Catherine by April Lindner Review

Monday, December 16, 2013

Title: Catherine
Author: April Lindner (Twitter)
Publisher: Poppy
Publish Date: January 2, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

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.


  1. When I looked at that cover, I was sure this was a dystopian novel, but you completely surprised me by mentioning that it was a re-telling.
    I'm not the biggest fan of those, but I think I might enjoy this judging from the blurb and your review, Melissa. I like that the author used ideas from the classic and still managed to make it her own. It definitely shows her talent.
    Lovely review.

    1. It's actually done pretty well, Nick, and April has a really poetic way of writing. I think it's worth the read :)

  2. I can't remember Wuthering Heights for the life of me Melissa. I think that would be part of the fun of reading this one, trying to jog my memory of the original while enjoying the reimagined elements. And anything you give this high a rating to I have no choice but to take note of! MUST READ:)

  3. I've really wanted to read Jane. I have it, but can't seem to get to it. I might read Catherine but like Jenny, above, I read Wuthering Heights soooo long ago, I don't really remember much. Great review (and reminder!)

  4. It sure sounds so cool, I do wanna tr these

  5. I haven't read Wuthering Heights in a very long time and I remember I wasn't the biggest fan, although I definitely appreciated it since it is a classic and all. :) I should check out Catherine--it sounds even better than the original and a fun, modern re-telling. I will be adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the great review.

  6. I might start with this instead of Jane, only because I'm not as big a fan of Wuthering Heights as I am of Jane Eyre and, considering my critical eye on classic re-tellings, this will probably work out better for me. Great review, Melissa!(:

  7. I am not a huge fan of Wuthering Heights. I hate how Cathy and Heathcliff become towards each other. So I think I might enjoy this one more. I love retellings and reading how the author views the classic novel and their spin on it. This one sounds phenomenal. Great review Melissa!!

  8. Rachel actually sent me a copy of Jane, she was really impressed with Lindner's retelling abilities, so I'm glad to see that Lindner once again provides another solid story. Gorgeous review Melissa!

  9. I was never a Wuthering Heights fan. I could never see the appeal of Heathcliff and all that moping...yeah. This classic just didn't do it for me. However, Catherine sounds like an interesting take on that original.

  10. I have yet to read this, but I am so going to soon! I loved Lindner's Jane, it was such an awesome re-telling. Great review. ^^

  11. I've been itching to read one of Lindner's books for a while now. I LOVED Wuthering Heights when I read it years ago but want to re-read it before reading a retelling of it. I'm not sure that's the best idea: it makes me more nitpicky in some ways, but it also allows me to better appreciate how the author reworked the original in new and clever ways. That's always the best part of any retelling, in my opinion. :)


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