The “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

womaninwhiteTitle: 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.

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9 Responses to The “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I’ve been wanting to read this book as well. It sounds like it’s worth making the time for.

  2. Kristen says:

    I read it about a year ago and loved it. Igave it five stars on goodreads. I would link my review, but I was obviously in a busy period because the review was basically, I loved it.

    I want to read Moonstone too. Maybe next year…

  3. JoAnn @Lakeside Musing
    Twitter: lakesidemusing

    It’s been several years, but I loved The Woman in White, too… almost as much as The Moonstone. It’s definitely time for me to read another Wilkie Collins.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      JoAnn – if The Moonstone is even better, then I’m really looking forward to it!

  4. Ronnica
    Twitter: RonnicaZ

    I read the book some time ago…too long ago to remember the details, but I remember enjoying it. I did like it better than most Dickens that I’ve attempted because it was a little easier to get through.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Ronnica – I have a feeling that all of his writing will be easier for me than Dickens!