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The Woman in White | [Wilkie Collins]

The Woman in White

Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall ever since. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.
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Publisher's Summary

Young Walter Hartright meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the 19th century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall ever since.

From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.

Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing-master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins's psychological thriller has never been out of print since its publication in 1860.

While Collins's other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed "Author of The Woman in White."

Public Domain true(P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Classics, 2011

"Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit." (Dorothy L. Sayers)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (442 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 07-29-13
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 07-29-13 Member Since 2013

    I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary Book!"

    I don't know how this book escaped me all these years (and me...an English major!) but I am so glad I finally got to it. Written in 1859, this is the type of mystery-thriller that isn't attempted anymore. It is a complex and detailed story that combines nefarious and mysterious behavior while ultimately proving that love conquers all.

    This is the story of Walter Hartright, a common artist who finds a woman in dressed in white on a solitary London road at midnight, begging for his help. It describes the quagmire Walter falls into because of his kindness to this woman -- a quagmire that takes him across the land to uncover the mystery of the woman in white. Along the way, he encounters an evil count, a greedy baronet, a beautiful lookalike, a handsome older sister and many other intriguing characters.

    It's long and involved, sometimes convoluted, with a large cast of characters and lots of moving pieces...but everything works with a rhythm that hums perfectly from page 1 all the way to the end. And, even if you think a character or an action will have no bearing on the story, think again! Considered one of literature's first mystery novels, Wilkie Collins carefully plotted and planned each movement of every character so all the puzzle pieces coalesce into a perfect whole.

    It's exciting and fun, somewhat challenging at times, but well worth the effort. In addition, the audio performances are wonderful...this was a real treat to listen to and I was so sorry when it ended.

    If you love mysteries, if you love villains, if you love love...you'll love The Woman in White.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dixie 07-02-12
    Dixie 07-02-12
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    "Wonderful novel, great narrations, the best!"
    Where does The Woman in White rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top of the list of audiobooks. Other audiobooks are boring after listening to this audiobook.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The story kept me spellbound. Stayed up late, I didn't want to stop listening. This audiobook was absolutely the best. I wish there was a sequel.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Kettering, OH, USA 06-29-12
    Andrea Kettering, OH, USA 06-29-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Kept my interest!"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this audiobook. Although I got the sense it could have been condensed into a shorter, less wordy version. It was hard for me, a modern woman, to suffer through the way women of that time were being treated (as the property of their father/guardian/husbands). But sticking with it proved rewarding.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maxie Brooks Strother LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, US 08-13-12
    Maxie Brooks Strother LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, US 08-13-12
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    "The Mystery Goes On"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Recommend if you like complex plot and intriguing characters. Just when I though the puzzle was solved, there would be a new twist.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Variety of characters who often portrayed the thinking of the era. Insight into woman's issues during this period.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Several favorite scenes: included intrigue in castle when sisters were ill and when the villian met his just end.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell 06-27-12
    Russell 06-27-12 Member Since 2008

    I love books and animals.I enjoy all sorts of genres, anything from history to supernatural.

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    "Great old novel"

    This is a great novel if someone enjoys classic novels like Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde. The author did a fantastic job of creating an entire world with interesting characters that keep you intrugued. It is a subtle mystery, not too shocking but interesting enough.
    The structure of the novel itself is also interesting. It is segmented into character testimonies as it progresses, its different and keeps it from going stale since it is such a long read.
    The narration is fantastic. There are several narrators that narrate for each individual testimony.
    Overall, if you are a fan of classic novels like Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde then you will most likely enjoy this novel. It is a very long so make sure you really like classic novels before commiting to this novel because it can seem a bit slow at times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Corpus Christi, Tx, United States 06-27-12
    Mary Corpus Christi, Tx, United States 06-27-12 Member Since 2011

    Nurse working at being a nurse practitioner. The only way I have time to read for pleasure is audio books while I drive to work. I have always liked audio books.

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    "Good good good"
    What did you love best about The Woman in White?

    Mystery intrigue keeps moving


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    The mouthy kind of obnoxious daughter that is not very attractive maybe ugly


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The way the 1 st character describes his feelings for people and especially his feelings for the more attractive well off sister.


    Any additional comments?

    I like the constant connected events

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilde Bergen, Norway 05-07-12
    Hilde Bergen, Norway 05-07-12 Member Since 2010

    Norwegian, creatomaniac and a lover of fantasy and adventure audiobooks. I usually put one on while I am making whatever takes my fancy.

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    "Engaging and interresting"

    This book is about love, mystery, secrets and lies.

    The different voices bring life and spirit to the different characters and I found myself engaged even though I do not normally like this genre.

    The story is at times a bit predictable, but there is enough twists and turns to keep the flow.

    I suggest lovers of secrets and lovestories take a look at Woman in White, I think they wont regret it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Muslim manlius, NY, United States 05-05-12
    Muslim manlius, NY, United States 05-05-12
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    "wonderfully written,narrated and presented"

    from start till the end the story move smoothly ,keeping listener interested and intrigue with plot suspense.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Lebanon, NH, United States 03-19-12
    Kathleen Lebanon, NH, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2010
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    "A superb retelling of a classic"
    What made the experience of listening to The Woman in White the most enjoyable?

