I expected too much. I know that. I expected it to be 'sensational' from the start. I don't mean 'sensational' in the superlative sense. I mean that I thought it would start with a bang - storms and wind and someone locked in a tower in a torn white dress. Sadly - no.
But don't worry, I've already given myself the speech about taking into consideration the time period in which it was written, etc. It's not a contemporary kind of Gothic novel. I grew up spending summers reading my mother's Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt novels, however, so was hoping for something more like that, but even more dark and transgressive (for the time). See? I'm impossible. I'm happy to accept transgressive for the time period, but not able to accept the other writing conventions.
What I mean is - there is a definite pastoral and allegorical air to the book. The descriptions of nature are frequent and unending and poetic. If that's what I was looking for, I'd be thrilled. The characters are distant and formal and kind of unreal. Emily, the daughter, is especially vacuous, despite her obvious intelligence, her poetry writing, her self-command, her appreciation of nature. 'Simplicity' is used to describe her more than once but I can't help thinking of the term in a contemporary sense - a nice way of saying she's 'dim.' In my own words - she has no spunk.
And the number of times 'verdure' and 'sublimity' are used - I've started to count. I can't help it.
Because of this tone, the characterizations also tip a little bit towards cartoon. I'm so sorry, but I can't shake the image of Valancourt as Thundarr the Barbarian (1980). What is wrong with me????
Basically, I want to be scandalized. I've only just begun the book so there's still time. Pressing on.