Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dorothy Eden: The Voice of the Dolls

I have tried several times to get into one of Eden's Gothic novels, and I can't seem to. This novel, an early one published in 1950 well ahead of the Gothic novel craze of the 1960s and '70s, was no exception. I found the premise that a young woman, Sarah, overhears the neighbor girl's troubled chatter with her dolls (little Jennie's mother is dead and murder is hinted at) and wants to work in the house as tutor and rescue the girl a bit far fetched.  I honestly did not finish this novel, but I did give it 50 pages of my life which felt like too much; that way, you won't have to (unless you really want to).

Plot: 2/5 [The plot moved, but it seemed ridiculous. I like novels to have some sense of being possible-- even Gothic novels. If the possible is in question, then they should be good enough to suspend my disbelief as John Keats suggested.]

Characterization: 3/5 [The characters were round enough, but they were boring, and I knew who Sarah's love interest was going to be right away. The heroine is semi-likable, but the terrible plot made it not worth continuing.]

Atmosphere/spooky points: 2/5 [Honestly, I know the dolls are supposed to creep me out, but they just didn't. The only thing I got a few chills from was Eliot-- the mopey male character whose wife was dead-- and his midnight/all hours piano playing.]

Literary or not: 2/5 [Not really. An opera or two was mentioned. Otherwise, this novel was just fluffy.]

Rating: 2+ stars

** I do not recommend this novel.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa
I've just written a review of this myself, and added a link to your review here. I found the plot pretty far-fetched and the book kind of dragged for me in the middle, but I liked some of Dorothy Eden's desciptive prose and would be interested to read some of her later gothics.

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