Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
A great Victorian/Gothic novels most people never hear about. If you like the Bronte sisters and Middlemarch, you'll enjoy this.
Early on we are introduced to the mysterious woman in white when Walter Hartright is travelling to Limmeridge house to be a drawing tutor for two young ladies, Laura Fairlie and her half-sister Marian Halcombe. They rest of the book tells the the story of Walter, Laura and Marian.
Wonderful evil characters - Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco. Excellent fun, and the narration of Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey was superb.
Interesting note - Wilkie Collins was a friend of Charles Dickens.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
I picked this up because there's a reference to it in Ulysses, and Joyce owes a tiny debt to Wilkie Collins for developing the idea of a multi-narrator novel. With Collins' The Moonstone, it has a place in history as the original mystery novel.
That said, it's very hokey stuff, a bad gothic story that relies on a string of coincidences and a very Victorian concept of foreigners. Some of the descriptions of action are just hideously long and dull. I almost gave up halfway through.
The readers trade off, Prebble reading the male narrators and Bailey the female ones. Both are masters of the craft.
I listened to this book and, even though I thought the readers were ok (I didn't really like the voice of Marion, and thought it almost sounded computer-generated at first), I really loved the whole thing. Some of the characters, especially Marion and the sinister Count Fosco, are just amazingly well portrayed. Poor Laura Fairlie, the central figure in the story, is just lovely, but frail and pale, and allows herself to be married to a creepy guy whose single-minded interest in her fortune becomes very clear before the wedding. Percival Glide, is SO easy to hate. The mystery of the woman in white and all the strands of the twisted plot are woven together a bit at a time. The keys to the mystery become revealed towards the end.
The main narrator is Walter Hartley, a drawing master who falls in love with lovely Laura at first sight. But Laura is betrothed to Percival, a Baronet, in an arrangement made by her father before he died. Laura and her half-sister Marion live at Limeridge at the sufferance of their uncle Frederick Fairlie. Now there's a character! He is a petulant invalid who misuses his servants ("right now, he (the valet) is a drawing stand") and claims his nervous weakness as an excuse to selfishly disregard his niece Laura's situation, even when the family attorney tells him specifically that it's a startlingly poor deal. The reader has Fairlie's weak whiny quavering voice to perfection! Later, Walter refers to Uncle Fairlie's communications, but spoken and written, as "insolent politeness."
There are many other wonderful characters and terrific twists and turns in the plot. I was just a bit disappointed in the "easy" ending. I would have liked to know more about how it all came about, although the irony of the ending was rather satisfying.
Evidently, Mr. Collins gave Charles Dickens a run for his money back in the day. This novel is Gothic and juicy and wonderful. If you think you might not enjoy reading the sometimes convoluted Victorian narrative style, consider the audible version.
I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.
I know many readers loved this novel but I was interested for the first third. In the second third of the book, I was getting eager to gain a little info to resolve the puzzle and became increasingly frustrated as I waited for details to emerge. In the last third of the book, I just plain gave up. It was a book with a lot of build-up and the resolution was like a dud firecracker, nothing. The quality of the writing is well-done victorian style but it's a "go nowhere" book as far as I am concerned. I would like my time back. The reader was good and I gave it two stars for the very intriguing first third of the book and the beautiful descriptive writing.
The story was intreging and I could not put it down.
I don't know what I was expecting actually. The reviews made the story sound quite intriguing. Although it was well written and moved along, it held no special interest for me. It was like riding a roller coaster that didn't have ups and downs enough to be captivating. I got sick of the "fading violet" acts and wasn't drawn to any particular character. Sooo, it was just ok.
I would have perhaps added a bit more excitement or mystery.
I don't think I had one.
No. I wasn't moved, but I didn't expect the death of one of the characters to occur when and how it did.
Many pages to tell a relatively short story with a lot of unnecessary "fluff" that seemed to be added simply to lengthen it but didn't do much to enhance it.
Great plot, and characters. The narrations puts you in the room with players. Wonderful!
The author's discription of the characters is rich
I had to try this book twice - the opening is a bit slow but once you are through the set-up it is fantastic. Great characters, intriguing story, interesting story telling - highly recommend it.
The beginning is a bit philosophical but it gets really suspenseful after the first few chapters and stays interesting until the end. A good investment.