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The Woman in White | [Wilkie Collins]

The Woman in White

When Walter Hartright encounters the "solitary figure of a woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments" on a lonely road, he is haunted by her. He falls in love with his employer's niece, Laura, because she resembles the mysterious woman. Laura, however, is betrothed to the evil Sir Percival, who wishes to marry her for her money. The woman in white, it turns out, is Anne Catherick, who was confined in an asylum by the evil Sir Percival because she knew a devastating secret about him.
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Publisher's Summary

When Walter Hartright encounters the "solitary figure of a woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments" on a lonely road, he is haunted by her. He falls in love with his employer's niece, Laura, because she resembles the mysterious woman. Laura, however, is betrothed to the evil Sir Percival, who wishes to marry her for her money. The woman in white, it turns out, is Anne Catherick, who was confined in an asylum by the evil Sir Percival because she knew a devastating secret about him. Now he is determined to destroy Anne, disguise Laura as Anne and confine her, and obtain all of her money. The only one who can stop him is the courageous Marian Halcombe, Laura's half-sister.

A tremendous success when it was first published in 1860, The Woman in White still enthralls over a century later.

© and (P)1987 JimCin Recordings

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (282 )
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4.3 (64 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Virginia 12-21-07
    Virginia 12-21-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    282
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    "The Woman In White"

    This is the most wonderful presentation of a fascinating story. The plot is intricate and beautifully brought to a conclusion. The readers are simply marvellous. To listen to them all in roles of the colourful characters was a pure joy. An absolute thrill. Wilkie Collins writes with such clarity without wasting a word. Beautifully musical sentences. Lots of fun and a glimpse into an intriguing historical era. Wilkie Collins was a bon vivant and his writing reflects his thirst for life. Witty and clever writing. One of the best mysteries I have read. Great characters and I loved the settings of the action. Reading this has made me want to explore all his other stories and read his letters and biography. There is a Wilkie Collins Society in London which I will join when I finish reading and listening to all his works. I also listened to a shorter story called A Rogue's Life. This was great fun and very tongue in cheek. Again Collins creates a thrilling and symmetrical plot. When I listened to The Woman in White I also bought the book just so I could read the superb language he creates. There is not a single dull moment in this book. I recommend this famous novel to you. Next I am going to listen to and read The Moonstone. Wilkie Collins conveys tension and intrigue in a way that simply grips the reader. He sets scenes to a point where the reader feels totally immersed in his world. He is interesting in the way he treats his women too. The reader sees the sexism of the Age but also feels that Collins himself was not one to stereotype women to the extent that one may see in Dickens' characters. Collins creates somewhat more rounded characters. His virtuous characters are not quite as sickly as those Dickens creates. His villains are really wicked and conniving to an engaging and thrilling extent. Collins takes the reader on a ride that one wishes would never end but which forces one to rush enthusiastically to the conclusion. Brilliant presentation of a gem!

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Haines, AK 01-20-08
    Laura Haines, AK 01-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic Victorian Mystery"

    Listening to this audiobook was the reason I joined Audible. The strength of this is the narration which is incredibly well done. I loved the fact that they had different readers for different parts as it totally brought the characters to life! Yes, as others have noted, this can be a bit wordy, but that's simply a reflection of the style of the times. Writers in the Victorian era never used 10 words when 20 would do.
    Wilkie Collins was ahead of his time not only when it came to writing well-plotted mystery; but, like Austen, Dickens and others, he was a keen social observer and his characters, especially the women, reflect their relative place in society. The women characters may seem easily manipulated to us today, but their depiction by Wilkie is an accurate reflection of the times in which they lived.
    Basically, if you couldn't care less about the genre and the social context in which it was written, how about just a good story, well-told and SUPERBLY narrated? If that's what you're after, then this one is for you.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Atchinson 03-30-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Woman in White (Unabridged)"

    As a fan of historical novels (e.g., The Winthrop Woman) that provide believable heroines it's difficult to believe that I had not read this one. The suspense, the quality of writing and knowing that this book was written so very long ago all blended together to provide a book that was difficult to put down. The narrators of this particular recording contributed to it's pleasure by instilling a sense of listening in on the past that was thoroughly enjoyable!

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Assonet, MA, USA 12-29-06
    Glenn Assonet, MA, USA 12-29-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic mystery"

    Excellent "old-fashioned" mystery told in the "many points of view" style. Each character has his or her own voice ( i.e. different readers ). Some were better than others but the overall effect was great.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Wilton, CT, USA 06-09-08
    Carolyn Wilton, CT, USA 06-09-08 Member Since 2002
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    "An outstanding timeless pleasure."

    A treat to read a clever, civilized tale that holds your attention and rewards the reader. It is amazing that this adventure is over a century old and holds up better than most of todays offerings.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise M Cranston, RI, USA 06-02-08
    Louise M Cranston, RI, USA 06-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    This made our long, long, ten hour car trip just fly but. Whole family loved it. We especially liked how the various sections were read by different characters. Made it seem very real, even if it was written a long time ago. Five stars from a car full of might have been bored otherwise people!!

