Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights.
Booklist Reviews 2015 December #1
*Starred Review* The inhabitants of Wuthering Heights are reborn in this new view of the Brontë classic. The emphasis shifts from the tempestuous relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights to a more solid love between Nelly and Hindley, the Earnshaws' eldest child. Nelly, whose mother is Mrs. Earnshaw's dearest friend, is raised at Wuthering Heights as part of the Earnshaw family until she is temporarily banished in an incident soon after Heathcliff arrives. She returns in the status of a servant. She and Hindley are childhood companions who become teenage lovers and intend to marry, a plan thwarted by their parents for a reason revealed only in the closing pages. So Nelly deals with her anger and pain when Hindley brings home his bride, Frances, and then mothers their infant son, Hareton, when consumptive Frances dies soon after giving birth. Instead of the gothic drama and passion of Brontë, Case's first novel provides an emotionally balanced account, filling in some gaps and featuring strong, smart Nelly, who is her own woman despite living by the mores of her time. A fast-moving pleasure, this novel is a likely draw for book clubs and a must for Brontë fans. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2015 October #1
Debut author Case crafts a masterly reimagining of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights by casting Nelly Dean, the housekeeper, as the central character, with Heathcliff and Cathy in peripheral roles. Nelly grows up with the Earnshaw children, practically a member of the family, until the master brings home young Heathcliff, pushing Nelly onto the path of dedicated servant to the only family she has ever wanted. Like Brontë's novel, Nelly's story is full of passion, violence, betrayal, revenge, and especially suffering as she endures the thoughtless cruelty of the gentry she serves. To see the familiar characters of this classic through the eyes of Nelly, who knows all their fears and faults so well, is an eye-opening experience. But is she a reliable narrator, given prejudices engendered by her callous treatment at the hands of those she loves? VERDICT Case's skilled reworking of Brontë's masterpiece is a fabulous companion to the original as well as a wonderful stand-alone read. Brontë fans and readers who delight in literary fiction fashioned as 19th-century novels will eagerly snap up this book—and may be tempted to reread Wuthering Heights just for the pleasure of comparing the two novels. Perfect for book clubs.—Barbara Clark-Greene, Groton P.L., CT[Page 66]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2015 November #2
Case's debut novel is a leisurely paced, highly ambitious, and somewhat overlong work based on Emily Brontë's classic Wuthering Heights. The housekeeper Nelly Dean retells the popular saga in a lengthy, chatty letter addressed to Mr. Lockwood, who briefly rented the nearby Thrushcross Grange estate before leaving for Italy and later London. Fourteen-year-old Nelly lives with the affluent Earnshaws at Wuthering Heights and plays with their children, Hindley and Cathy, when the "queer, filthy" orphan lad Heathcliff is adopted into the family. After Mr. Earnshaw expels Nelly for her dereliction of duty, her mother, Mary, intercedes to have her rehired as a paid house servant and rescues her from the attacks of her violent father, Tom. As the years pass, Nelly grows more intertwined with the Earnshaws' dysfunctional household, through her pregnancy with Hindley, his empty promise to marry her, and her miscarriage. Fortunately, she befriends her family doctor's son, the level-headed Bodkin, who sagely says to her that "you are not obliged to keep working here." Passionate fans of Brontë's masterpiece will find much to admire in Case's richly textured novel, while casual readers may find the pace too plodding and the gold-hearted Nelly too accommodating. (Feb.)[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC