I tried to read this book for the first time when I was in my late teens, but I couldn't stand it. The language was just too flowery and long-winded. After twelve years or so, I just tried to read it again. This time, I was able to get through the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hawthorne's descriptive language. His ability to paint a picture through words is amazing; however, this same technique is what caused the book to move so slowly. Hawthorne took hundreds of words to say what could easily have been said in a couple of sentences. Yes, that is just the way American romantic novelists of the mid-nineteenth century wrote; still, for American readers of the twenty-first century who are used to fast-paced life, this sort of writing can be difficult at times.
My biggest problem with this book was its ending. Everything was just too neatly wrapped up. The remainder of the Pyncheon clan and Holgrave had too happy an ending. With the background of the Pyncheons, they should not have had such an ideal ending! The ending should not have been so neatly tied up. There should have been loose ends and serious problems remaining for everyone.
If you enjoy Hawthorne or just simply want to become more familiar with mid-nineteenth century American literature, read The House of the Seven Gables. If you cannot abide books that spend more time with setting, descriptions, etc., than actual movement of the plot, you might want to read another book.