Book Review: Westerdale by Morwenna J Holman
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Olympia Publishers for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Plot Summary: Vengeance, aggression, malice, spite and family feuds ring out from the pages of this book; its story is set in the wild landscape of the northern moorlands.
Heaton Grimshaw and his two children, each so different from each other, live through this tale under their father’s gripping and terrifying presence as he reigns supreme over the frightened inhabitants of nearby Scarshead and of the neighbouring family living at the far end of the valley.
His unhappy and vicious marriage spells tragedy, as the demons in his personality are revealed and take hold of his very being.
My Review: One of the good things about the novel was its slight twist on the classic gothic novel Wuthering Heights. One of the differences between them is that romance doesn’t play a central role Westerdale. Another impressive difference is that the story gradually goes from a tale of intense cruelty to a tale of redemption.
Besides the storyline, the characters were enjoyable. Heaton is physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive. However, the gothic twist in the book made his character entertaining and eventually sympathetic.
Also, the secondary characters made reading the book more bearable when Heaton wasn’t. For instance, Heaton’s wife Elizabeth has a brave and resilient spirit that was admirable.
Ironically, the influence of Wuthering Heights on the book was also a little overdone. While some of the twists were clever, there should have been more of them. There was one key plot point of the novel that was too predictable.
In addition, Heaton should have been developed more. There are some lines in the book that hinted at Heaton’s past, but it is never explained. It felt like the author was just using those lines to make Heaton more dramatic.
Despite its flaws, it was an engaging read. I recommend this book to any gothic literature fan.