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Wuthering Heights is an 1847 novel by Emily BrontÃ«, published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It concerns two families of the landed gentry living on the West Yorkshire moors, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, and their turbulent relationships with Earnshaw's adopted son, Heathcliff. A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveller the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff. The story of unfortunate lovers Cathy (Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Sir Laurence Olivier) who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced by circumstance and prejudice to live their lives apart.
The main drama in Bronte's novel happens in a long narrative told by an elderly housekeeper to a convalescing new tenant. This story-within-a-story setup makes it well suited for audio adaptation, as Scales takes the housekeeper's part and relates the past, while West performs as the tenant and describes the present. Scales primarily uses a folksy lower-class accent, but she also makes her voice harsh and threatening when speaking as Heathcliff, the surly man at the novel's heart. West, as the bewildered tenant, manages to sound both nervous and pretentious, but his part is fairly small, especially with this abridgment, so he mostly serves to provide transitions for the housekeeper's story. The extensive abridgment generally deletes sentences and phrases rather than entire paragraphs or sections. One drawback for the audio format is the difficulty of clarifying the novel's convoluted plot and family tree, since it's harder to search back through long CD tracks than through earlier chapters of the paperback. While a little of the depth of Bronte's writing is lost in abridgment, the novel's emotional core remains intact and wrenching, and the actors' heartfelt interpretations make it easy to imagine being curled up by a warm fire listening to an absorbing tale. In June, Penguin Audio remastered and released on CD for the first time nine other Penguin Classics: Crime and Punishment, Dracula, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Tale of Two Cities.