Present Tense Book Review – Lady Audley’s Secret: Part 3

(Part Two of this Present Tense Book Review.)

Lumme, the third quarter of this ‘ere book ain’t ‘alf draggin’ guvnor, and no mistake. It’s even caused me to lapse into the argot of my youth for no good reason. The book was originally published serially in magazines, and it feels like the author is stringing us along solely to wring out every last opportunity for a chapter fee. A character goes to a mental asylum – which takes a chapter. A character returns from the mental asylum and does some thinking – another chapter…

It’s a real slog to get through the pages; it’s all “tell” rather than “show”. Instead of explaining the actions of a character, and letting us infer his/her mental state and motivations, they’re tediously and needlessly described. Who exactly is narrating is a bit muddled throughout the story, in fact, most likely another consequence of the serial format. Sometimes we are privy to characters’ thoughts, and occasionally the narrative slips into preachy first-person bits that mostly pontificate about the importance of accepting our Lord in order for your life to have meaning.

I’m hoping that all this exposition is leading up to a dramatic finale, some crazy, leftfield twist. But I’ve got a feeling that all the tension that was carefully ratcheted up in the first half of the book will, regrettably, be wasted.

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