March 2018 Book of the Month
I am William Lee: brute; liar, and graveside thief. But you will know me by another name.
A fiery, emphatic and intense glimpse into the missing years of Heathcliff. Leaving Wuthering Heights and naming himself William Lee, Heathcliff travels through the north of England, revenge forming on his mind. If you haven’t read ‘Wuthering Heights’ there is no need to look away, this could be the entrance to that fascinating world. I do feel you need to be aware that obscenities crop up, in fact sometimes litter the pages, and while this may put people off, I would advise looking beyond the surface to what lies beneath. The book opens with anger and deep rooted pain, William’s thoughts flare into being, the searing honesty and heat almost made me flinch. Michael Stewart allows William’s innermost being to spill onto the pages, William is so matter of fact about pain and suffering, about the world around him, the stark reality of the times seared their way onto my soul. And then there are the descriptions, the beautiful, eloquent descriptions of the countryside, the rural life, the old words. While rage, hurt and confusion swirl in a maelstrom of emotion, tenderness, love, and compassion lie waiting, biding their time. Yes ‘Ill Will’ is provocative, it is a disturbing, striking read, yet also strangely beautiful, and personally, I loved it.
|Primary Genre||Historical Fiction|
Through humour, horror and violence follow the rollicking adventure of two young rogues seeking answers, fortune and revenge!
Ill will by Michael Stewart is a beautifully crafted book which amuses, horrifies and intrigues in equal measures.
The authors descriptive prose and use of the vernacular transports the reader to the early 18th century as we follow the story of ‘William’ and Emily on their journey to Liverpool, and to hopefully find William’s origins.
The pair have to live off their wits and neither are afraid to cheat, lie or use violence to get what they want. The language is often shocking, they are both a product of their upbringing (which we hear more of as their journey continues), and neither seems to have any scruples whatsoever.
A fantastic novel filled with revenge and reminiscing that I couldn't wait to read and find out what happened. Although not for the faint hearted when it comes to the language used.
As we all know Heathcliff was portrayed in Emily Brontë's classic as a harsh and rude spoken character, but her writing was at a standard, and possibly from a time period when the implication of this was enough. Ill Will needs it's mouth washing out with soap and water, and not for those who get easily offended by expletives. Thankfully I am not.
This book had the tall order of trying to emulate and add to one of the greatest novels ever written. I applaud Michael Stewart for even attempting it, and I feel that he has, for the most part succeeded. I love Ill Will, it fills in the gap when Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights only to return a gentleman. Hell-bent on revenge, Heathcliff heads from the moors to the city to try and earn his fortune.
Forced out of his home, at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff travels across Northern England, searching for clues to his past, on a journey filled with darkness, danger and deceit.
In the novel, Wuthering Heights, there is no clue as to where Heathcliff disappears to in the three years he is missing from the story; however, Ill Will provides a reasonable explanation for where he might have been, and fleshes out the violent world that Heathcliff so dangerously inhabits.
In despair over his tormented relationship, with Cathy Earnshaw, and with the need to discover more about himself, Heathcliff is determined to escape Wuthering Heights. He changes his name to William Lee, and sets about discovering his origins, but the journey through the northern countryside is fraught with danger, not just from the savagery of landscape, but also from his association with Emily, the strange and, at times, other worldly companion he meets on his journey.
In Ill Will, the author has conjured a rather bleak story.