The Woman in White, considered one of the first mystery novels and is the best known work of English novelist Wilkie Collins.
Late one night, a drawing teacher meets a mysterious woman dressed in white. Who is she, and what is her connection to the teacher's new pupil, a beautiful heiress?
Serialized in 1859 - 1860, and first published in book form in 1860 it is still regarded still as one of the best plots in English literature. Told from multiple perspectives, the story is brought to life by its marvellous villains and complex, spirited and believable female characters.
William Wilkie Collins (1824 - 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories.
Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.
I had this book figured out wrong at least ten different times including the end. The author is one clever person who knows how to keep a body on edge. Spies, murder, the kidnapping of beautiful ladies, evil noblemen, ladies locked away in madhouses and of course, the stealing of an heiress's fortune. The author lets one think that one thing is about to happen then something else slaps one up-side the head. I was certain that my favorite characters were to be murdered. What actually happened was far more interesting. This book kept me on edge until I finished about 3AM. A word about the narrator, Gabriel Woolf does an unbelievable job. He completely assumes each character to disappear thus allowing the story to twist and turn.
Some of the reviews criticize this production because the reader makes some mistakes, such as a few burps. The listener should take into consideration that the producer is the UK's RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). The productions are rather old and were done on a limited budget. This is why the price is so low. However, this does not mean that the readings are poor. To the contrary, all of the RNIB audiobooks I've listened to were read by top notch British actors who, in my opinion, do a far better job than most professional readers. The reader of this audiobook, Gabriel Wolff, gives a stellar performance. I recognize him from other audiobooks. He is superb. I'll gladly tolerate his occasional snafu which would have been cleaned up by a more expensive production, in exchange for his protean character adaptations. The aristocrats sound like aristocrats and the commoners sound like commoners. Though I guess I could have rated this 4 stars because of the uneven production, when one takes into consideration the extremely low price, this audiobook clearly deserves 5 stars.
I loved this long rambling and very eloquent narration! The hero and heroine are winning, the villains scheming and amoral, and the mystery fascinating.
I have listened to many, many audiobooks, and I would rate The Woman in White as one of the best and most engaging novels out there. Imagine a cross between Charles Dickens and a soap opera & you will get an idea of tone of this book. The story moves along with a number of twists and turns to keep it interesting. The characters are very well drawn and, in the end (like a Dickens novel) the good guys win and the bad guys lose.
Say something about yourself!
Why did it take me so long to discover this spine-tingler? I majored in literature and heard this book mentioned; why not simply read it then when I was young? No matter. I'm on the second listen now and catching more bits of characterization, more details that show the author's careful planning of his story. The book transports you to 1850's England country houses with servants, long walks, dressing for dinner, dependable trains and amazingly fast mail service! Of course you want to know what happens next. Sometimes the book seems slow, as country life can seem slow. Then something is overheard or a letter is intercepted or there is a conversation during which you want to tell one of the characters to listen, pay attention and make the connection! Or don't do what you're about to do! On subsequent listens you notice how the attitudes of some characters change with time. One of the villains is mulled over and considered quite a nice-looking man, and a real charmer despite kicking dogs and yelling at servants!! So while I was commenting to myself "Gimme a break!" I was also captivated by the Victorian language and concerns in the story. ... Gabriel Woolf is an excellent narrator. Except for a couple froggies in the throat, his reading is perfect. . . I enjoyed that while the book is set in England, its scope is global. The characters go abroad and return. Or they have lived abroad. Or they are from elsewhere. . . . Collins ties everything up at the end. Lovely happy ending with our favorite characters plus of course a new little person facing their fortunate future. . . . A last comment: audible's blurb about the book suggests that it is multi-layered or a demanding mental puzzle. Yes it is, but for a reasonably bright person it is an effortless listen. I received some life-changing mail yesterday and push myself now to write this review quickly and badly to tell everybody to READ THIS BOOK -- YOU WON'T BE SORRY!
You would consider this an accomplished performance if you pretended you were listening to a live reading, hence overlooked occasional verbal fumbles, swallowing noises, paper shuffling, etc. One assumes they just set a microphone in front of the reader and let him go from start to finish; not the most professional of production values, especially when other versions with fully staged casts are available. Nevertheless, the reader does a good job evoking the Victorian literary voice and creating individual characters. But don't buy this version unless it has a significantly lowered sale price.
This story is way over and above The Moonstone, and anything by Dickens, Austen, or Trollope, for my money. It's rich with characters to love, admire, despise, pity, respect, and fear; but most of all, to grab your interest and hold it to the very end. These are characters to remember fondly and revisit often.
