If there is one thing I learned from reading Wuthering Heights it is that you can like a book without really liking any of the main characters. Wuthering is a tragic love story of sorts. It centers on Catherine, daughter of Mr. Earnshaw who owns the manor Wuthering Heights, and Heathcliff the orphan he brings home who never quite fits in. Heathcliff and Cathy are the greatest of friends in childhood and remain so throughout most of their lives. The friendship blossoms into love but they are fated not to be together as Heathcliff comes from nothing and instead of following her heart, Cathy marries Edgar Linton whose acquaintance she made while on an adventure with Heathcliff. When Heathcliff realizes he will never have Cathy he does everything he can to push a wedge between her and Edgar including running off with Edgar's sister Isabella which causes Cathy such emotional distress that she never recovers.
What follows is Cathy's tragic death which turns Heathcliff's soul black and he devotes the rest of his days trying to seek revenge on Edgar for taking her affections away. He uses all those around him to achieve his means including his own son by Isabella and Cathy and Edgar's daughter Cathy.
Ulitmately the story does have somewhat of a happy ending as Heathcliff's plans to take over the lives of everyone around him and gain their money for himself is thwarted by his death and an unexpected love blossoms.
The entire story of Heathcliff and Cathy is related by Mrs. Dean, the housekeeper who has been at Wuthering Heights for the entire time. The tone of the entire book is so melancholy that you begin to wonder if anything good will ever happen to anyone. Heathcliff is such a vile character. It seems he cares for no one but himself but his actions stem from losing the one love of his life.
The book held my interest because I kept wondering to what lengths Heathcliff would go to achieve his ambitions and also wondering if any of the other characters would grow a backbone and oppose him. I think it was definitely worth a read because it was a different kind of love story. In most of the other books I have read with love as a theme, I rooted for both of the main characters to overcome the obstacles that prevented their being together. Here I didn't have that same feeling. You know its a doomed love and are certain it will never be but you feel compelled to see where it ends up anyway.
Interestingly, this is the only book ever published by Emily Bronte before her death. It was published under the name Ellis Bell, a generic name so people might think she was a main and give credence to the work. The novel was originally a complete failure and didn't gain attention until it was re-released after Emily's death.
If the FTC is wondering: This book is from my own personal library