My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fresh reimagining of the story behind one of the most renowned couples in literature.
Author Tasha Suri takes the literary classic, Wuthering Heights, and reimagines the backstory of Heathcliff, Catherine, and her family, breathing new life into this polarizing tale of gothic trauma. The story is set when Heathcliff has fled The Heights, and Cathy has been left behind to agonize over where he's gone and what's happened to him. Events from the original tale are recounted and take on new life and meaning with the telling. Suri's story is presented from Catherine's and Heathcliff's points of view, giving an understandable heft to the reasons for their sometimes-murky relationship in the original. If you were left wanting after reading Brontë's story, this envisioning might give you some satisfaction.Suri explores the shadowy details of the period Heathcliff is absent from The Heights, later revealed in the original story to be when he is amassing his fortune. The story follows him to Liverpool and into the seamy underbelly of the port city, where poverty and press gangs are all-encompassing. The author weaves the results of Britain's colonial history in India on its people into the story as Heathcliff comes to understand who he is. At the same time, Catherine also comes to realize her own hidden heritage as she and her brother, Hindley, attempt to lay the ghosts of their father's past wrongdoings.
The audiobook version is voiced by Becca Hirani as Catherine and Alex Williams as Heathcliff. They breathe life into these characters, imbuing each with a personality that gives the listener a fresh new perspective on what's driving their actions. The audiobook's cover is beautifully moody but depicts these two as older than they are during the story's events. As the story ends on a more hopeful note than the source materials, is this an additional nudge in the direction that things work out differently for them?Touted as one of the greatest, most legendary love stories of all time, Wuthering Heights often eludes and disappoints modern young adult readers. Like many classic works, it has both its fans and foes. Depending on the reason for their dissatisfaction, Suri's version may very well ease some of the latter group into the former, with its updated dialogue and delivery, more revealing first-person points of view, and its fresh underpinning based on the main characters' secret, hidden ancestries.
I recommend What Souls Are Made Of to readers who enjoyed Wuthering Heights or wanted to but were left disappointed and those who enjoy YA historical fiction, especially that featuring a portrayal of the immigrant experience in 18th-century Britain.I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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