is essentially a hodge-podge of Jane Eyre
and Jane Austen. While Austen is certainly acerbic and nettling in regards to her wit, Elizabeth Taylor is all the more abrasive in this novel. Palladian
reads like a satire of good gothic fiction. In effect, Taylor morphs the hauntingly dark, brooding male lead and makes him almost effeminate in appearance, complete with long spindly hands. And while, there is a brooding male in this story, who draws macabre anatomical drawings that remind me of M.C. Escher’s Peeled Faces etching, he turns into a tragicomic figure by the novel’s close. He is stuck in this world of stasis and even though at one point there is an attempt to get out, circumstance and a sense of honor prevent him. It’s an unfortunate waste.
Cassandra is an insipid mess. The amusing thing about her is that she knows she’s insipid, often commenting, “Oh, Jane Eyre would have said something better if she was in this situation.” The problem with Cassandra is that she never says anything. She thinks a great deal, makes a number of astute observations in regards to the other characters and in regards to herself. She understands a great deal about human nature...the possible outcomes of forming an attachment to someone who might not be able to fully love her in return. Yet when given the opportunity to voice these concerns, she doesn’t. I can understand shyness, but Cassandra goes beyond it...she’s just stunned to silence. I think the most frustrating moment of the story occurs when Cassandra is at the brink of getting everything she could possibly want—yet at this rather important moment, all she could say is, “Good night!” ;) I’m so lucky that I have a crazy sense of humor since it came in handy while reading this book.