Rob's Blog

Book: ‘The White Dress’ by Mignon G. Eberhart – July 28th, 2016

by on Jul.28, 2016, under Books

The White DressThe White Dress by Mignon G. Eberhart
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This part of my Florida library:

What a muddled mystery drowned in melodramatic fluff.

The story starts fine and rather briskly as most of the cast lands in Miami from New York. They make their way to the fictitious “Shadow Island” and soon the mystery begins. As the dozens and dozens of pages go by Eberhart does all she can to over indulge in repetition of everything else that has already gone on in the book. 75% of the last of the book has endless questions and wonderings. 35% of this book should have been edited out.

There are also waaaaay to many “moving shadows”, “dark figures” and other mysterious references to, what are written as, potential threats. I can understand a few here or there observed by one character. However, there is a rash of characters with selective vision issues proclaiming seeing this or that.

The characters are poorly described. There is a reference to an airline owner, but we learn little else about him throughout the book. I’ve had similar problems with Eberhart’s writing in the past. Thee worse case of this is an only described Navy man with business interests that we never know more about. What’s worse is no one else does either. He appears out of no where, announces same, intent on meeting the airline owner and then throughout is treated as part of the family. Yet, little else is known.

The setting is loosely written. Once on the island that characters move little. So 95% takes place on the island. More below.

The Florida part: Eberhart shows little knowledge of Florida. Probably research involved a vacation for a few days. She does mention Collins Avenue, but the idea of a singular home on an island with a causeway and a hurricane runs through and access is not impeded by it has so much wrong with it, the book flies into science fiction territory.

I believe Eberhart was basing the island on Star Island, but she shows her lack of knowledge in that a causeway is never mentioned and the writing is of some road that crosses to the “island”. Franky, i believe she really means a peninsula. However approached the setting of the island makes little sense.

Because this book was published in 1945 I can forgive the now trite use of a hurricane to a Flordia based story. However, Eberhart knows little of hurricanes. Seems she wrote based on other’s observations. The storm is written more like a very strong Florida thunderstorm than hurricane.

One thing she does here I’ve never seen in a book before and that is the constant reference of Australian pines ads Casuarina trees, which is what most technically are.

The cover of this July 1976 edition reflects an artist given an assignment but not made to read the book. No Australian pines there. All palm trees. Also, despite the title of the book is in big letter, ‘The White Dress”, the artists paints more of a ’70s pants-dress. Also, for some reason not mentioned in the book, is a male head with a very heavy beard.

Bottom line: I do not recommend this book. 3 out of ten points.

View all my reviews

3 comments for this entry:
  1. Allison Baker

    Okay, so I just finished The White Dress and enjoyed it more than you did. But I’m confused by the ending . . . Does Winnie commit suicide? Or does Bill Cameron kill her (in order to avoid the trial and keep the family’s reputation intact)? Or does she get caught in the hurricane while rowing? Or are we not supposed to really know?

  2. Rob Smith, Jr.

    Thank you, Allison, for your message. I’ll need to find my copy and refresh my memory about the ending. Since I read the book over a year ago, I moved my Florida based paperbacks and some other personal issues along with the hurricane mess has the books more scattered than not. I’ll find it. Also, I’ve read over a hundred books since then, which might also be why don’t remember the connection between the rowing and the hurricane.why

    I have found Eberhart books to be too muddled for me.

  3. Allison Baker

    Thanks, Rob. No rush. I hope you weren’t too severely impacted by the hurricane. Ironically, of course, the White Dress involves a hurricane (and that’s why I’m a little confused by the ending). I’ll be interested to hear your interpretation. I think that she may just have gotten caught in the hurricane, but that’s not clear.

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