I’m just going to come right out and say it.
Wuthering Heights is the worst. Right?
I hated it 12 years ago, when I read it in English Literature II, and I hated it this week, when I read it for my church book club. It is 385 pages of people being miserable, talking about being miserable, and making other people miserable because they are miserable. It is compelling, in the way that a really awful car accident is compelling. But mostly, it is the worst.
But, it’s so romantic, you may be saying. People, it is not. It is the story of a young man, treated terribly by his foster brother and sister, who spends the rest of his life systematically torturing that brother and brother’s son, as well as the sister’s husband, sister-in-law, daughter, and nephew (who is also his own son, since he actually marries the sister-in-law, the better to torture her and her family, of course). Coffins are dug up. Men drink themselves unconscious. Women weep and sneak around and starve themselves in protest.
Need another reason not to love this fright fest? It’s Bella and Edward’s favorite book. Do you want to be like Twilight‘s Bella? (Pro Tip: If your answer is yes . . . please give your self a time out.)
So. If you would like a book that is a little bit dark, and romantic, and has characters that don’t make you go all shouty on the Internet, allow me to recommend one. Or, in fact, five: The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.
These books–Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless–oh, my word, these books. It’s like Jane Austen meets P.G. Wodehouse, with vampires and werewolves and steampunk, oh, my. They have mystery. They have romance. They have humor. They have one of the funniest, toughest, most delightful heroines on the page. I’m telling you, Miss Alexia Tarrabotti would make Mr. Heathcliff tremble.
Carriger has created an alternative Victorian England and a wacky set of characters to inhabit it. These are quick, light reads, more compelling than Wuthering Heights but with much less weeping and gnashing of teeth. If you like the Twilight series . . . . well, this is nothing like that, but it does have vampires and werewolves, so give it a try!
What books do you love to hate, hate to love, or get all shouty about?