I love WUTHERING HEIGHTS, which HERE ON EARTH is loosely based upon; however, aside from the lush prose and atmosphere, I did not much care for this book or the central relationship.
I decided to read this book because I am researching female Gothic and "Here on Earth" was mentioned as Alice Hoffman's homage to Emily Bronte. And actually there are some similarities between this story and "Wuthering Heights" - although, of course, the setting is different and there are many more characters (who don't all share the same name).
As usual, I don't like to give many details of the story, because I don't want to spoil it for future readers, but I will say that March and Hollis are supposedly the equivalent of the elder Catherine and Heathcliff and that their love story - if that is how we can call it - reminds us of the one in Emily Bronte's book, but doesn't reach that level of complexity.
When I started reading, I was ready not to like the novel. In general, authors who "use" Bronte work to sell books don't do a great job of it (with some exceptions, of course, like "Wide Sargasso Sea"), so I was prepared for a poor, even sordid retelling of WH. However, I must admit, I liked the book - so much so that I stayed up until beyond 3:00 AM to finish it. I liked the way the story integrated into a modern setting and gave a believable description of life in a small provincial town surrounded by beautiful nature. I liked Gwen - the equivalent of the younger Catherine - and the way she matures and discovers herself. In a way, this is a coming-of-age novel, both for Gwen and for her immature mother March. The plot was interesting and gripping, the more I read the more I wanted to scream at March "Open your eyes, stupid, don't take the abuse!" The ending is rewarding because, in a way, justice is served, but above all because there is some redemption for the older generation - that is missing, in my opinion, in Emily Bronte's book.
What I didn't like was, however, March. Not to mince words, I thought she is very immature: she thinks that you can go back in time and be young again; that you can live in an abusive situation and pretend "he didn't mean it" every time he means it; that she has a right to mess up her daughter's and her husband's lives just because she cannot say "No" to Hollis. At times, I was so mad at March for her stupidity (from my point of view) and her selfishness that I thought she didn't deserve a friend like Susan or the Justice family. She behaves like a robot, devoid of will, only concerned with not upsetting her precious Hollis (a bully and a sadist). Then, all of sudden, well after her daughter has left her, she realizes that Hollis is an abuser and that what he offers her (isolation, violence, control) is not love. For months she has refused to listen to the truth about Hollis (for example, that he beat his dead wife and let her die from pneumonia), so this sudden "revelation" comes a bit out of the blue and is not completely believable. I was happy to see her finally leave - in the night, like a thief, because she is afraid of the man who supposedly loves her - but I would have wished for a slow agony for Hollis. Hollis' only redeeming feature is that he has more or less provided for Hank, although he has only given him the bare essentials of life, no love or respect.
In conclusion, it was a good book and I think I will read more of this author, but it lacks the depth of Wuthering Heights in some parts, especially in the relationship between Hollis and March, which seems to be based only on sex and abuse - unlike the much more complicated relationship between Catherine and Heathcliffe.
Timeless- One of my favourites, a wonderful heart-touching read. I cried I cried I cried!
I'm surprised the other reviewers didn't comment on the fact that this is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. Like that novel, the story is really not a romance, but rather a tale of an abusive, obsessed and destructive relationship. There is no happy ending for the main characters. If you enjoy Alice Hoffman, then you should read this one as well.
Here is an author who continues to mesmerize her readers with stories of love that are darkly erotic, magical and always spellbinding.
Emily Brontee's Wuthering Heights on Viagra. Very upsetting if you are a classics lover. This book is just an excuse for a writer to capitalize on the work of a great writer.
The prose was beautiful as always with Alice Hoffman's work. I thought it was very well-written, especially in her ability to use every character and every action for a specific reason. It just wasn't for me. The subject material and the way it was approached was a little darker than I liked. I probably would have liked it if I had really felt a connection with any of the main characters. Without that connection, it made it really hard for me to wade through. A good book - just not for me. For a full review, head to my blog at OboeChica Books (so long and thanks for all the fish).
A well written and thought provoking story as we can always expect from this author. What happens when a father introduces a ‘cuckoo’ child into his family and into his community. The best of intentions, to rescue an orphan lead to his own son’s and daughter’s ultimate destruction and nearly destroys the next generation through his grandchildren. It is difficult to read about abuse of race horses, but there is no graphic detail and the insurance frauds are a reality that have allowed the bad apple, Hollis, to get enough money to buy the town that was kind to him and emasculate the men of the town through his relationships with their women. This is a haunting story which finally leads to redemption through the generosity of the grandson who is mature beyond his years.
I enjoyed this book, but it is darker than I thought it would be. Not really the love story I had imagined. I really felt sorry for some of the characters. If you like darker novels than you would like this book.
Disappointing read! It should have been called Hell on Earth. It really isn't a love story it is cruel manipulation.
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