Title: The Woman in White
Author: Wilkie Collins
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, classic
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy borrowed from a friend
First line: This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.
Goodreads blurb: The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.
I’m really late in getting this post up; it was due on the 31st. I finished the book in plenty of time, but seem to have lost my review writing mojo. I’m going to be lazy, and go with a bullet-points style review of the things I loved about this book.
~ The way the story was told. While there were two main narrators, Walter and Marian, the story was also told from other people’s points of view when they had access to knowledge the others didn’t have. As a result, the story was told chronologically, and unfolded almost like someone was taking down statements for a police report. It was a very effective way to tell the story.
~ The mystery of who the Woman in White is and why Laura Fairlie’s fiance is trying to shut her up is very complex. I really thought it was going in one direction, then it went in another. There were a few surprise twists that I just loved.
~ The romance. I can’t say too much, because I definitely don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure yet, but it is absolutely wonderful.
~ The writing. Wilkie Collins is a contemporary of Dickens, and although I have enjoyed a couple of Dickens’ works, I prefer Collins’ writing style. It is less rambling, less florid. The characters seem more fully rounded and less like caricatures. I can’t wait to read more of his books, starting with The Moonstone.
~ The villains. There are two: Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco. They are very different from each other, but each are evil and dastardly, one openly, and one in a more pernicious, sly way. They were fun to hate.
Did anyone else dig into The Woman in White last month – or ever? What did you think? If you’ve ever reviewed it, please leave a link in the Mr. Linky so I can read your thoughts.