Thursday, January 31, 2013

Something There That Wasn't There Before...

Published: January 2nd, 2013
By: April Lindner
ISBN-13: 9780316196925

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.

     This review is going to skip the usual recap of the plot summary and just dive right in people! :)  I had been waiting for this books release ever since I read the author's first novel, Jane and fell completely in love with her version of Jane Eyre.  I was a little bit wary though, because Wuthering Heights is a lot more melodramatic with the emotions, whereas although batshit insane stuff happens to Jane, she is usually collected on the outside through it all.  This one, I was prepared for it to be over the top - and maybe not in such a great way.  I did like the fact that the reader gets insight into both Catherine and her daughter, Chelsea unlike in the original novel.  However, it also detracted from the narrative because I felt like Chelsea was there mostly to investigate what happened to Catherine and not to be a character in her own right.  Split narratives are always very tricky and I give the author major props for a somewhat successful attempt.  The decision to set it in the punk music scene of the 1990s in Greenwich Village was interesting, and made the whole music royalty versus nobody conundrum work, in place of the gypsy verus semi-genteel family problem of the original.       Catherine has a very distinct personality and feels things very passionately.  Hence is kind of an enigma and we never really do find out where he came from, or why he left there in the first place.  All we ever know is that he loves his music and is obsessed with/loves Catherine just as intensely.  Catherine's Dad was an interesting contrast with his son, Quentin, in his absolute openmindedness and true love of his work.  Quentin was a bigoted, jealous, bitter jackass and verging on insanity for most of the book, before he finally went over the edge.  I felt like Lindner went a little too far with that characterization, because in the original you can see the brother character's metamorphosis a little bit more, as he loses the little kindness and depth he has as a person.  This was too cartoonish of a revisit for my liking.   
     My main problem with Chelsea is that she was a plot device.  By the end of the novel I still felt like I knew Catherine (at least a little bit) and only knew that Chelsea was missing her Mom, therefore searching for the truth.  This was an issue most likely with how short the book happens to be.  I feel like it flew past, almost like she was rushing into the different events.  This is one that could have stood to add at least another hundred pages just for some filler.  This is a book where the filler was necessary for some even build-up and just not there like it should have been.  The conclusion of what happened to Catherine was also a little too predictable and had me rolling my eyes in disbelief and annoyance.  Seriously, that's how she chose to wrap things up?  I loved the nugget near the beginning of the book when Chelsea was surfing Nico Rathburn's fansite.  That made me smile, with it's connection to Jane, however small of a link it was.  Overall, I felt like everyone in this book suffered from under characterization or cartoon personality disorder.  I still finished it because the plot was fairly well conceived and I wanted to see how it would play out.  I just wasn't satisfied though and wouldn't recommend it too highly to anyone.
VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars
* *No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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