18/6 - Let's start off with "I've never read Wuthering Heights." I've seen the Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche movie and thought it was worth four 'very good' stars. The movie made me want to get started immediately on reading the book (obviously I haven't, as other books had precedence), The House of Dead Maids didn't really have the same impact on me. When I put this on my 'to read' list I had no idea it was the 'prelude' for Wuthering Heights. It wasn't until after I started reading that I noticed the half covered by a library barcode note at the bottom of the front cover, saying that it's "A Chilling prelude to WUTHERING HEIGHTS".
The idea that this is the story of the early life of the Bronte's 'domestic servant' Tabitha 'Tabby' Aykroyd is interesting, but the execution was flawed. I wanted a lot more explanation and exploration of the previous 'young maids' and 'young masters' and how their sacrifices continued the luck of Seldom House. Not that Seldom seemed particularly 'lucky', in my opinion. The 'old maid' and 'old master' were forced to live in that house for the rest of their lives, only going out to pick up new 'young maids' or 'young masters', never free, never happy, never doing anything. The people of the town didn't seem particularly 'lucky' either. No one was prospering on the back of the sacrifices, they were pointless sacrifices as far as I could see. This was such a short book, even shorter than it appeared in my copy because the one I read had over 10 pages of book club discussion topics and interviews with the author - it was a bit of shock when I got to the end of the story and there was still a chunk of pages in my right hand. This could have been done so much better. I probably wouldn't recommend it to lovers of Wuthering Heights, I don't think it would add to their reading experience.