Reviewed by Maria
Imagine one of literature's greatest love stories, that of Cathy and Heathcliff, taking place in today's era of mobiles and computers? Yes, it's possible to read it, courtesy of the wonderful Kate Walker. THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER is a version of the eternal classic WUTHERING HEIGHTS as a contemporary romance novel. It's quite a thrilling read. For those of us who read WUTHERING HEIGHTS and even those of us who didn't.
This author wrote a very similar story to this about four years ago. It was published as BEDDED BY THE GREEK MILLIONAIRE. I didn't like the title, but I loved the story. The lady of the manor gets a big surprise when the former stable hand (who was unceremoniously turfed out a couple of years previously) returns - as the manor's new owner. Although THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER has a similar type of plot, the two stories are quite different. What makes a book with a similar plot different to another is the characterisation. Kat makes a warmer and more mature heroine than the GREEK MILLIONAIRE'S Jessica. And Heath Montanha is a Brazilian, not a Greek, although both males are undeniably alpha, with a keen sense of honour.
The bleak atmosphere of the windswept Yorkshire moors comes through even in this retake of a classic. But there are differences which might upset a WUTHERING HEIGHTS purist. Heath is not quite the embittered scoundrel that Heathcliff was - or rather became by the end of the story and a life without his beloved Cathy (Kat). Heathcliff, Emily Bronte's original character, took revenge on Hareton, the son of his late tormentor, Cathy's brother. Heath Montanha is quite unlike that, refusing to blame the son for the sins of the father. The character of Arthur Charlton, Kat's husband (Edgar Linton in the original book), is drastically different. Edgar Linton was a well meaning if rather foolish fellow who seriously thought that his late wife Catherine was waiting for him in Heaven's drawing room, when her soul was out on the moors crying out for her beloved Heathcliff. Modern Kat's late husband Arthur Charlton (who has already rather conveniently died before Heath's return) was a closet homosexual who was seriously into gambling. He had also mentally tortured his wife, blaming her for his failure to arouse him sexually, when he was in fact not programmed for a heterosexual relationship. Heath Montanha is shocked to learn that Kat is still a virgin when they finally make love. That wasn't so in WUTHERING HEIGHTS. When the stranger returned, Cathy was no widowed virgin, she was very much married and very much pregnant. I've absolutely no doubt that had the original Cathy's health not been so fragile in pregnancy, she'd have dumped Edgar without a second thought and run away with Heathcliff. I also feel that she'd have had no conscience about leaving her child either. The modern Kat is a softer, calmer woman who I could not envisage doing that.
As I earlier mentioned, what makes one book different from another in spite of having similar plots, is the characterisation. That's why I cannot quite take it that THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER is the twenty first century's answer to WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But as a tribute, it is excellent. And as contemporary romance novel, it fits the bill. It takes you out of your world, gives you an enjoyable emotional experience and satisfactory closure. And believe me (I've read a lot of novels), it doesn't really get much better than that.
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Reviewed by Nas
THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER is the latest enthralling presentation by author Kate Walker for Mills & Boon Modern and Harlequin Presents line.
Heath is back. But why? To take revenge on Kat’s brother who had thrown him out to live in the shed, and her husband who had always derided him? He is more powerful and wealthier than any of them now.
But coming back, he also comes face to face with his childhood friend and teenage love, Kat. Would he be able to walk away again?
Lady Katherine Charlton, now a widow, missed her childhood friend. But can she welcome back this dark, brooding stranger he has turned into?