Emily Bronte’s first and last novel, Wuthering Heights, was released in 1847 and is one of the best-known works from the Bronte sisters. Heathcliff, the unhappy orphan-turned-rich-landlord of the Wuthering Heights estate, is the central figure in this Gothic tragedy. Through the shards of his life story, we learn more about him and his agonizing relationships, particularly with his adoptive sister Catherine.
Temptation, betrayal, betrayal of those higher up in the social ladder, and death are all there in this tale fit for a Victorian classic. Wicked picture that matches the raw, ferocious feeling that is visible throughout this complicated masterpiece is set on the Yorkshire moors. These recommendations are a must-read if you’re looking for more books like Wuthering Heights.
Books Like Wuthering Heights
Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
There are a few differences between Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights in the 1891 novel, but there are still plenty of Wuthering Heights-like aspects, such as a love triangle, gender discrimination, and heartbreak, to appreciate.
Known for both its sad heroine, the destitute Tess Durbeyfield, and its unforgettable storyline in which she sacrifices her personal happiness with Angel Clare in order to keep her family’s finances afloat by marrying the harsh yet wealthy Alec d’Urberville, the work has become a classic. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is riveting to read because of its representation of social inequality.
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
If you’re looking for a book like Wuthering Heights, pick up Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, a Gothic novel that’s as beautiful as it is haunting.
The story is recounted from the point of view of a mystery unidentified narrator, the second wife of the affluent Maxim de Winter, who lost his previous wife, Rebecca, in questionable circumstances, and it has an equally intricate plot. We watch as the second Mrs. de Winter is driven to the brink of insanity as she struggles to live in the spectral shadow of Rebecca, whose seemingly perfect image of her has become an obsession.
Rebecca, a psychologically laden tale set in Cornwall’s wilds, will leave you breathless.
No, I haven’t read it yet. If you enjoyed Rebecca, you might enjoy any of the following titles on our list:
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s 1890 Gothic masterpiece The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was first criticized for its provocative themes, is now considered a classic and an excellent read if you enjoy Wuthering Heights.
Upon painting Dorian Gray, social artist Basil Hallward becomes enamored with him, and Gray becomes something of an inspiration for Hallward.
During the Victorian era, London was a hub of opium dens and immorality, and Lord Henry, a friend of Hallward’s, introduced Gray to the superficiality of high society. Gray, driven by his inability to accept the idea that he would never look as good as he does in Hallward’s painting, makes the terrible decision to give up his soul in exchange for eternal youth.
If you’re a fan of Wuthering Heights’ eerie undertones, you’ll love The Picture of Dorian Gray.
No, I haven’t read it yet. More books like The Picture of Dorian Gray can be found here.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
Because it dealt with a topic that was taboo among the upper class in Victorian England, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published the same year as Wuthering Heights, was initially regarded as startling.
The portrayal of Helen Graham, a strong female protagonist, as she breaks away from expectations and sets out to find a better, safer life away from her violent husband is a story ahead of its time today.
Typical of gothic fiction, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is framed by a sequence of letters and journal entries between one of the primary characters Gilbert Markham to his friend on Helen’s unexplained arrival to the village.
There is no list of novels like Wuthering Heights that is complete without the inclusion of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton
Readers of Edith Wharton’s Wuthering Heights may recognize elements of Ethan Frome, which has been dubbed Edith’s darkest work, such as the contrasting social perspectives on marriage and divorce, hurdles in the path of desire and tragedy, as well as the impressive imagery.
When winter in Massachusetts is at its worst, an unnamed narrator tries to put together Ethan Frome’s life by interviewing residents of Starkfield, Massachusetts, and by paying attention to what they don’t say. During the course of the novel, it is revealed that Frome is a tragic hero, divided between his duties as a husband and his emotions for Zeena’s younger maid, Mattie Silver.
When Frome is trapped in this love triangle for the rest of his life, Wharton’s famous sense of irony comes into play. Ethan Frome is a fascinating novel that is both agonizing and engrossing.
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina tells the story of a Russian woman caught in the thick of the country’s tumultuous late 19th-century transformations.
While visiting Moscow with her family, the titular heroine, Anna Karenina, encounters Count Vronsky, a gorgeous military officer. Anna is stuck in an unhappy marriage to Count Alexei Karenin. The story depicts a woman’s journey of sacrificing all in the search for true love. The narrative revolves around three couples whose lives overlap as they deal with marriage, adultery, divorce, death, and family.
If you enjoy Wuthering Heights, you’ll adore Anna Karenina, too.
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
It’s hard to go wrong with Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations if you want to read more works like Wuthering Heights since you appreciate the idea of the rags to riches story.
Pip, an orphan, falls in love with a lovely young lady named Estella, who treats him coldly and cruelly in the novel’s narrative. Pip is determined to change his life so that one day he would be wealthy, educated, and worthy of marrying her. Estella’s wealthy and eccentric aunt, Miss Havisham, however, has other ideas and is adamant on carrying out an old act of vengeance as planned.
Great Expectations is a gripping tale because of its complicated coincidences, crossed wires, and closely intertwined network of relationships.
Carmilla, by Sheridan le Fanu
However, readers of works like Wuthering Heights will relish the echoes of infatuation, loss, the supernatural, and love’s all-consuming and devastating powers found in Sheridan le Fanu’s 1871 Gothic horror classic Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu.
The story takes place in a remote Austrian castle in the dark forests, and is told through the memories of a young woman who had an encounter with a vampire, as well as a doctor’s casebook describing a mystery outbreak of illness among the area’s peasant girls.
At the same time as Carmilla’s arrival, a young girl whose carriage breaks down outside the castle where the character Laura and her father live. It’s no secret that Carmilla, one of the first famous vampire stories, is both terrifying and fascinating.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte’s highly regarded Gothic romance, is the third Bronte sister to make the list of literature like Wuthering Heights.
Orphan Jane, who was punished by her harsh aunt, Mrs Reed, is the focus of the tale as she makes her way from her aunt’s house to a nasty orphanage. Mr Rochester, the estate’s enigmatic, older master, is the first person she meets and falls in love with while working as a governess at Thornfield Hall.
Jane Eyre is another another breakthrough novel that depicts a woman who longs for independence and is fiercely independent in a way that is decades ahead of its time. It is easy to see how the Bront sisters have left such an indelible effect on English writing and how they have influenced so many writers and literary themes to this day.
No, I haven’t read it yet. Check out our selection of Jane Eyre-like books!
Even if you don’t enjoy the magical components of Gothic literature or the darker, tragic aspects of love and desire as much as Wuthering Heights, there are plenty of other works that are just as interesting.