Along with the usual romantic pair of star-crossed lovers, there's a loyal sister with courage and honor; one of the most disgustingly self-involved uncles ever spawned from an author's imagination; a mysterious woman who wafts in and out of the narration, getting more and more flesh on her as the story evolves; a wicked poser who steals the ... well you'll have to listen to find out what he steals; and one of my all time favorite characters, the hugely obese yet ever soft-treading, evil Count Fosco, who eats vast amounts of pastries, trains his wife, pet mice and birds to obey his voice commands, dances while singing Italian songs and playing the accordian, hammers away at the piano, mixes effective medicinals, reads others' mail, spies on the sisters, deceives, arranges complex and deadly plots, and manages to stay one step ahead of the protagonists. Yet Count Fosco falls in love.
This is a book I've listened to at least 4 times, have burned to discs, and will listen to again and again, especially on stormy nights when the wind blows the rain against my windows.
Some reviewers have criticized the narrator, Gabriel Woolf, for the added sound effects, but I was raised without a TV and was read to as a child, so throat clearing, page turning, gulping water, and taking deep breaths is just part of hearing a story read by another human being. Modern media has trained us expect air-brushed perfection from the world, but that only happens on the screen.
Thrilling and absorbing story with the most beautiful narration. I loved every moment of this book.
Classics are classics for a reason. They are darn good books, and The Woman in White is no exception. The intricate plots of 19th century books always keep me wanting to know what's going to happen next.
The production standards of this particular book left quite a lot to be desired. The narrator would stumble in some sentences and start over a few words. You could hear him drinking something and turning pages at some points. Some of his different character voices were very good, but others were really hard to understand as he seemed to mumble.
That being said, the price is right for this recording. It's inexpensive and all in all I enjoyed the book.
"A stunning listen"
I have to admit at the outset that this is one of my favourite novels. Without the need to agonise over Victorian social problems which Dickens feels, Collins produces a rattling good detective story.
His characters are deliciously overblown and the plot wonderfully convoluted.
Gabriel Woolf understands the characters and gives each one a distinctive voice and their own personality.
This would be a must if it were full-price: at ?5 everyone should rush to download it immediately.
"A Terrific Bargain"
At Five pounds odd this is a tremendous bargain. The reading by Gabriel Woolf is wonderful: both the timbre of his voice in general and the way he manages to give distinctive voices to the various narrators.
"My favourite book of all time"
well read, a superb story of love and intrigue.
"An enduring classic"
Although written in the mid 19th Century, this is still a cracking mystery tale of suspense and intrigue. The format is slightly contrived, with the story being narrated by different characters, but it is so well read that this is not a problem. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Loved this book, touching, sad. It is a beautifully written book, which keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting it all to end well.If you like period dramas and a good mystery, this is one for you.
"Woman in White"
Brilliant could not stop listening!!! could not guess plot. Sound quality was not brillint on this version but still very enjoyable.
"Well read, poorly edited"
A good book, very well read and very good value but it is not as well edited as other books I have listened to. There are a lot of fluffs and mis-readings left in. Although it works in some cases - the current author/character is often musing rather than offering a well-thought out piece of writing - it is jarring many cases.
"great classic novel"
quirky classic story . i loved it, it took me a while to get into d flow but once in, i was hooked and couldnt wait to see the final outcome. there was one or two funny scenes and i still shake with laughter as i think of them!
"Classic story well told"
I have to admit I was already pretty fond of this story as a book, Wilkie Collins may be a lot less famous than his drinking partner and fellow writer Charles Dickens, but his legacy is similarly rich, the Moonstone was recognised as one of the first detective novels, and the Woman in White is a story that lives on in the memory for a very long time. The running time might be daunting but this is a great way to absorb the story, which, like a lot of stories of the time, particularly in Dickens' work, was originally published in serial form. The language may go over the head of some who aren't used to classic literature, but keep listening and you can get used to it, the characters are well acted and well written, one of the reasons the story is so well liked, from the poor simple minded title character, the lead character Walter Hartright, and Marian Halcombe- unusually strong willed for a Victorian woman- to the insufferably suffering Mr Fairlie, and the great and mysterious Count Fosco. The story is uniquely structured, as an epistolary novel it is told in documents and statements by characters, sometimes switching, but the narrator is very good at differentiating the voices so that it is never jarring, and it makes a quite unique book into a very good audiobook.
"Gripping and evergreen"
For me, this is one of the best mystery thrillers of all time. Gripping and absorbing with all its twists and turns. This reading brings it so alive and immediate, and animates the extraordinary characters involved beautifully.
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