What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix Book Review

Wuthering Heights has been a beloved classic for centuries. The turbulent relationship between the orphaned Heathcliff and his adopted sister Catherine has enthralled audiences since 1847.

What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix, by Tasha Suri, is a YA reboot of the novel. It was published last month.

In the late 1780s, Heathcliff is the son of an unknown lascar (a sailor from the then British colonies who made their living by working on European ships). Taken in by Mr. Earnshaw, a landowner from Yorkshire, he is immediately labeled as an outsider. Though he tries to remain true to his Indian roots, it creates an even bigger chasm between himself and the family he has been brought into.

Catherine is the younger Earnshaw child. From an early age, she knows what her future will be: marry a man of appropriate stature (and wealth) and bear his children. Even if it means hiding her true nature in the process and slowly dying inside.

Though they appear to be completely different on the surface, they have a bond that is deep and unbreakable. When Catherine’s father dies, everything changes, and not for the better. The cruel treatment that Heathcliff receives goes from 0 to 60 the minute that his adopted father is in the ground.

The question is, will they be themselves and build a life together? Or will they give into the expectations of the greater society around them?

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I was blown away by this book. It is one of my favorite books that I have read this year. Using Bronte’s original as source material, Suri takes the narrative in new directions. While delving into colonialism, racism, gender lines, and the strict class structure of the period, she gives the reader new insights into the characters. Like its sister novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, the world expands beautifully beyond the original text.

Most of it takes place in the three years after Catherine says that she cannot marry Heathcliff. While she is flirting with the idea of marrying Edgar Linton, he is doing everything he can to make his name and his fortune. Even if that means getting involved with some shady characters.

If I had to choose a favorite part of the book, it is when Hindley (Catherine’s brother) stops being a drunken brute for a minute and reveals secrets that their father would have preferred to remain buried.

My only warning is that I recommend reading Bronte’s original novel first.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix is available wherever books are sold.

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Small Island Book And Movie Review

World War II was a game changer in multiple ways.

For those who lived in the former British colonies, they hoped that the motherland would provide them with opportunities that they did not have at home.

Some would be sorely disappointed.

Andrea Levy’s novel, Small Island, focuses on four distinct characters, two of whom hope that World War II has opened doors for them.

In 1948, Hortense Joseph leaves Jamaica for London. Her husband, Gilbert, joined the British army and finds that after the war, despite his service, he is considered to be second class due to his skin color. Gilbert’s white landlady, Queenie is living with her father in law while her husband, Bernard is away, fighting for king and country. But when he returns from the war, Bernard is suffering from unresolved issues from the war.

In 2009, Small Island was made into a TV movie starring Naomi Harris as Hortense, David Oyelowo as Gilbert, Ruth Wilson as Queenie and Benedict Cumberbatch as Bernard.

I enjoyed both the book and the television adaptation. It sheds light on a subject that many are unaware of.  While the American civil rights movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s has become mythic in it’s own right, it is less known outside of Britain of the lives of it’s former colonists and their struggle to equality, acceptance and opportunities in the motherland.

I recommend both.

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