“Greedy Colonel Pyncheon builds his mansion on ill-gotten ground, setting the stage for generations of suffering. Years later, a country cousin, Phoebe, attempts to reverse the tide of misfortunes surrounding the house, and tries to help the old hermit Hepzibah and her half-mad brother, Clifford, before they fall into their own decay.”
This ought not to be a book. It ought to be a short story. There is so much unnecessary description and long philosophizing passages. I skipped entire chapters of nonsense and silly imaginings that had nothing whatever to do with the plot. There is very little dialogue at all. I estimate that about 3% of this book is dialogue. Not nearly enough dialogue.
I found most of the book to be gloomy, but not too creepy until the end. The only characters that I liked were Hepzibah and Phoebe. The men are all freaky and incomprehensible. I think Hawthorne was trying to make Holgrave to be mysterious and interesting, but all that complexity just made me dislike him. His character lacks unity and is too undefined to find a solid place in the story.
Phoebe is a sweet character, but static and uninteresting. Hepzibah is a little more interesting, but I grew to despise her lack of strength or energy to help herself. Clifford is just too strange and wild for any sort of connection to his character.
The plot was fairly predictable, and the writing horribly repetitive. I don’t need to be told 12 times that there are flowers growing on the roof. Gah!
And the insta-love within the last 10 pages was pathetic. There were a few little scenes that I liked, but they were overshadowed by the more unacceptable whole.
I hate you, House of Seven Gables. You are awful and boring and unenjoyable. bleh.