character.  Overall I liked them, though.

Interest: 5/10  I read it as a retelling, but I’m not sure if I would have picked it up otherwise.

Overall: 6.5/10

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