Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My thoughts on: The House of the Wind

It doesn't happen often, but I couldn't finish a book. There are a lot of good elements in The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie, but after 246 pages I just wasn't feeling it. I usually give up on a book after about 70-80 pages. I go into every book believing I'm going to love, but sometimes that just isn't the case. I started The House of the Wind last month. There were some parts I found interesting, and others I didn't. I put it down and started other books, believing once I come back to it I would be interested again. It just wasn't the case.

I was intrigued by the plot. San Francisco attorney Madeline "Maddie" Moretti is in mourning following the death of her fiance. Working offers a distraction, but Maddie still seems adrift. Her firm is working on a big case, but sometimes it seems Maddie isn't totally focused on it. There are moments when Maddie is even socializing with the opposition. One person happens to be a family friend. I don't know much about the corporate legal world, but isn't it a conflict of interest to be schmoozing with the person you're suing? Maddie's grandmother notices the change and sends her granddaughter to Tuscany. Hopefully, the trip gives Maddie a chance to recover. Maybe she can back to her old self. Time away from the corporate shenanigans is just what the doctor ordered. While there she delves into the history of ruined villa. The history is what ties Maddie to the secondary storyline.

Maddie's plot, which takes place in 2007, alternates with Maria "Mia" Maddalena of 1347 Tuscany. Ordinarily I don't have a problem with books that alternate between centuries and points of view. I've read several books like that, and loved them (I'm reading one now: The Orchid House). This was just one of those cases where it didn't work for me.

Mia is also grieving following the death of her mother. She is so overwhelmed by grief that Mia doesn't speak. Mia lives out her days with her aunt. She uses gestures to communicate. She doesn't have the strength to speak until a mysterious young woman brings Mia out of her shell. Another stranger also helps Mia unravel her past. At the same time a deadly disease is sweeping across the area. It was rather interesting and stomach turning to read how diseases were treated.

What didn't work for me is the long descriptive passages. I have no problem with long books, but perhaps if this book were 100 pages less my opinion would be different. By the time you get back to one character, you forget where you left off with the other. It was hard to connect with the characters. Either plot would have made a good book on it's hard. But together it just was my cup of tea. It doesn't mean the rest of you won't like it.

Notes: I purchased a copy from an online bookseller.

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