Of the three Bronte sisters, Emily wrote only one book, Wuthering Heights, and it was a corker. Set on the Yorkshire moors, this was not the ultra-romantic tale you might have expected from the movie versions. No, these people are feral, and there is but a sliver of difference between love and hate in their hearts.
So a brief summary. There are two properties on the Yorkshire moors – Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights as a foundling (implied to be a gypsy) and ends up as its master. Catherine Earnshaw, the pampered daughter of the owner of Thrushcross Grange and Heathcliff meet up, and it basically goes downhill from there. There is TRU WOVE, but Catherine ends up not marrying Heathcliff, because she is basically a petty bitch, but he don’t care. She dies in childbirth, and we get Cathy, a replica of her mom, temperament wise at least. The two families mostly separate for eighteen years or so, until Cathy is orphaned and Heathcliff schemes to leave her destitute as revenge.
The narrator of all this is a rather odd choice, Nelly Dean, housekeeper. She goes back and forth between the two estates, and ends up being the only person everyone can seem to tolerate. Which is why, of course, she knows everything and can lay it all out to an invalided temporary tenant of Thrushcross Grange, who can’t get enough of high drama on the moors. As an indicator of the character of these folks, Nelly walks in on a young lad hanging puppies from the back of a chair, but only tsks sternly. Certainly not the worst she’s seen from this lot. And when Cathy’s father dies, and they are preparing to bury him next to his wife, the late Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff manages to sneak in and open up her coffin to embrace her, exclaiming she hasn’t changed at all. Been dead for eighteen years mind you. Alrighty, back away slowly….
The edition that I have is a discarded library book published 1943, with stains and a fair amount of wear, but the most glorious wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg. They are dark and grim and broadly etched, and are totally perfect.
Why would I give this a five star rating? Because there is nothing else like it.