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie 06-08-07
    Stephanie 06-08-07

    There is no frigate like a book ~ E. Dickinson

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Readers & Story"

    If you liked the Moonstone you will love The Woman in White. This is an excellent recording of another classic British mystery/romance. Don't miss this story of love, loss, insanity, attempted murder, spies, and intrigue!

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Rajan Boston, Ma 04-24-07
    A. Rajan Boston, Ma 04-24-07 Listener Since 2007

    amazon shopper

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More complex than Moonstone"

    I thoroughly enjoyed Moonstone-the famous mystery novel by the same author. I was skeptical when I decided to buy "The woman in white" wondering if it would live up to the standard of Moonstone.I am glad that it was even better. I could hardly stop listening to it. The narrators were quite good, especially the voice of Marian Holcomb is rivet ting. I highly recommend it,especially if you love British literature !!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy 04-28-08
    Tammy 04-28-08
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    "Excellent"

    This was an excellent book. The suspense had me on the edge of my seat. I could hardly wait for the reader to keep going. If I was reading the book, I wouldn't have been able to put it down. One of the best books I've listened to so far.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Reader 09-11-07
    A Reader 09-11-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent version"

    This is one of my favorite Wilkie Collins novels. He manages to combine an tantalizing mystery with the perfect amount of creepiness to keep me on the edge of my seat. The first time I read it; I read it again soon after. This audio version is beautifully done with well selected narrators for the three distinct voices in the book. I highly recommend it.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Clare
    AberdeenUnited Kingdom
    3/11/08
    Overall
    "Terrible version!"

    Novel is great fun, but don't be fooled by the brief audio snippet provided on the website into thinking that this is an English version, it is American - and how! Some of the readers are OK, but their 'English' accents are terribly mannered and weak at times. Two hideous examples of mispronunciation as well - 'Torquay' being the most memorable. Truly dire attempts at cockney and other regional accents as well. High point was a hilarious rendition of the effeminate hypochondriac Frederick Fairlie - extremely well-observed by actor.

    Liked idea that there were different voices for each individual's 'testimony', it's just a shame that they were Americans making a largely feeble attempt at 'doing' English accents, accents which frequently slipped into their native American ones. (I haven't checked, but I imagine that this version is quite an old one. I don't think that this would pass rigorous standards set for modern versions.)

    If you're not keen on American accents and have never read the book before steer clear - I don't think that this version would add anything to your enjoyment.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Nigel
    Malmesbury, United Kingdom
    6/24/07
    Overall
    "Great novel, dreadful reading"

    Wilkie Collins' 'The Woman in White' is a compelling mystery full of suspense and intrigue. The characterisations are vivid and the situations depicted are by turns sentimental, intriguing and terrifying. All in all, it's a thoroughly satisfying Victorian novel and a fascinating historical link in the evolution of the psychological crime story.

    This reading, however, is the worst that I've encountered at Audible, where the standard is usually pleasingly high. The readers are all North Americans attempting to do English accents and, although some are better at it than others, the results over all are pretty dreadful. It would have been better if they had just read their parts using their own natural accents. Instead, we get a peculiar mixture of stilted pseudo-British enunciation and clanging American vowel sounds that this reader found most disagreeable and highly distracting.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Margaret
    ROCHFORD, Essex, United Kingdom
    3/22/08
    Overall
    "Terrible accents!"

    I agree with Clare about the accents. I found most of them reasonably 'English' in the first 2 parts, except for mispronunciation of words like 'inquiry' in which the stress should be on the second syllable and not the first. And 'Tor-kway' not 'Tor-kee'! Mrs Michaelson was the worst and the most obviously American. I thought this was a shame, for an English audience about such a ground-breaking English novel.

    As writers did in his time, Wilkie Collins uses 20 words where one would do. How DID they manage it, using pen and ink, laboriously scratched on paper? However, the story is compelling. It's worth mentioning, however, that in 1860 ALL of a woman's money became her husband's the moment the marriage was solemnised. I don't think Laura's signature would ever have been required. Not until the Married Women's Property Acts 20 years later, until then a woman didn't own even the clothes she stood up in.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • clive
    chesterfield, United Kingdom
    4/21/08
    Overall
    "Ripping yarn"

    I've just listened to this book, and then read the reviews. To be honest I didn't really notice the terrible accents that everyone else comments on. The reading style is somewhat idiosyncratic, and takes a little getting used to, but I grew to really like it. Perhaps I was too busy concentrating on the ornate prose style or perhaps I'm just dimwitted. Fantastic characters and great melodrama - and a lot more entertaing than most of the Victorian literature i've trawled through. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tracy
    Chippenham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
    6/8/07
    Overall
    "View of English Literature undergraduate"

    Fantastic book, with endless turns of plot. Read an incredible diversity in tone on the part of the actor.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
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