(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The occasional attempt to write modern sequels, prequels, or fill-ins for classic best-sellers is fraught with danger. There is often such magic in the creation of a Scarlett O’Hara or a Heathcliff that the reader’s thirst to know more about these larger-than-life fictional characters is inevitably disappointed.

In this her first novel, Ph.D. candidate and literature teacher Lin Haire-Sargeant pays homage to two great gothic romance icons of the nineteenth century — Emily Bronte, creator of Heathcliff and Cathy; and Charlotte Bronte, creator of Jane Eyre and Rochester.

The basic premise of this convoluted contrivance is that Charlotte Bronte meets a man named Lockwood, who shares with her a novel-length letter from a man named Heathcliff, written to a woman named Cathy, but kept from her by her housekeeper Ellen Dean. Now you won’t know these folks unless you have read WUTHERING HEIGHTS; but then you probably won’t want to read this novel anyway unless you have read WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

In the letter, Heathcliff explains where he was and what he did after that fateful night when he ran away from Wuthering Heights an uncouth young stableboy only to return three years later a dignified and wealthy gentleman. However, Heathcliff away from Cathy is a not-very-interesting boor; and nineteenth century prose style as rendered by a twentieth century academic is predictably deadly dull.

Consequently, you will read the first three quarters of this book with eyes half-lidded in bemused boredom; however, if you are familiar with the creations of Emily and Charlotte, you will read the last quarter with eyes wide open in amused amazement.