Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catherine by April Lindner

Summary (from Goodreads):
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
It has been a very long time since I have read Wuthering Heights. There are certain parts of the book that a girl can never forget though. There’s the dark/romantic Heathcliff, there’s the cruel brother, and of course there’s the intensely gothic backdrop of the moors. I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to like a NYC modern-day telling of the classic. However, I loved Lindner’s other retelling of Jane, so I had somewhat high hopes.
It was so easy to see Heathcliff as a brooding rockstar. And while at first the replacement of Wuthering Heights with a club in NYC wasn’t ideal for me, I eventually got into the flow of things. It makes sense that so many guys would try to get an in with Catherine’s father. And it would make sense that Catherine’s father would hire aspiring musicians. I hated Catherine’s brother possibly even more in this retelling than in the original. I almost can’t even understand how he can be related to the free-spirited Catherine.
But beyond the classic versus modern comparisons, that I can probably keep making for hours, were the added bonuses of the story. I loved the duel perspectives of Catherine in the past, and her daughter in the present. Chelsea never held my interest quite like Catherine did, though who could? I wanted to know Chelsea more. I get that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. And I get that she wanted to learn what truly happened to her disappearing mother. But, what else is there to her? I felt like her character just didn’t have the depth I was looking for. What was she interested in? Who was she without this mystery?
 I did find the mystery very compelling. It’s kind of like Lindner turned Wuthering Heights into an urban fiction murder mystery YA novel. And while I knew (from reading the classic)-SPOILER OF THE CALSSIC- that there was no possible way for Chelsea’s mom to be alive, I did need to know what happened to her just as badly as Chelsea did. I just didn’t have as much optimism or hope. And while the classic lead me to know some of the finer details of the mystery, there were also so many changes to the plot with this telling, that I wasn’t 100% sure on how exactly everything would end up going down. This bonus mystery made the whole story/clue solving that much more interesting. And wow, this book had a seriously interesting conclusion (as did the classic).
Overall, it was fun revisiting old characters. The setting was fabulous. All of the concert scenes and band rehearsals were described so well that I felt like I was there. There’s this overwhelming love of writing and poetry throughout the book that was pretty awesome too. The mystery was compelling, even to a lover of the original plot. The romance was sizzling. I wish I got to know Chelsea a little bit better. Though, I definitely felt like I knew the other characters rather well. I give this a 9/10. I highly recommend it to Bronte fans.

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