SOLSBURY HILL by Susan M. Wyler


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" 'Tis wutherin' weather," comments the implausible manservant in Wyler's debut, giving the reader fair warning of this wispy, occasionally farcical reinterpretation of the Brontë family legend and classic.

With its cover announcing "a novel of Wuthering Heights," this offbeat, sometimes-surreal romance makes no secret of its intentions, especially when introducing its hero, Meadowscarp Macleod. "You know a meadow is a heath and a scarp is a cliff. Do you see?" asks Aunt Alice. But American clothes designer Eleanor Abbott doesn't immediately see, being preoccupied with ghosts; the heartbreaking unfaithfulness of her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend-since-schooldays, Miles; and the imminent death of Alice, whose passing means Trent Hall in Yorkshire will be Eleanor's. Her female ancestors are reputed to have a history/curse of making the wrong choice when deciding between two competing lovers. Could Eleanor herself be about to make a mistake, opting between leather-and-heather scented Meadowscarp and smooth Miles? Wyler's Yorkshire is a peculiarly unreal place, heavily detailed with furnishing fabrics—velvet and cashmere in particular—and where the locals speak a bizarre dialect. There is much striding on the moors. Not only does the ghost of Emily Brontë direct Eleanor to a cache of hidden letters contradicting literary scholarship by proving that the Victorian author knew all about passion, but Wyler goes a step further, granting her heroine a permanent place in the Brontë lineage, as well as enough self-knowledge to make the right choice.

A preposterous but at moments oddly beguiling love story blessed with very good shabby-chic taste.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-59463-236-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2014


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