How did Philips incorporate the above elements into the context of a different novel? There are, of course, related ideas, (lost children for example) but I am left wondering if I knew nothing of Wuthering Heights would I find the information relevant or understand it? At this point, I am not completely sure. On the other hand, it works precisely because he placed these elements in the beginning, middle, and end of his novel. And he masterly rendered Emily as the strong person she was, and as a contrast, her strength places a subliminal spotlight on his character Monica. What a dichotomy--a complete division it seems until we realize that they are both aloof characters (one real, one imagined) and both outsiders.
Like Wuthering Heights, darkness creeps about and envelopes much of Philips' novel but thankfully, we are left in the dark about the details. In this, Philips strikes a balance of sorts. However, how did Emily do it? Her novel is dark with details but not completely bleak. Older versus contemporary? Maybe. My guess...Nelly Dean as the gossipy narrator and Mr. Lockwood, the nosy tenant of the Grange, who with levity steps on stage at the beginning of Wuthering Heights. He's a flighty hoot, ambiguous and odd; he says this and means that, but never really nails down what he means. These two ingenious, unreliable characters, and their interactions and opinions, help create a distance that skillfully allows the reader to wade in the darkness without becoming overwhelmed.
* * *
It's still very warm here, but autumn's beauty is on the way. I picked up these leaves on my walk the other day. They remind me of a line from one of Emily Bronte's poems:
Every leaf speaks to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Enjoy the week...