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Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Woman in White


by Wilkie Collins
Rating 5/5
I've finished my first classic! Thanks to so many other bloggers for their glowing comments about Wilkie Collins. Without your comments I may never have heard of or read any of his works. I loved this book and found myself comparing it to another gothic novel that I read recently, The Thirteenth Tale. I rated TTT a 5 as well, but I must confess that there is NO comparison. The Woman in White is masterfully written, drawing the reader's interest from the start and holding through every phase of the story.

The mystery of The Woman in White is told by various narrators, who each reveal to the reader only those parts of the story they know or have discovered. The main narrator is Walter Hartright, who is employed by the odiously hypochondiac, Mr. Fairlie to instruct his two nieces, the half-sisters Laura and Marion.

A couple of the characters are so well formed that I'm sure they will stay with me for years. Although I don't fully understand Marions intense devotion to Laura, she is a very likeable person. She is intellegent, loyal and charming. Another powerful figure is Count Fosco, who is a large jovial man with a lust and love of life that you cannot help liking him even if you don't trust him.

I do not want to discuss the book too much. I knew nothing about the storyline, the characters, or even the genre of The Woman in White and, so was pleasantly surprised on all accounts. I know there are several who are reading this for the classics challenge and I'm anxious to hear how others felt about it.

21 comments:

jenclair said...

I'm so glad you liked it! When I recently re-read it, I was thrilled that it held up to my expectations--sometimes a second reading can prove a disappointment. Now, I've got to re-read The Moonstone.

Doesn't Collins manage a heck of a lot of information, deceptions, secrets, etc. exceptionally well?

Wendy said...

My first Wilkie Collins was in 2006...I read The Moonstone, which I enjoyed immensely. Your review makes me want to read The Woman in White (now if I can just find a spot in my "reading schedule" to fit it in...LOL!).

Wendy

Carl V. said...

I'm really kicking myself for getting away from this over the holidays. I need to get back to it as I was really enjoying it and am sure that I'll feel the same way you do about it once I've finished.

Lotus Reads said...

Ohhh, booklogged, this really does sound like a fantastic read! I remember Jenclair had lots of nice things to say about the book, too. I will definitely try to read it before the end of the year.

booklogged said...

Jenclair, you are one of the people I have to thank for drawing my interest towards this book. Collins is an amazing writer. He does pack a lot into a short 600 pages.

Wendy, I know what you mean about finding a spot to fit a book into. I love these challenges, but it does sort of cement your book choices for awhile. I'm planning on Moonstone for next year's classic read.

Carl, too many interruptions during the holidays, aren't there. I can't wait to hear your thoughts regarding it. I'm think you will like it.

Hello, Lotus. Some classics are so hard to get through or are so boring that it's a bit scary to pick up a big one. This one proves itself worthy of the claim to 'classic'. This is definitely one you'll want to keep in mind for when you have time.

bookish lore said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I read it some years ago and I still remember how much I loved it. It's amazing how you're easily drawn into the story and start caring for each character. And this multiple narrators technique is sth Collins certainly knew how to work with.

danielle said...

So glad you liked this! It is one of my favorite books. I loved the Moonstone, too, but the Woman in White is so well done. I really am going to have to reread it soon, though I have a few of Collins' other books to read first. He does the multiple narrators method quite well!!

Literary Feline said...

I had never heard of Wilkie Collins before this past fall and I've since purchased a copy of The Woman and White. I am not sure when it will win its way to the top of my TBR stack, but I do know it's one I definitely want to read. Thank you for a great review!

SuziQoregon said...

I'd never heard of Willkie Collins either till the Fall RIP challenge. I really want to read this.

Alyson said...

Looks like I'll be adding another to my TBR list.

CoversGirl said...

I love this book. With so much scheming going on it could have been forbiddingly complicated, but somehow all that information just flows off the page. It's been sitting on one of my TBR piles for months waiting to be re-read - maybe now I'll actually get around to it!

Bellezza said...

I read this book in the eighties, and so loved it I recommended it to my book club who were actually willing to tackle such a thick novel. It's memorable to everyone who reads it; they were all glad they did even the hard to please members. Anyway, your review makes me want to enjoy it all over again. Wasn't it great?!!

Kailana said...

After all the blog posts, I too bought this book, but I imagine it will be a while before I read it. I really like the cover!

I am crashing at the Classics Challenge. I am reading Classics, but they are for my Renaissance Drama course (ugh) and I find that I can't get in to anything else old right now. Hopefully I manage to stick one in somewhere!

Kucki said...

I am reading Woman in White just now, too, rather than any of the books in my classics challenge. Knit the Classics is reading this book for January, so at least I am keeping up with them.

Kucki said...

I am reading Woman in White just now, too, rather than any of the books in my classics challenge. Knit the Classics is reading this book for January, so at least I am keeping up with them.

Les said...

I'd never heard of this until last fall when it started appearing on several blogs for Carl's R.I.P. Challenge. I know nothing about the author or the book, but have definite plans to read it next October for the second annual R.I.P. challenge. Glad it was such a winner for you!

Christina said...

Sounds good. I have never heard of this one. I am going to put it on my list. I just joined booksfree with my daughter and I will add it tonight.

Framed said...

It sounds like there are similarities to "The Moonstone." I'm glad this is already on my TBR list, but, with all the challenges, it may be a while before I get to it. Maybe I'll do the RIP Challenge next fall and read this.

acquisitionist said...

Thanks for the entertaining review. I'm doing a Victorian lit class next semester and I have a feeling this is on the course list. yay!

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

ooooooooo I haven't started it yet but now I'm more anxious to do so!

Lesley said...

I read this so long ago that I don't really remember it. Perhaps it's time for a reread!