Solsbury Hill is an upcoming adult novel by Susan M. Wyler. It is a contemporary retelling of Wuthering Heights set in New York City and then Yorkshir...more Solsbury Hill is an upcoming adult novel by Susan M. Wyler. It is a contemporary retelling of Wuthering Heights set in New York City and then Yorkshire, respectively. When you say the words Wuthering Heights and retelling together you are almost guaranteed to pique my curiosity. So, I requested and finally read this novel and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is, by no means, Wuthering Heights. But, it’s a great homage to the original, beloved classic, and that’s the best that a retelling can hope for.
Eleanor is a twenty-seven year old knit wear designer living in New York City. She’s in a relationship with Miles, her best friend from childhood. One day a phone call, and a chance encounter in which Eleanor catches Miles cheating on her, forces Eleanor to uproot herself. Eleanor’s Aunt Alice, from England, is dying and Eleanor makes the decision to leave New York, her budding career, and Miles behind.
In Yorkshire she travels to Trent Hall, her family’s home for generations. Besides her Aunt, it is home to a number of people, including Mead, an orphan who spends his time sprucing up the place. Mead’s current project is converting the ancient barn into a grand library to house all of the estate’s precious books. While in Trent Hall, Eleanor grows closer to her Aunt who tells her some family secrets, including a curse handed down through the women of the family – a curse that always has a woman of the family divided in love. The curse dictates that the women always choose the wrong man. Between secrets, ghosts, and the inconsistencies of her own heart, Eleanor faces a lot of unexpected situations.
Solsbury Hill is not a direct retelling. It is a shadow of the original book, which is utilized to underscore this book’s plot. There are elements that are very similar to the original, but overall the differences serve to divide one of the other. Much of the book surrounds an investigation of Emily Bronte’s infamous book. This technique makes this novel seem more self-aware than it should be.
Wyler paints a beautiful portrait of the moors, of a visiting ghost, of a woman falling into herself while simultaneously falling in love with her own Heathcliff. She paints a book of subtle heartbreak and growth and finding one’s place in the world. The biggest thing that Eleanor is searching for can be found anywhere, but she has to let herself understand what’s she’s looking for in order to become worthy of it – a true home; a hearth to warm herself by, and a heart by which to guide her life.
Of Metal and Wishes is an upcoming Gothic Young Adult novel by Sarah Fine. The book is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux set it...more Of Metal and Wishes is an upcoming Gothic Young Adult novel by Sarah Fine. The book is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux set it in a slaughterhouse. This novel is a stand alone.
Wen works alongside her father, Guiren, in the Gochan One, a slaughterhouse that supplies much of the surrounding area’s meat products. Wen assists Guiren, a doctor, as his nurse. While doing this all of her needs are met by the factory, though Gochan One extracts a heavy debt from its occupants. Wen tries to forget her Mother and embrace this new and strange life even as she is becoming more obliged to the factory.
During this time a group of outsiders become employed at Gochan One; the Noor. The Noor are perceived as barbarians and imbeciles and Wen tries to keep away from them. But an accident draws her to Melik, the outspoken rust-haired man who makes Wen forget herself. Just as their friendship begins to blossom Wen gets drawn into a mystery of Gochan One; that of a factory Ghost and his connections to many of the inner workings of the slaughterhouse.
It took me two-thirds of this book to recall that this was a Phantom retelling. I must have known at one point and forgotten this crucial detail. As a result the realization that this book was Phantom hit me out of the blue, and when it did the enlightenment was amazing. I was already in love with this book by the reveal and knowing that it was Phantom made me giddy. From that point on it was up to Fine to put all of the elements into place… and she did that very well. This is a story that doesn’t get retold often, a story that I unabashedly love for many years now. This is one of those literary areas where authors need to tread very carefully upon while reworking this tale. Fine hit the notes, she did the deed, and she made me a believer. This is a flawless retelling.
