Author: April Lindner (Twitter)
Publish Date: January 2, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.
It should be said, first and foremost, that despite the fact that Wuthering Heights is a classic, I think much of the storyline actually escaped me as a reader. I simply don't think I understood the complexity of the novel, which was, in large part, why I was so very excited to read Catherine by April Lindner. Ms. Lindner has this innate ability to bring the classics to life in a way that makes me appreciate the original, while I'm becoming fully invested in the contemporary retelling. Crafting a story with a careful balance of new and old, these classical retellings simply dust off the cobwebs and bring the story back to life.
I often find with reimagined stories that authors lose crucial bits of their predecessors, which irreparably damage the novel. Catherine though, manages to hold fast to the integrity of the novel, but still manages to interject its in unique flair and flavour to what could have easily become a tired story. I found that much of the first half of the novel adhered rather strictly to that of Wuthering Heights, but once the story, the background and the mystery were set up, the story took on a bit of a life of its own, and taking us on a new sort of adventure that really helps us better understand the nature of the mystery.
Chelsea and Catherine were worthy characters in their own right in this novel, as well. Alternating between their voices by chapter, it was an interesting twist on the classic that offered me far better insight than the original, thus giving me much more of a reason to become invested in the novel. Catherine's point of view seemed to set the stage in the past for the events in the present, while Chelsea's voice moved the pace of the story and the mystery along, injecting it with life as the story progressed.
Reimagined classics will always face a bit of a dichotomy in their readership, if only because of those who are staunch supporters of the classics. What I enjoyed about Catherine is the fact that Ms. Lindner utilized her creative license in the best possible way by borrowing the most important pieces of Wuthering Heights, then interjecting them into an otherwise modern tale. By doing so, Catherine was transformed into a masterpiece in and of itself, alive with romance, drama, mystery and intrigue. Plus, while I had issues with some very unlikable characters in the classic. Ms. Lindner's characters are much more accessible and alive.
Overall, I think that Catherine might be Ms. Lindner's best retelling yet. While there are some implausible moments, and I think that Catherine and Chelsea sounded a bit too similar at times, I really, really enjoyed the story as a whole. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, and contemporary fiction - especially those who enjoy reimagined classics.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.