Thursday, 11 January 2018

#BlogTour The Heights by Juliet Bell

Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the modern retelling of Wuthering Heights. It is an ode to Emily Brontë and this larger than life classic. Get ready for a Heathcliff and Cathy in our society with 20th century problems.
About the Author
Janet Bell is the pen name for writing duo Janet Gover and Alison May.
Alison May:
I was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now live in Worcester with one husband, no kids and no pets. There were goldfish once. That ended badly.

I’ve studied History and Creative Writing, and worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and a freelance trainer, before settling on ‘making up stories’ as an entirely acceptable grown-up career plan. I’m a qualified teacher in adult education, a member of the Society of Authors, and an experienced creative writing tutor, and I’m currently Vice-Chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

I’m a published commercial fiction author. I write short stories, novels and novellas, including the Christmas Kiss series, Midsummer Dreams, and Sweet Nothing. I won the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2012, and have been shortlisted in the RoNAs and the Love Stories Awards. I’m represented by Julia Silk (in association with MBA Literary).

Janet Gover:
After some fun-filled years at Queensland University (during which I passed the occasional exam), I became a television journalist, first in Australia, then in Asia and Europe. I got to see and do a lot of unusual things. I met some interesting people, including one Pope, at least three Prime Ministers, a few movie stars and a dolphin.

My first published novel, The Farmer Needs A Wife was released in 2009. It might not surprise you to learn that it was set in Australia and featured men on horses. I enjoying running workshops and teaching. Twice a year I lead writing retreats with fellow writer Alison May.

Janet Gover says:
This is a book I have dreamed of writing for years. I love Emily Brontë’s book and have read it many times. In doing this adaptation, I wanted to stay true to the darkness of the original book, and not be distracted by the common idea of Wuthering Heights as a great love story. Yes, it is a story of great passion – but it’s not love as we would know it, nor is Heathcliff a romantic hero.
I was so pleased to work with Alison on this book. She’s a terrific writer, and her background growing up not far from where the book is set was invaluable in doing justice to the time and place.
We’ve got another Juliet Bell book already underway – stay tuned for more on that.

Follow @JulietBellBooks the pen name for writing duo @janet_gover and @MsAlisonMay & @HQDigitalUK
Visit and
Buy The Heights

About the book
Two hundred years since Emily Brontë’s birth comes The Heights: a modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights set in 1980s Yorkshire.

The searchers took several hours to find the body, even though they knew roughly where to look. The whole hillside had collapsed, and there was water running off the moors and over the slick black rubble. The boy, they knew, was beyond their help.
This was a recovery, not a rescue.

A grim discovery brings DCI Lockwood to Gimmerton’s Heights Estate – a bleak patch of Yorkshire he thought he’d left behind for good. There, he must do the unthinkable, and ask questions about the notorious Earnshaw family. Decades may have passed since Maggie closed the pits and the Earnshaws ran riot – but old wounds remain raw. And, against his better judgement, DCI Lockwood is soon drawn into a story.

A story of an untameable boy, terrible rage, and two families ripped apart. A story of passion, obsession, and dark acts of revenge. And of beautiful Cathy Earnshaw – who now lies buried under cold white marble in the shadow of the moors.

A classic novel reimagined in a modern day setting, is perhaps not a new venture, but definitely an interesting one. As a reader you can either spend your time comparing one story to the other or you can cast aside the old and read the new with fresh eyes. Ask yourself if the new tale pulls you in or whether the old takes on a new life in the sort of futuristic setting.

Revamping an old tale, especially a classic one can be difficult. Generally the original source is one of great inspiration, which Wuthering Heights certainly is. The trick is keeping the essence of the story intact.

If you're familiar with both the original book and the very first films you may recognise some moments in the book. Here and there Bell replicates certain special scenes, perhaps in an attempt to connect the old with the new. An ode to Wuthering Heights if you will.

In The Heights, the modern day Cathy and Heathcliff live in a dump of a house, are subject to regular visits from social services, and their family is in the midst of the miner's strike and the battle between Thatcher and Scargill. Poverty, hunger, abuse and dysfunctional family dynamics are mirrored in this new retelling.
Wuthering Heights is often mislabelled as a great romance, in fact it is a tale of obsession. A destructive and possessive obsession between a neglected young man turned vengeful, and a young woman with a strong streak of narcissism.

Cathy is conniving and selfish, as per usual. She attaches herself to the first viable escape option she encounters. She cares nothing for those she leaves behind. They are but mere steps on her climb out of the hole she lives in. She doesn't even turn to notice that her companion in arms no longer walks beside her.

The narrator comes in the form of DCI Lockwood, who takes us through the story under the guise of solving crimes and finding some peace of mind when it comes to his own past with Heathcliff.

It perhaps lacks the intense obsession of the original book, however if you read this as a contemporary piece of fiction instead of the classic, everything is as it should be. The reality of the cold brusque 20th century in a town stripped of its identity, ravaged by poverty and conflict, the characters reflect the changes in modern society. There is no romanticism, instead in its place walk the Heathcliff and Cathy of today and not of times long gone.
Buy The Heights at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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