There are other things that Fine adds to flesh out the existing story – the social conflict with the Noors, the fear and the corruption of bigotry, the oppressive tyrannical underboss, Mugo… All of these elements breathed new life into the story of the Phantom. The mythos behind the ghost was also beautifully told as well. Fine handled him with a deft hand that makes him sympathetic and believable. His relationship with Wen is tender and sweet when it needs to be and equally terrifying when it has to be. The homage that she pays to both Erik and Leroux is both striking and heartfelt.
A Wounded Name is a debut novel by Dot Hutchison releasing this September. The book is a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm g...more
A Wounded Name is a debut novel by Dot Hutchison releasing this September. The book is a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm going to presume that many of you know the original story so I will not completely rehash it. I prefer instead to talk about Hutchison's brilliant take on it. The book is told in first person from Ophelia's point of view as she shares the events leading up to the tragic end of the Prince of Denmark. It is a title that I expect to hear more about, particularly since the early responses have been so favorable. I'm not even going to tease on this one - I loved it... every word. I thought it was fantastic.
This book... wow... this book.
Ophelia Castellan has always feared that she would succumb to her dead Mother's legacy, a grim future of madness and promiscuity. The fears are not isolated to her alone. Her Father, Polonius, and older brother, Laertes, maintain an ever-watchful vigilance over both Ophelia's virtue and sanity. But they never factored Hamlet Danemark VI, known as Dane to his friends, into the equation.
Dane's father, the head of the illustrious Elsinore Academy, has died suddenly. This sends Elsinore into an uproar, but none are as shattered as Dane. Dane is stricken by this and in his grief he turns to Ophelia for comfort. This single act sets off a series of events that will draw them both to the brink of madness and beyond, particularly when Dane comes to learn that his father's death may have been prevented.
I was immediately drawn into the world that Hutchison was painstakingly recreating. Within a page I knew that I was going to like her style. Her writing is solid, beautiful, and rife with deliciously quotable passages. Her use of metaphor and word-play is perfect. I found myself rereading lines and sharing them aloud to others amazed that this was her first novel. The level of craftsmanship that went into this is unbelievable. It's obvious that this book has been a labour of love for her. It shows with every nuance in characterization, with the attention to thematic elements, and, most importantly, in the wild, runaway chemistry between Ophelia and Dane.
Here Ophelia is gorgeously rendered; the dynamic woman of myth and fantasy that Shakespeare only hinted at. Hutchison gives her so many new levels - she's troubled, she's sneaky, she's loyal and she's kind. She's also devoted and strong and weak and knows her limitations. She is the heart and soul of the play and in this book she finally gets the spotlight that she has deserved for the last four centuries. One feels every emotion as if they were there with her, holding her hand and spurning her into the water yourself. My heart broke repeatedly for her with every foreshadowed allusion to her end and then broke again... and again... and again.
There's a chaotic beauty to her relationship with Dane. Dane himself is a masterpiece of characterization, a wondrous glitch. Dane is the kind of man that a reader sympathizes with despite his obvious and distasteful flaws. Dane is self-absorbed, he's singularly minded, and he's manipulative without realizing that he is. He's the ultimate user and Ophelia is merely the drug that he abuses... and abuses her he does, both mentally and physically. There are some haunting, brutal, painful scenes in this book. And yet the reader forgives him just as Ophelia does, accepts that he has his problems, and let's him get away with his callous whims. It's not that he's a particularly good boyfriend or anything, far from it. He's gets away with murder... until he doesn't. And he drags Ophelia along for the ride, every tragic turn of it.
This is the love story that I love to read; a doomed one. I'm a sucker for torturous beauty and impossibilities when it comes to romantic plot lines. To me there is no better romantic ending than two lovers who don't live happily ever after. This play has always fulfilled that element for me in multiple ways. Hutchison's execution of this tragedy goes beyond my expectations. I gritted my teeth for the entire book but my lips were still smiling. It's such a rough ride but it's worth every heart-wrenching, aching second. I'm not sure who Hutchison was writing this book for but I swear she was directing it at my kind. I'm so in love with her words.
I encourage fans of Laini Taylor, April Lindner, and Tessa Gratton to go immediately and pre-order this book. I think you won't be disappointed. This is a definite favourite of the year. It's going on my shelves and never leaving them.