Yes! I’m finally finished with this poorly crafted soap opera. But actually, Splendor
is not as bad as the prior two books in this series. There were a few scenes that evoked some images that were quite good. *
For instance, I loved the scene where Diana’s Aunt Edith comments on Henry’s appearance, stating how much he resembles his father at that age. Henry was sitting in a corner with drink and cigarette in hand. I had fun juxtaposing this image with the picture of his father: the dyed hair, corpulent waist, heavy jowls, and red nose—carrying all those signs of “good” living. Fast-forward twenty, thirty years and there’s Henry!
Truly, Henry’s such a milquetoast. In Envy
, he tells Diana that he’s going to do something with his life by joining the navy, to “fight for our great nation in the Pacific.” In reality, he ends up having an extended vacation in Cuba, his most strenuous activities being drinking and pining for his lost love. Upon his return, nothing changes. He starts something, but never sees it through.
Though at least Henry stays true to character. Penelope, on the other hand, develops delusions of grandeur, setting her sights on the prince of Bavaria. That storyline is wrong on so many levels. One, she’s new money and has no family history. Two, she’s married, and if she was granted a divorce and was free to marry him, there’s the language barrier. (At least for Edward and Mrs. Simpson he was British and she was American.) The funny thing is she actually believed she had a chance with him, that he truly loved her. Oh boy!
That final scene between Penelope and Henry was well done. It reminded me of the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Lammle from Our Mutual Friend. Society brought those two people together, calling it the perfect match—she the mature young lady both beautiful and rich, he the handsome and wealthy bachelor, so lucky to get her—though it becomes immediately apparent that it was a match based on lies and assumptions, a union that can no longer be dissolved.
There’s also an essence of that union in Carolina’s relationship with Leland. She kept digging herself into a deeper hole, telling one fabrication after another. She even lied to his parents, telling them she no longer has any living relatives and no sister. And she naively kept up her relationship with Tristan. How could she not expect the truth to come flooding out? And I just loved the moment after she tells all, she envisions herself having a private ceremony with Leland on a yacht. *
Well at least Teddy Cutting got his happy ending. He and Diana were the only characters that strove to get what they wanted, even though the outcomes were not exactly the ones they had envisioned.