The Count of Monte Cristo ~

I always loved “The 3 Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo” is another by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a powerful book about loyalty, commitment, determination, strength of spirit, of seeking justice and yet not giving up hope. And along with that, if you like sword fights, revenge, disguises, deception, then it’s right up your alley!

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.”

No truer words said! As the main character finds out, he finds his ‘truth’ in the most unexpected way, through the people he meets that come into his life only briefly and teaches him something at the moment he needs it the most. 

Edmond Dantes is unjustly framed for treason and sent to a prison fortress for 14 long years. A fellow prisoner is able to teach him all he knows, to figure out his purpose and to plan his vengeance on his duplicitous ‘best friend’ who stole is life, and love. With the secrets to the treasure of Monte Cristo, he is able to re-instate himself in society as the mysterious Count, surrounded by wolves in disguise, he learns to keep his enemies close….

So, no matter what, we must endure. Nothing is perfect in life or happens as we expect, it’s about our mindset when we face disappointment and adversity, and how we act that counts.

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“When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever.”

~ The mystery of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ~ 🖤🌹

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is definitely a tale about escapism- Christine spends her whole life being coached by a ‘mysterious voice’ that mentors her to do better and achieve beyond what she thought possible, when she finally steps through the mirror and meets the man behind the voice, her illusion shatters and she is repulsed by his deformed face. 💀

Instead, she goes for her childhood sweetheart Raoul, and, the phantom realises that despite all he’s given her, she still turns away in horror. She pities him and yet still agrees to lay a trap, by going along with his grand plans for her on the stage, but in the end, his jealousy still destroys them (and the opera house which is also his home.) 🎼🎭

We see him as the villain of the story, but we also feel sorry for him, hiding away with no love and kindness- and perhaps it’s this forced solitude & space to develop his talents that turns him into a musical genius. There are many things to learn from it, that you can’t force love, that you can’t expect too much from anyone, yet also the power of forgiveness and also dedication throughout a lifetime. 🖤🖤

Another thing I love about the Phantom are the aesthetics, the opulent backdrop & historical references- after all it’s a theatre, the masquerade balls, the grandness, and of course, the amazing soundtrack!! Andrew Lloyd Webber really transformed it and made it his own- hence why it still stands the test of time. 👰🏻👻🎞⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

~ 𝔔𝔲𝔬𝔱𝔢 𝔠𝔬𝔯𝔫𝔢𝔯~

“They played at hearts as other children might play at ball; only, as it was really their two hearts that they flung to and fro, they had to be very, very handy to catch them, each time, without hurting them.”

“And, despite the care which she took to look behind her at every moment, she failed to see a shadow which followed her like her own shadow, which stopped when she stopped, which started again when she did and which made no more noise than a well-conducted shadow should.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

“Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.” 

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At first glance, Wuthering Heights appears to be a Gothic romance set amidst the wilderness of the Yorkshire moors. It encompasses the ferocity of raw emotions- of treachery, obsession and revenge. W.H is dark and brooding and does not have the light-hearted or witty societal interactions present in Jane Austen’s works. In my opinion, it is less a story of love, and more of possession; something deeper, a rawness of spirit that propels them to inflict the pain and damage to one another. It is almost spiritual in that Heathcliff believes the ghost of Cathy haunts him still after her death, and there will be no peace for them in the afterlife.

The narrative encompasses a period of 50 years and passes through 3 generations of two households- the Lintons and Earnshaws. I can understand why some readers may find it confusing; I had to keep turning back over the pages to find out who was who (cousins marrying cousins and various surname changes). It is told by a housekeeper Nelly Dean and a visitor to the moors- Mr. Lockwood. Between them they manage to piece together the event for the reader (reliable voices or no, it is up to you to judge!) it is one aspect of storytelling. I feel a lot of gothic novels such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, are written as first person through journals and letters. This allows us to experience from a subjective point of view, but I wonder if this make us feel 100% committed to a character, or even to form our own unbiased opinion.

Wuthering_Heights_family_tree One thing you notice- no character is likeable. Though I felt no emotional connection with the individuals, (Heathcliff is violent, domineering and abusive, Cathy flighty and emotionally erratic), there was something about their plight that moved me. In my opinion a successful book is supposed to make you feel a range of emotions, frustration, anger maybe, or even hatred- these are all significant to your growth as a reader. To move you to feel these things- an essence that makes you feel a natural affinity to a novel. For me W. H though highly dramatized, is closer to reality for me than something like “Pride and Prejudice”. It encompasses the devastation of reality, of death and disappointment and unfulfilled yearnings. I don’t know why I drew this comparison, but I feel W.H has similar gritty, stark truths (murder and mental torture) comparable to certain scenes of the North in ‘Game of Thrones‘, albeit a censored, classical literature version!

Bronte’s depiction of the nature of Heathcliff and the wild Catherine are reflective of the setting- the harsh weather and isolation of the country. W H did leave a lasting impression on me, certain songs would remind me of scenes. I would imagine Cathy tapping on the glass, a ghost girl with a shrill cry and blood dripping on the windowsill, trying to break through the casement to reach inside. All images the Yorkshire Dales can inspire! Honestly, I think it’s important to have some sense of the isolation of the place, to imagine the structure of the buildings, the weather, landscape and daily pursuits of the young Heathcliff and Cathy to get a better idea of what Emily Bronte envisioned to be the backdrop of her novel.

w.heightsAnd last but not least, I will leave you with Hayley Westenra’s version of “Wuthering Heights”(originally sung by Kate Bush)

Some questions I want to ask you guys:

– How is W H comparable to Romeo & Juliet as a love story?

-What do you think Emily Bronte’s main message was, that she hoped to carry through to the reader? Main themes?

-Do you think it’s important to know about the author, in order to understand a book better? Emily died 1 year after completing “Wuthering Heights” at the age of 30, her sister Anne following. They had such short lives (if we compare to the life expectancy now). The novel was published posthumously by her sister Charlotte.

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*Sneak Peak!* My Book Cover

cover final_s (1)Thanks to the very talented Bonnie for my wonderful book cover design! The novel is called “Caskets of Ice”.

If you have any questions, or think I should release a preliminary chapter (or two!) out into the blog- world, then please feel free to comment below! Here is a link to Bonnie’s page so you can check out her other illustrations and general awesomeness:

http://bonniepang.weebly.com/

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