Henry James complained that people don't pay close enough attention when reading his books. He may not have realized what he was asking. Not only does one have to read this book closely; one has to read between the lines, as well. "The Wings of the Dove" is made up of characters so subtle and so intelligent that even a careful reader will be challenged to keep up. The story follows a young man, Densher, and woman, Kate Croy, who want to be together, but in a brighter financial situation. Kate devises a plan to improve their prospects and asks Densher only to be patient. Her intelligence and moral flexibility allow her to adjust her original plan when the possibility of an even better outcome presents itself in the person of Milly Theale, "the Dove." What the process will do to Milly is of little importance to Densher and Kate at the outset. However, as the pair gets to know Milly better, Densher's conviction begins to crumble. Despite his best efforts to turn a blind eye to his own part in a terrible deception, he feels his character eroding and needs constant reassurance from Kate that it all will be worth it in the end.
This report prepared by Cindy Dashnaw