Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Catherine by April Lindner

book cover of Catherine by April Lindner

Title: Catherine
Author: April Lindner
Release date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Reading level: YA

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

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 interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Catherine, a modern day retelling of Wuthering Heights, is another fabulous novel from April Lindner.  Her debut, Jane (a modern Jane Eyre), blew me away and while Catherine was not quite as good, I still greatly enjoyed it.  In fact, I can’t stop thinking about it.
I have never read Wuthering Heights and honestly, in this case, I think that was a good thing.  I had no idea what was going to happen and Catherine ended up being a whole new story for me rather than a retelling.  There were twists and turns that readers of the original may have been able to see coming but I certainly couldn’t.  While the story was definitely a contemporary story, there were quite a few hints of mystery and there was even a little bit of history.  It all blended well together and made for a very interesting story and a quick read.
Catherine is the daughter of a wealthy club owner.  She lives above the club and so she spends a lot of time in the music scene of the 80s and she gets to know some very different people.  When Hence shows up on the front step, Catherine can’t help but feel bad for him and ends up getting him a job at the club and a place to stay.  From the very start the two are drawn to each other and a very intense romance develops and Catherine’s story really tells all about that. Chelsea is Catherine’s daughter and she has come looking for her mother who disappeared 14 years ago.  She ends up at the club and there she finds some unexpected help from Cooper, a very shut-off Hence, and her mother’s diary.  As she gets to know Hence in present day she also gets to know him in the past through Catherine’s journals.  The journals also help Chelsea find out more about her family and what really happened to her mother.
The story alternates point-of-views and time periods.  The point-of-views switch between Catherine and Chelsea and the time period switches from the 80s to present day.  While this would seem confusing, it’s actually not at all. Catherine and Chelsea are two very different people with distinct personalities and voices. You will never not know whose point-of-view you are reading.  It was handled very well and I greatly enjoyed the alternating perspectives.
Overall, Catherine is a very complex, well thought out retelling of Wuthering Heights.  I was invested in Catherine’s and Chelsea’s stories from the very beginning and this book put me through a ringer.  Don’t expect your traditional happy ending with this one but it will definitely leave you satisfied.  April Lindner has made a fan of me.
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17 Comments

  1. Kit Grindstaff

    Thanks for the review. I enjoyed JANE (which although true to the orig, that in no way detracted from it – in fact it was amazing to see how the author spun her book from it) so am now curious about this one :)

  2. Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews

    My first thought when I saw this was “Man, I should probably read Wuthering Heights, huh.” So it’s pretty awesome that this is still good without knowing the source material. Also, I usually don’t like dual POV because the voiced blend together (like Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma for instance) but it’s nice to see that Linder is capable of creating two distinct voices.

    Thanks for the review, Katie, I’ll definitely be checking this out now :)

  3. Jamie

    I need to read these! I’ve always seen them around but had no idea they were retellings! It’s been AGES since I’ve read Wuthering Heights so now I kind of want to reread!

  4. Renae

    I’ve been super interested in reading Lidner’s Brontë retellings. Her concepts are always so interesting, and it’s great to hear that they pan out and provide a good story, too. I’d probably read JANE first, since I haven’t read WUTHERING HEIGHTS either and would want to read it before I tackled any retellings.

  5. alice-jane

    Sounds interesting! I’ve always had a soft spot for retellings and Lidner’s Bronte retellings sound really good! It seems to follow the story of Wuthering Heights, which I read, but Lidner manages to refresh it.

  6. Michelle

    Great Review… I was wondering about this book. The cover to me looks like it’s a dystopian or fantasy for some reason, but then I heard it wasn’t so I got interested. I love anything 80’s so I think I’ll give it a try!

  7. Justin941

    I’ve never read Wuthering Heights. But this book sounds really good, and I love that there is alternating points of view especially when it comes to the time periods, that sounds interesting.

    I will have to check this book out for sure, will be adding on Goodreads right after I leave this comment. Great review Katie.

  8. Orchid

    Nice review. It definitely sounds like an interesting read, although I’m not sure I could get into a retelling of Wuthering Heights (tried to read it, didn’t like it).

  9. Renu

    I loved Lindner’s Jane so I was psyched when I heard she had another book coming out. So glad you enjoyed this, Katie! Can’t wait to read it myself. :)

  10. Kailia Sage

    Ah. I have this one from NetGalley but I am SO worried about it. I hated Wuthering Heights (all two times I read it all the way through) and I’ve never been impressed with any re-telling. I have (as you review says) that this one is good and I am willing to give it a try! Great review Katie!

  11. Christina Kit.

    I really loved this retelling. It kept all the important thematic and genre aspects of the original but she made it all her own.

    LOVED the characters :)

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