Books We Love is a regular fortnightly feature here at Book Chick City. It’s where we discuss our favourite books; the books we absolutely love and adore, would recommend over and over, and will keep forever on our bookshelves. I hope you enjoy and find some new-to-you books and authors to read. You can view the full schedule HERE.
My guest today is Laura, who I’m sure you all know by now is BCC’s new regular guest reviewer. I thought I would start my new feature with Laura so we could all get to know her a little more. She will also be kicking off The Blogger’s Bookshelf too, which is coming soon, so don’t miss that. I agree with everything Laura says in her post as I adore Wuthering Heights, it is one of my most favourite books ever, and I know many would disagree, but I see it as one of the greatest romances ever written, albeit a tortured one.
So without further ado, I give you Laura and the books she loves…
When I first began thinking about this feature, I had no idea where to start. With so many amazing books out there how can I pick one, or even two?
After careful consideration and a couple of revisions, I decided to be slightly greedy and have chosen three.
1. ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Emily Brontë
I first read ‘Wuthering Heights’ when I was studying for my English A Level, and was quick to discover this was far from the Austen-style novel I anticipated. But was instead swept into a dark love story set on the turbulent Yorkshire moors.
It follows the story of the Earnshaw family, but is centrally about the tragic love story between their daughter Catherine and a orphan boy they take in at the beginning of the novel: Heathcliff.
Life as a child in the Earnshaw household is cruel for Heathcliff. Continuously abused and humiliated by Cathy’s brother Hindley, his only escape is his relationship with Catherine. Their love for one another is elemental and unorthodox. However, misunderstanding a conversation he over hears between Catherine and their housekeeper Nelly, Heathcliff believes that his love in reciprocated, and spurned he leaves.
Years later he returns, a distinguished and successful gentleman intent on revenge and kicks off a sequence of events that makes this a dark, classic story like no other. At times it’s hard to like Catherine and Heathcliff, they are flawed and selfish and seemingly uncaring of anyone other than themselves. Their volatile relationship seeks to destroy not only themselves but everyone around them.
The bleak setting of the moors is central to the story, at times mirroring the desperation and intensity of Heathcliff and Catherine’s affair.
When I was studying, I had two very inspirational teachers who took us on a field trip to the moors, and I became submerged in the stunning surroundings. In fact, my passion for this book is so great, that when I was lucky enough to be able to do a degree in English, I did my final thesis on the novels of all three Brontë sisters. As a quick side note Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is an amazing book too if it has somehow bypassed your repertoire too.
In summary, ‘Wuthering Heights’ is a an all-encompassing, wild and at times cruel and destructive love story. It is not only a literary classic, but a must-read. An utterly breathtaking novel. I defy you not to shudder when Cathy proclaims “I am Heathcliff!”
2. ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ – Audrey Niffeneger
I bought ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ on a whim at one of those tiny book shops they have a train stations, when I had some time to kill after missing my train. The title got my attention with my love of all things supernatural, and the back cover only served to intrigue me further.
It was one of those books you start reading without really knowing what to expect. But after the first few pages I could hardly bear to put it down.
The book tells the story of Henry DeTamble, a man who suffers from a genetic disease that causes him to spontaneously time travel. When Henry travels he has no idea where or what time he’s going to arrive. The implications of his disease are complex are far reaching. But, while the time travel part is fascinating and imaginative, what makes the story for me is the relationship between Henry and his wife Clare.
At the beginning of the book when Claire introduces herself to the unwitting Henry in Newark library you are captivated. You see, Henry has never met her before, whilst Claire has known Henry all her life. And this begins the story of a sometimes troubled, but very different and magical love story.
I devoured the book in a day after purchasing it sinking into the pages. I’m not usually much of a crier when it comes to books or films, but I sobbed my heart out when it was finished.
This is one of the books I desperately recommend to everyone, wanting to share my love of it with all.
3. ‘Bitten’ – Kelley Armstrong
I don’t know if I would say that ‘Bitten’ is my favourite urban fantasy book, although it is certainly in my top five. With the first Anita Blake books by Laurell K Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison & Ilona Andrews it would be very hard to chose who would hit the top spot. But it was the very first book of this genre that I ever read, so it holds a special place in my heart and on my bookshelves.
When it comes to books, whatever genre I’m reading, if you haven’t been able to tell already, I’m always a little disappointed if it doesn’t have a good love story. And ‘Bitten’ doesn’t disappoint.
‘Bitten’ is narrated by Elena Michaels, in a world where the werewolf gene passes from father to son, she is the only surviving female werewolf. The book begins in Toronto where Elena is living with her new human partner and has fled the confines of her pack and werewolf lover Clay.
However, when the pack’s alpha calls in a favour, Elena returns home, where she has to confront her past and inevitably her future.
The relationship between Clay and Elena is complicated. Unable to forgive Clay for what was the ultimate betrayal in Elena’s eyes and an act of love in Clay’s, their differences seem insurmountable. They share the archetypal love/hate dynamic, but it sizzles and smokes all the way through the book. Clay is taciturn, dark and entirely anti-social but makes a sultry and entirely rugged hero.
Life as a werewolf isn’t simple and it’s the small details that Kelley Armstrong includes in the story that makes it so engaging. From the dark alleyways and woods from a wolf’s point of view to the realism of the shift: not glamorous like it’s often depicted, but gory and painful.
New to the urban fantasy genre, suddenly I was reading books set in contemporary society where the extraordinary exist in the ordinary world, and the line between good and evil is deliciously blurred. I remember during one naive, jaw dropping moment thinking the good guys don’t kill people & hide the bodies in the woods… do they?
From then in I was submerged into thrilling worlds where heroes and heroines were dark, troubled and at times macabre. My appetite for this genre has been insatiable since.