I’ve had The Wings of the Dove on my shelf for quite some time now, and it seemed a good time to have a read of it now. I seem to remember that about this time last year, I had just finished Lady Audley’s Secret, and judging by the blurb, this looks to have the same sort of scandal and tragedy. Hopefully without the sharp veer into unnecessary happy ending territory.
The Wings of the Dove follows American heiress Milly Theale, as she travels Europe in what she believes are her last days to live. Along the way, she befriends a pair of lovers, Kate Croy and Merton Densher, who start conspiring to get their hands on her fortune so that they can be married.
I wanted so badly to like The Wings of the Dove, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I’m sure that the plot and characters are stellar, but there were two things that infuriated me and caused me to not finish. The first was the writing style, which was a mess of overworked vocabulary and sentences overstuffed with clauses. During my attempt to read this, it would be a fairly regular occurrence to reach the end of a sentence and have only the slightest idea of what I’d just read. It’s more than a little aggravating having to continually parse what you’re reading, just so that you have an idea of what the hell is going on.
The second thing that put me off was the pacing. I stopped at around the 1/3 part, because nothing of interest had actually happened. That book summary that I gave was taken from book blurbs that I’ve read. None of that had actually happened by the time I quit. When it takes you over a third of your novel to get past the set-up and into the main meat of the story, then you have done something terribly wrong.
A disappointing time all round really. The story and the characters could be very well-constructed, but the whole endeavour is sabotaged by a writing style that is overly complicated and overstuffed with unnecessary clauses. Combine that with a pace that is utterly glacial in speed, and I was close to throwing the book out the window in frustration. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. 1/5
Next review: Battle Spire by Michael R. Miller