Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Catherine - April Lindner

Title: Catherine
Author: April Lindner
Publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown and Company), 2013 (Hardcover)
Length: 309 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Classic, Realistic Fiction
Started: March 20, 2013
Finished: March 27, 2013

From the inside cover:

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.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine delivers a fresh retelling of the Emily Bronte classic Wuthering Heights, interweaving a timeless forbidden romance with a captivating modern mystery.

After reading the author's first book, Jane, a few years ago and adored it, I knew I would read anything this author wrote. When I found out she was writing a retelling of Wuthering Heights in the same vein as Jane was a retelling of Jane Eyre, I knew for sure I'd be reading it.

I have to admit that I have not actually read Wuthering Heights from cover to cover.
*ducks to avoid things thrown at me by aghast bibliophiles*
I do know the gist of the original book and general details, but this does make me a little biased in this review, since some of my issues with the book could be the fault of Bronte's original rather than Lindner's retelling.

First off, I liked having the two different voices narrating the novel, Catherine's and Chelsea's. The only thing that irked me was the difference in time. Chelsea I'm assuming is a modern-day narration, so that would make Catherine narrating from the early 90s? If that's true, Catherine's voice and character didn't sound like a 90s teenager, but came off like a modern teen trying to sound retro. I did appreciate Chelsea's own side story about her search for her mom, it was a nice break from the Catherine/Hence story.

The romance between Catherine and Hence was definitely intense and passionate, but it was unrealistic even for teenagers (even a 90s girl wouldn't be as accommodating as Catherine was for Hence after he discounted her dream of going to Harvard), and I couldn't for the life of me understand why Catherine wanted this guy so much, aside from the emo band guy cliche.

The little details that echo back to the original like the appearance of the ghost when Chelsea first comes to The Underground were awesome. I like how the author managed to update the original story and try to give it a modern feel: making the estate into a music club, the issues of class, and adding Chelsea's story.

I didn't enjoy Catherine as much as Jane, but that's likely due to the differences in the original story. I give the author credit for managing to pull off a modern retelling of Wuthering Heights, and if you're a big fan of the original, you should pick up Catherine.

Thoughts on the cover:
Not as stunning as the cover for Jane, but it's in the same style, so I like it purely because of the continuation factor.

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