16 June 2012

Book Review: The Woman in White

Title: The Woman in White
Author: Wilkie Collins
Publisher/Year: Wordsworth Classics / 1859
Source/Format: Shelves / Print
Date Finished: 16 June 2012
Book # 33

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Heading off to Limmeridge, drawing-master Walter Hartright chances upon a woman in white on the road to London. This mysterious meeting sets off a chain of events which inexorably tie his destiny to that of the two ladies he is engaged to tutor. What follows is a riveting tale of dark, twisty plots and unsavory secrets.

A Bit of a Ramble
Collins' use of multiple narrators is, as usual, awesome. While I found the voices in The Moonstone to be more distinct, I still enjoyed hearing the varying personalities of the cast of characters in this Gothic tale. Even without hearing their distinct voices, the characters that people the world Collins has created are captivating. Mrs. Catherick's short time on the page packs as much punch as the incredible amount of time donated to the mysterious Fosco. Each character appears a well developed, unique person with a complex personality. I do so love my character development. Speaking of which....

Marian. She's so awesome that I have difficulty believing Hartright isn't more than half in love with her. Good thing she is so unattractive or our story may have taken a decidedly different turn (although how wrong is it that intelligent, loyal, determined Marian isn't the love interest due to something as superficial as looks?) Personally, I find it a bit disconcerting that in the end (hello plot spoiler) Hartright, his pretty but rather childish wife Laura, and Marian live together. Good for Hartright getting the best of both worlds, eh? He can get all the intellectual stimulation he needs from Marian and all the uh...other stimulation he needs from Laura. I get why this is done, but it still bugs me a bit.

Not much else bugs me about this story though. The plot is complicated without being pretentious, the atmosphere is downright immersive, and the issues dealt with are varied and thought-provoking. Two thumbs up. You can throw my big toes in there too actually. At almost 500 pages, the book is a chunkster but it reads like a novella: quick and exciting. Go forth my lovelies and read this.

Counts towards my Classics Reading Project under Goal #1 Read Books I Own


  1. I never thought of the end like that! But you may be onto something there. It's like a Sister-Wife thing. lol

  2. I've had this on my short list FOREVER, so I guess it isn't a short list is it? I loved The Moonstone so much, and I'm all over the whole Gothic thing. Maybe it is the length that scared me away. I'm thinking this is just what I need for RIP this year.

  3. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy. Will add it to my list, though I need more titles on my TBR list as much as I need a hole in the head. :)

  4. K, I've never read the book so I shouldn't be allowed to comment but I saw the movie and they way they did it was so hokey it sorta ruined the idea for me. I know better to judge a book by the movie but...yeah.

  5. Oh Marian, I heart her so. She's too wonderful for Hartright who is ultimately so boring but you're right that he sorta gets the best of both worlds by living with both ladies.

  6. I love this book so much. And Marian! Part of me can't help but believe that Collins himself was rooting for her, and that Laura was his concession to what a Victorian heroine was expected to be like.

  7. I think Hartright's a fool, but the device doesn't bother me because of when it was written. Still, he's a fool. And yes, wonderful book!

  8. Yet another classic that I still need to get to!

  9. Oh yes, I totally loved this one as well. The Count still kind of makes me laugh/creeps me out. Collins definitely creates wonderfully round characters.

  10. Ooh, I just downloaded this from Librivox and plan to enjoy it on my commute to work next week. I really didn't love Armadale so have avoided Collins since then, but maybe I'll like this one. It has a pretty great premise!

  11. Marian, I love her so! That was my only issue with this book. I just wanted more for her in the end.

  12. I have a fear of classics but this one comes up often enough that I think I need to read it. Sounds like a good RIP read!

  13. Such a great book! I loved it.


Talk to me baby!