Thursday, 16 July 2015

NELLY DEAN by Alison Case

Nelly Dean by Alison Case
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 480
Format: Hardcopy ARC
ISBN: 9780008123383
Publisher: Harper Collins (13th August 2015)
Source: Publisher/

Rating: DNF

I had a hard time with this one. I truly wanted to love it but regretfully have to say that it wasn't to my liking.

I have no doubt that Alison Case's debut offering will become a best seller.  So why my lack of enthusiasm?  My first reading of Wuthering Heights was over twenty years ago and I fell in love with Emily Bronte's gothic classic.  Maybe I'm stuck in the past with my 15 year old romanticised memories of the spirited Cathy and the broody Heathcliff running wild together on the Yorkshire moors. Could it be that my memories of this classic have merged and blurred with the memory of Hollywood's 1939 film version with Merle Oberon as Cathy and Laurence Olivier's Heathcliff ? Is a reread of the classic in order or should I leave it and retain my fond memories?

I digress, as the retelling of Wuthering Heights from Nelly's perspective through her written correspondence to Mr Lockwood, Nelly recounts, including less favourable details omitted in her original account, the unfortunate events that befell the families at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.  The 194 pages I managed to read felt like a chore and it became apparent that I wouldn't finish the book in time to submit my review in the deadline timeframe. Nor did I have the patience to persevere and had to admit defeat.

Nelly Dean is undoubtably well written. The pace is slow allowing the reader to become fully acquainted with the characters.  However they felt flat and uninteresting to me.  Had I continued with the novel I may have changed my view but I didn't feel connected enough to want to find out.  I may be missing out on a brilliant novel, perhaps timing was wrong, and I may try to read it again sometime.

Nelly Dean is a perfect companion to Bronte's Wuthering Heights, for fans of Jo Baker's Longbourne (of which I'm one),  Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, and Tracy Chevalier. It would certainly make an excellent book club choice.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reading copy of the book from the publisher via Lovereading for an unbiased review.

I didn't finish reading Nelly Dean and am therefore, only able give my thoughts on the chapters read and do not wish to influence the reader in any way and would like to point out that I am in a minority with my opinions and even though this one wasn't for me I look forward to Alison Case's next offering.

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