By Alison Case
‘Audacious’, ‘a page-turner’ and ’ has the makings of a feminist classic’ INDEPENDENT A gripping and heartbreaking novel that reimagines life at Wuthering Heights through the eyes of the Earnshaws’ loyal servant, Nelly Dean.Tweet
It's many years since I read Wuthering Heights and I wondered if my memory of the book and limited awareness of the housekeeper character would reduce my enjoyment. In fact I felt you would gain as much satisfaction whether or not you'd even read the "original".
This was a fascinating dip into history with the relationships between servants and their masters and the realities of life on a poorer estate at the fore. The way Nelly and her mother made their way through life and in which Nelly was treated as a chattel without feelings at times was a fascinating study of the age.
I found it a compelling read and highly recommend this book.
It is possible to enjoy Nelly Dean without having read Wuthering Heights but a little background knowledge would enhance your reading experience. Alison Case tells us the story of Nelly Dean the housekeepers daughter, from her early days sharing lessons with Cathy and Hindley through the arrival of Heathcliffe and beyond to her days as housekeeper. The book does not simply recount Emily Bronte's novel but it takes us in a different direction looking at life through Nelly's eyes.
This book adds some background to Wuthering Heights. It is an easy read but, for me, does not add convincingly to the original. Perhaps it is the case that a much loved work stands the test of time and attempts to add to the story will pale by comparison.