Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Solsbury Hill by Susan M Wyler

Solsbury Hill
By Susan M Wyler
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: The windswept moors of England, a grand rustic estate, and a love story of one woman caught between two men who love her powerfully—all inspired by Emily Bronte’s beloved classic, Wuthering HeightsSolsbury Hill brings the legend of Catherine and Heathcliff, and that of their mysterious creator herself, into a contemporary love story that unlocks the past.

When a surprise call from a dying aunt brings twenty-something New Yorker Eleanor Abbott to the Yorkshire moors, and the family estate she is about to inherit, she finds a world beyond anything she might have expected. Having left behind an American fiance, here Eleanor meets Meadowscarp MacLeod—a young man who challenges and changes her. Here too she encounters the presence of Bronte herself and discovers a family legacy they may share.

With winds powerful enough to carve stone and bend trees, the moors are another world where time and space work differently. Remanants of the past are just around a craggy, windswept corner. For Eleanor, this means ancestors and a devastating romantic history that bears on her own life, on the history of the novel Wuthering Heights, and on the destinies of all who live in its shadow.

Review: As a huge Wuthering Heights fanatic, I was so excited to read this book. I always love books that are inspired by my favorite classics, so I could wait to see how this story reflected my beloved tragic romance of Catherine and Heathcliff. 

When Eleanor Abbott learns that her Aunt is dying, she finds herself traveling from New York to the Yorkshire moors where a grand home full of history and haunted halls awaits. Leaving behind a life that was recently turned upside down, Eleanor is instantly intrigued by the home she is set to inherit, along with the warm and honest people inside. What comes with the home, though, is the curse of the women who have lived in that home, a home thought to be the inspiration for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. So when Eleanor meets Mead and is captivated by the young man, she has to discover for herself whether the legacy really is a part of who she is and if she'll be the first one to make the right decision in the end…

I wanted to love this book so much. First off, look how pretty the cover is. Then, add in inspiration from one of my favorite classics of all time, and it was a recipe for success. Unfortunately, I just couldn't really connect with the main character and drifted off during the many slow parts of the story. While I liked Eleanor in the beginning, I hated how she reacted to the even that happened to her shortly after the beginning of the novel. I know she was shocked and had to take a step back and really look at her life, but when that event came back up later in the novel when she was in England, she was really flippant over it all and I just wish she had more anger and emotion than she did. That whole situation just didn't really gel well with me. 

In addition to not being a fan of Eleanor's decisions in the novel, there were too many slow moments that lost my interest along the way of this novel. And while I sort of got the parallel with Wuthering Heights and this novel, I felt like it was a little forced at times. I thought that the ghosts were a bit strange and a bit distracting from Eleanor's story. I still don't quite understand the ghosts and how all of the hidden secrets she sort of found were never really fully explained, which made the connection with Emily Bronte confusing at times.

While I had high hopes for Solsbury Hill, it wasn't my favorite. I liked Eleanor enough, but I wish the elements of Wuthering Heights weren't so explicit and confusing. Sure, Eleanor had to "find herself" while visiting her dying Aunt and learns about love and life while there, but I wish there was just more to the novel than what I was left with in the end. 

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