The Woman in White by Wilke Collins
Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics (April 25, 2005)
The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. ,
One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Dickens, Collins’s friend and mentor. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall readers today.
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.
Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction—Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant “Napoleon of Crime.”
I am really glad that I pushed myself to read this book!
It started off really drab and slow. This, for me, is generally a killer.. a drop this book and find another, thing.
I can attribute the fact that I didn’t put the book down to having just read Drood by Dan Simmons. In that book Wilke Collins is the narrator. Although the story is fiction there were many truths in the book, parts being: the naming and talking of many of the books written by both Wilke and Dickens, and parts of truths about their private lives. It was because of the later: about their private lives, that made me keep trying to read this book.
I had learned in Drood that Wilke Collins was addicted to the pain killer opium,.. and to huge amounts of it. I found myself really curious to see what sort of book someone under all that Opium would write. I also learned that most of what Wilke wrote was written as a serial for Dickens periodicals.
I hope not to say that all that Opium helped him write a really good book.. but.. after a horribly slow start.. and even a mediocre dull middle that the last 300 pages were well worth the struggle! In the end I have to say I really liked the book. Now, I’m not going to say that I may read it again one day.. but I did enjoy the mystery he wrote. I liked most of his characters and he wrote in an easier language than his mentor Charles Dickens writes.
Now I’ve only read one Dickens book , The Old Curiosity Shop, and like many other people, have seen many of Dickens books put to movies (which I enjoy more than reading Dickens)
This was a mystery of many parts.. which you only learn about in the last 200 pages. It’s also a love story. And Wilke Collins was in no hurry to let out all the love and all the secrets! lol
Would I recommend it? wow.. hard call. I REALLY wanted to like it and yet I almost gave up..I’m afraid others WILL give up.. but if you want to read a classic I will say that if you can struggle thru maybe the first 200 pages, which by the way ARE necessary for setting up the whole story, well then you may well be rewarded in the end.. I know I was.
This is book Six for the RIP Challenge!
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