    The narrators were excellent and each character was very clearly defined,


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The many voices show the class and regional accents in a most illuminating way


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 03-05-12
    Deborah 03-05-12 Member Since 2011

    love to read, love to listen

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    "The narrators really shine!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Woman in White the most enjoyable?

    The narrators. The story was very good, but they really brought it to life.


    What other book might you compare The Woman in White to and why?

    It's a Victorian era mystery.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The descriptions of the characters are very good, but the narrators really put a breath of life into them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I think every time the villain entered the picture, I was entertained.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Sarah
    CHRISTCHURCH, Dorset, United Kingdom
    11/20/10
    Overall
    "the wonderful woman in white"

    This has been a lovely, gentle book to wallow in - the easy flowing narrative, the delightful style harking back to a finer age in time and the clever weaving and wandering of the story line. There is simplicity in the romanticsim and ideas of the book but this really doesn't mattter when on a higher plane there is much to enjoy: beautifully constructed characters, delightful descriptions of people, places and scenes and the inevitability of where the story eventually ends up. A wonderful audio book that I recommend highly - for a historical setting with a relevant theme (jealousy, greed, love, boys-meets-girl, etc, etc), gentle pace with no shocks (no bad language, no violoence, etc) and a mystery cleverly woven through PLUS its an enjoyable listen! I think that the 'listen' is half the pleasure of some audio books - I would never have the time to have read The Woman in White but I was able to 'catch it' in the car, doing the housework, etc.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Liz
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    2/14/12
    Overall
    "Glorious Narrators"

    This was a really excellent way to read The Woman in White. I would strongly recommend purchasing this version of the audiobook over any other which doesn't have such an extensive cast. The narrator changes many times throughout, and the shifts in narrator (each embodying the character very well) made this highly enjoyable, in a way which a single narrator may have lacked.

    If you're looking for something short and sweet, um, stay away from 19th Century literature? But the mystery, plot turns, and suspense work for a modern reader, although some of the social anxieties about asylums might not.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Denise
    Tilford, United Kingdom
    6/11/11
    Overall
    "Intriguing Mystery"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At first the pace of the narrative seemed quite slow & took a while to get used to but as the story moved on it seemed to fit right in with the Victorian characters and period. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and couldn't wait for an opportunity to listen. It's a story of the time - forbidden love, oppressed women, with sinister characters and a mystery thrown in. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • barjil
    BEMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "The first thriller writer"

    Wilkie Collins is sometimes thought to be the first thriller writer, and this book bears out that idea. It is ideally written for translation into spoken word as it's in several parts, each written by a different character. This particular version exploits this by having several readers which greatly enhances the book.



    Unlike many nineteenth century novels, 'The Woman in White' jumps into its plot from the very beginning and one is engaged with the characters right away. It has fewer characters than a Dickens novel, where you've often lost sight of someone long before they turn up again and so the story is tightly woven.



    If you haven't read 'The Woman in White' or 'The Moonstone' I'm envious of the pleasure you have in store!



    'The Woman in White'



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sandra
    Newcastle upon TyneUnited Kingdom
    4/28/11
    Overall
    "so long and drawn out"

    very well done, but sooo long and drawn out. Turns out to be quite a simple story but twenty words are used when only a couple are needed. I guess it's the old English language. Took me several attempts to get to the end but it's ok.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Beautifully written and told!"

    I chose this book because it was a historical novel, narrated in part by John Lee (who i particularly like to listen to!) and because it was one of the longest books and I wanted a story to last me throughout my holiday and what a good choice....! I really enjoyed this book, it was beautifully written by a fabulous wordsmith! I particularly liked the way Wilki Collins tells the story through the memories of the characters in the story, it is a psychological thriller with suspense, secrets, frustrations and it keeps you interested throughout.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gianluigi
    Crewe, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Really enjoyed this!"

    The Woman in White was a set book in my Uni course. This version broke up the monotony of reading and gave a fresh insight as there was a variety of narrators.

    Definitely recommend this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    3/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good"

    Well written and extremely well read. A very long winded account excellently handled by the several narrators, most entertaining overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Hayes
    United Kingdom
    2/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mind-numbingly boring :("
    What disappointed you about The Woman in White?

    I really fail to understand why there are so many positive reviews. Although I daresay the story has some interesting twists and turns, it took soooo looong to get anywhere that I gave up about half way through. I think the story could have been told just as well using far fewer words! A case in point is an early chapter where the central character is set up to take up his new job via a very rambling conversation- why did it take so long??? The story-telling was not well balanced; conversations frequently go into excessive detail on certain points, while a major plot development (2 central characters falling in love over a few months) is summarised in a few sentences.


    What could Wilkie Collins have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Get to the point more quickly - less rambling dialogue!


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narrators did a reasonable job in the circs, although I wasn't convinced by the male narrator's portrayal of the woman in white - made a young girl sound like an old dame


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Woman in White?

    I'd have cut out a lot of the more long and rambling conversations/ descriptions


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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