When I first heard about Susan M. Wyler's novel, Solsbury Hill, I was immediately drawn in by the cover. I LOVE IT. Then, once I got past the gorgeous cover, the synopsis intrigued me a little more. I was a bit hesitant to read this one as I'm hit or miss when it comes to Gothic novels. In the end, I didn't love the book but I didn't hate it either.
Here's the synopsis:
The windswept moors of England, a grand rustic estate, and a love story of one woman caught between two men who love her powerfully—all inspired by Emily Bronte’s beloved classic, Wuthering Heights. Solsbury Hill brings the legend of Catherine and Heathcliff, and that of their mysterious creator herself, into a contemporary love story that unlocks the past.
When a surprise call from a dying aunt brings twenty-something New Yorker Eleanor Abbott to the Yorkshire moors, and the family estate she is about to inherit, she finds a world beyond anything she might have expected. Having left behind an American fiance, here Eleanor meets Meadowscarp MacLeod—a young man who challenges and changes her. Here too she encounters the presence of Bronte herself and discovers a family legacy they may share.
With winds powerful enough to carve stone and bend trees, the moors are another world where time and space work differently. Remanants of the past are just around a craggy, windswept corner. For Eleanor, this means ancestors and a devastating romantic history that bears on her own life, on the history of the novel Wuthering Heights, and on the destinies of all who live in its shadow.
I am not a Wuthering Heights fan. At all. I've even read it twice! (Not by choice...it was for two separate English assignments. One in high school and one in university.) Maybe I just don't get it...don't understand the so-called grand love story in it. But, even knowing my severe dislike for the novel, I wanted to give Solsbury Hill a try. It's not trying to be like Wuthering Heights. It's connected to the classic novel because of the location (the moors! the old house!) and the family history. Bronte fans will like the similarities between the novels but non-Wuthering Heights fans, like myself, can still find enjoyment in the story.
One of the big things keeping me from loving this book was the way it was written. It was divided into parts instead of chapters (there were four parts and an epilogue in total) and I wasn't always sure why the parts needed to be differentiated. It didn't always seem like there was a difference or a change from one part to the next. The other thing was just some of the phrasing. It was a little choppy and I sometimes felt like I was missing information. For example, early on in the book, Eleanor describes her friend Violet, who she and Miles were going to see. But then all of a sudden they're at Eleanor's apartment and I had no idea what had just happened.
The story in Solsbury Hill was what kept me reading to the end of the novel. I was intrigued by the ghost Eleanor was seeing and the information she learned from her. I wanted to know what Eleanor would do - would she stay in England? Would she end up with Miles or Mead? The mystery and intrigue kept me reading but it wasn't quite enough to make me fall in love with the book.
Overall, Solsbury Hill was a good read. I think others would really like Susan M. Wyler's novel, especially those who are Wuthering Heights/Bronte/Gothic fans.
*A copy of this novel was received by the publicist in exchange for review consideration.*