Friday, 23 July 2010

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is an amazing book by the great author, Emily Bronte of the Bronte sisters. It’s such a shame that she didn’t write more novels as this one was fantastic. I tried to read it about a year ago but got bored of it but now I have no idea how I could think that as it was excellent. For most people, I know, this is a novel that you have read many times, so I hope that if you have never read it you will want to by the end of this review.

This novel was set in 1801 and written in 1847, so obviously some of the language is difficult to understand (especially Joseph’s – the servant – way of speech). This story is about how a man called Mr Lockwood is hoping to buy Thrushcross Grange from Mr Heathcliff and howe he learns all about the story of the people of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.

Mr Lockwood learns some of the story from the young lady - Cathy - of Wuthering Heights diary but mostly from Nelly Dean – the servant of Trushcross Grange and previously Wuthering Heights – who says the whole romance happen before her eyes a couple of years before the book is set.

The story is about the love between Cathy Earnshaw and her orphan adopted brother, Heathcliff. As children the two were play-mates even though Cathy’s elder brother Hindley tries his best to make Heathcliff’s life a living nightmare, just because he is quite below their station.

When the children grow up Cathy rejects Heathcliff of his offer to marry, she wishes to marry him because she loves him so dearly but she knows that she must not marry him because he is so below her. Instead Cathy marries a very rich man, Edgar Linton, who lives in Thrushcross Grange a house near her own.

Mr Heathcliff is determined to have his revenge and to win Cathy back whatever he must do. He torments the servants and inhabitants of Wuthering Heights as he believes it is their faults that Cathy did not love him, even though they had nothing to do with it.

Edgar’s sister soon falls in love with Heathcliff when he comes to visit Cathy and they eventually elope together. So how will this sad and sorry tale end? Will Heathcliff ever get his revenge? Read this fantastic book to find out.

This book is full of revenge, passion, need and greed and it shows the bad and evil side of love and what it can make you do. I think that this is an excellent book and if you haven’t read it, which I very much doubt, I advise going and buying or borrowing one from your local library very soon and find out what you are missing out on! I think that anybody twelve plus could read and enjoy this book. I give it a ten out of ten.

Pirates by Celia Rees

Pirates is a fantastic book by the excellent author, Celia Rees. Full of action, suspense and finding your true love, this an excellent book for girls and boys from about the age 10-11 plus.

This book is about two characters, Nancy Kington, a merchant’s daughter and Minerva Sharpe,a slave.This novel is set in 1724, when pirates and slavery were both common. Nancy had always lived in Bristol, England, and when the book is set she was nearly sixteen. She was secretly promised to a young man called William who worked in the Navy. Meanwhile, at the plantation in Jamaica, Minerva, was living a harsh life as a slave.

One day Nancy’s father (who owned a slave plantation in Jamaica) died leaving Nancy’s future in charge of her older brothers. Nancy soon found herself on one of her father’s ships, bound for Jamaica. On the journey she made some friends with the first mate, Broom, and the ship’s surgeon, Graham. When she finally gets to Jamaica she is sad to leave them but will she ever see them again?

When Nancy got to her father’s plantation, she realised how horrific the conditions the slaves lived in and how they were forced to work or they would get severe punishments. Then she discovers something a lot worse in her opinion at least, her father had left the plantation to her, meaning that the slaves belonged to her and they were all branded with her initials.

Then, Nancy met a slave of about her age - Minerva- and her mother - Phyllis -, who are her personal slaves. They were meant to help her get dressed, make her meals and so on. However, Nancy didn’t believe in slavery so she did everything with Minerva and Phyllis as if they weren’t slaves. The three of them carried on this way until Nancy’s elder brother informs her that she must stop that "behavouir" or there would be bad circumstances for her, Minerva and Phyllis.

On her sixteenth birthday Nancy had to go and visit a man that her brothers and father decided she should marry, a horrible Brazilian man called Bartholome. He gave Nancy a ruby chocker and earrings, that look as if someone has cut her neck and she is bleeding and the earrings look like drops of blood, Phyllis urges her to get rid of them as they are evil and having dark and evil spirits in them, but Nancy secretly keeps them.

Then Nancy has a crime on her hands so she, Minerva, Phyllis and another slave called Thomas, run away to join the maroons (run-away slaves). They live there until one day the pirates come to trade, led by Broom (the first mate of the ship Nancy came on). Broom became a pirate when his ship got captured by them and he joined them eventually becoming captain. Broom, being a just pirate agreed to let Minerva and Nancy join his crew dressed as men as long as the rest of the men agree. So, Nancy and Minerva live the life of piracy befriending the other pirates and going on many adventures.

Can they find their true loves and not be captured by the law? Read this amazing book to find out. I give it 10 out of 10.

Cuckoo in the Nest by Michelle Magorian

This is a fantastic book by the same author who wrote the wonderful novels Goodnight Mister Tom and Back Home.

This book is set in 1946 – 1947. This novel is about how a boy of about seventeen is desperate to become an actor in a real theatre. He used to work in a paper mill with his father until he got sacked, he must get a job as an actor but will anyone take him on?

While Ralph does his best to get the job of an actor he must hide this ambition from his father. Ralph’s father doesn’t approve of the theatre and they already get into enough quarrels without getting into that one – again. It was a struggle for Ralph to get into the theatre every Friday night without his father knowing, never mind this.

Since the theatre isn’t willing to take him on unless his father supplied them with one-hundred pounds and his father would never agree to pay that money, even if they did have it, Ralph must find some other job. He finds one at one lady’s house, as a gardener. Before long Ralph is helping with something to do with her family as well as with her garden. He also makes very good friends with her daughter when she comes to stay.

Ralph still must be as close to the theatre as possible, so he starts to help out every Saturday night clearing the props from the stage after the show. He finds himself falling in love with the assistant stage hand, who unfortunately for him is engaged. Whilst doing this he still tries to get the job as an actor.

So can Ralph keep this up while not letting his argumentative father catch on what is going on? He must also look after his stressed mother, put up with his annoying aunt, whinging cousin, determined to work but still to young brother and his very clever twelve year old sister. Will he ever get a job as an actor? Will anyone ever find out about his love to the Assistant Stagehand? And will he ever get the chance to meet his favourite actor, Basil Duke? Read this amazing book to find out.

This is a truly excellent book and I recommend it to anyone eleven plus. I give it an eight out of ten.