Review – Solsbury Hill
  • Posted:
  • March 14, 2014

Solsbury Hill

Solsbury Hill is an upcoming adult novel by Susan M. Wyler. It is a contemporary retelling of Wuthering Heights set in New York City and then Yorkshire, respectively. When you say the words Wuthering Heights and retelling together you are almost guaranteed to pique my curiosity. So, I requested and finally read this novel and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is, by no means, Wuthering Heights. But, it’s a great homage to the original, beloved classic, and that’s the best that a retelling can hope for. 

Eleanor is a twenty-seven year old knit wear designer living in New York City. She’s in a relationship with Miles, her best friend from childhood. One day a phone call, and a chance encounter in which Eleanor catches Miles cheating on her, forces Eleanor to uproot herself. Eleanor’s Aunt Alice, from England, is dying and Eleanor makes the decision to leave New York, her budding career, and Miles behind.

In Yorkshire she travels to Trent Hall, her family’s home for generations. Besides her Aunt, it is home to a  number of people, including Mead, an orphan who spends his time sprucing up the place. Mead’s current project is converting the ancient barn into a grand library to house all of the estate’s precious books. While in Trent Hall, Eleanor grows closer to her Aunt who tells her some family secrets, including a curse handed down through the women of the family – a curse that always has a woman of the family divided in love. The curse dictates that the women always choose the wrong man. Between secrets, ghosts, and the inconsistencies of her own heart, Eleanor faces a lot of unexpected situations.

Solsbury Hill is not a direct retelling. It is a shadow of the original book, which is utilized to underscore this book’s plot. There are elements that are very similar to the original, but overall the differences serve to divide one of the other. Much of the book surrounds an investigation of Emily Bronte’s infamous book. This technique makes this novel seem more self-aware than it should be.

Wyler paints a beautiful portrait of the moors, of a visiting ghost, of a woman falling into herself while simultaneously falling in love with her own Heathcliff. She paints a book of subtle heartbreak and growth and finding one’s place in the world. The biggest thing that Eleanor is searching for can be found anywhere, but she has to let herself understand what’s she’s looking for in order to become worthy of it – a true home; a hearth to warm herself by, and a heart by which to guide her life.

4 out of 5 stars.

– BP

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