Monday 27 November 2023

This Thing of Darkness by Nicola Edwards #ThisThingOfDarkness @nicanned @AderynPress @WriterForster #BookReview


The storm that dismantles a dynasty…

1780. Wild and windswept Yorkshire. Sixteen-year-old Heathcliff runs from the only home he has ever known in a squall of pain and fury.

Blown into an inn on the edge of the moors, sodden, rejected, and hankering for revenge, he steals a horse and sets out for Liverpool in search of answers. The town he arrives in is a brutal new world, brimming in equal measure with risk and opportunity. Here, Heathcliff might map his future, make his fortune, forge a role for himself. But at what cost…

Reimagining the three years during which Heathcliff is absent from Wuthering Heights, This Thing of Darkness traverses countries and oceans in pursuit of one of literature's best known characters.

This Thing of Darkness by Nicola Edwards was published by Aderyn Press on 2 November 2023. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Wuthering Heights, the first and only novel from Emily Brontë is considered one of the greatest novels ever written. A story of toxic love and obsession, dealing with issues around mental health and domestic violence, it has to be said that the character of Heathcliff is probably one of the most complex male leads ever imagined. 

Only Emily Brontë really knows what happened to Heathcliff during the lost three years. When he was absent from the wild moorlands, but Nicola Edwards has created a thrilling and at time brutally uncomfortable version of those missing three years. 

Told from the perspective of various characters who had an impact on his life, this is a beautifully written story that complements the original text so very well. Abe Earnshaw narrates the first part, a prequel if you like, explaining how Heathcliff initially came to the Heights, we are then taken forward to the same town of Gimmerton as Heathcliff makes his escape. From the streets of Liverpool, to the slave ships in the Caribbean, Nicola Edwards vividly describes the different landscapes and allows her readers to experience Heathcliff's journey so very well. 

Heathcliff is a brutal man, damaged without doubt, with varying degrees of loyalty to those that he encounters. He leaves a legacy of cruelty and despair where ever he goes, thinking nothing of betraying those who have aided him, thinking only of a future wealth and his one big obsession; Cathy Earnshaw.

The writing is beautiful, it is stark and vivid, with characters who are so completely and wonderfully created. The sense of place and atmosphere is wonderfully presented, layered with the violence and toxicity that is Heathcliff. 

This is such a fabulous piece of historical fiction and one that kept me turning the pages eagerly to find out just what terrible things Heathcliff would do next. Highly recommended.

Nicola Edwards is a PhD candidate at the University of Bangor and teaches English and Classics in a school in North Wales. 
Nicola has worked as a journalist and has lectured on race and representation in the media for Race Council Wales. 
Her non-fiction writing has appeared in Wales Arts Review. 

This Thing of Darkness, her first novel, won the Michael Schmidt Prize at the Manchester Writing School.

X / Twitter @nicanned

Instagram @nic_writes

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