Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?
As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.
Genre: Young Adult
1. The House of Dead Maids
2. Wuthering Heights
When I first heard about THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS, the English major in me squealed with joy. Holy sweet baby Jesus! she said, I love WUTHERING HEIGHTS. THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS is going to be awesome!
And awesome it was.
First of all, this story is not the sort of tale you should read at night. A wonderful woman named Barbara, who coordinated the tour I participated in, warned me not to do it. She said: "A word of advice: don't start reading it too late at night."
I wasn't sure what to make of her warning because I don't get spooked by books. I'll cry because of a book; I'll fling a book against a wall because something about it's agitated me; I'll even squeal with joy... but I don't get truly scared. Nevertheless, I listened to her advice. Kind of. The first time I sat down to read this novel, it was during the light of day.
The illustrations for each chapter made me wary enough to be gnawing on my bottom lip as I read on. I loved them, and I think they added an exciting aspect to the reading experience.
But then, stupid me decided that night to continue reading at about 1AM. Do you know how bad of an idea that was? It was an extremely bad idea. Why? Because the book--which I thought was not going to freak me out--freaked me out. I'm still not entirely sure which part got to me. It could have been the one little maid trying to sleep with Tabby. It could have been the gathering. I swear, when I was reading it, I thought I was seeing things from the corners of my eyes in my bedroom. So for the rest of the night, I locked myself in my bedroom and refused to go downstairs, even when I was dying of thirst. (Isn't it funny I'm recalling all of this at 3AM?)
My story aside, I truly enjoyed THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS. Heathcliff was not only the brat one comes to know and love, but he was also young enough to still retain some sort of child-like innocence. It was at these moments, when said innocence--which was really more of him not being annoying around Tabby--shone through, that I adored him. I felt miserable for his fate. But then he'd act like a heathen again and I would forget my regret.
One particular description of the house stuck with me, even now, a few weeks later. I felt like the house truly was another character in the story. It added more excitement, me thinking it was alive.
I never once thought that there were ghosts when I read WUTHERING HEIGHTS. After reading this novel, however, it will be interesting to see if I still feel that way.
THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS is short and definitely worthy of being labeled as the prequel to WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Heathcliff is such a rich and intriguing character in Bronte's novel... which I suggest you read if you still have yet to do so. To learn more about his possible origins in Clare's take of the book definitely broadened my understanding of the tale and of his position. I think that, whenever I decide to reread WUTHERING HEIGHTS, I will definitely read it with new, open mind.
A highly suggested, spooky read for the fall. Just make sure, if you want to get freaked out, you read it late (like 2AM) at night. But don't say I didn't warn you ;)