Wuthering Heights is the book that readers love to hate. It’s a very complicated and detailed look at the deconstruction of two people who are just not good for each other and the havoc that they wreak on each other’s lives. It was a book that I couldn’t put down, and for that reason, I chose to review Abide with Me, which held many of the same hallmarks of the original yet was still very versatile and new. It was a book that was rich in its darkness and very impressive in its plot revolutions. Roy Murphy is the modern day Heathcliff. He’s dark, edgy, and he loves from a deep part of himself that chooses never to share with the people around him. His love is brooding and bruising.
Emma has never stopped being the good girl. Her folly with Roy was just that, and now she has moved on to remove the tarnish from her family’s name with a high power career and a husband who is calm, steady and neutral. Emma hides her love for Roy so deeply inside herself that even she has been unaware of it for so long. But the night that he shows up at the engagement party, things begin to unravel for her. She tries to avoid him, to hate him, and to remove any impact from her life that he may have. But in her heart, she knows she can’t avoid him forever, and takes herself far from him to remove temptation. Roy is like a cancer that grows and grows inside her, feeding off old memories and new improvements. He is the seed in her that is hidden under the frost, waiting to bloom.
Like Wuthering Heights, this book is a tragedy, but not in the traditional ways one might think. There are new worries: financial solvency, PTSD, and the cruel way that Roy deals with the people in his life, even, sometimes, Emma. But there is light here too. Roy’s love for his commander, who becomes a father figure to him and teaches him to delight in the knowledge that he was so void of before. His undying passion for a woman who he knows he should not have, and the woman that comes between them like a splinter of rebuke. It’s a well built tale, and one that modern readers can relate to.
I thought this book was extremely well crafted and that it took a very sharp deviation from the original story of Wuthering Heights, but it remained, in essence, a transfixing book that was not only resplendent in love but in suffering as well. If you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, this makes no difference. One book can be enjoyed without the other, but if you do read both, you will see the modern day equivalent of a masterpiece of literature.
This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.