One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.
The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening.
Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.
Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction: Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant "Napoleon of Crime".
Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor
"Collins's mid-Victorian novel is one of the first, and possibly still the greatest, of all literary thrillers." (The Irish Times)
Probably not because of the length but I did enjoy it
Some of the plot was predictable but there were several dramatic surprises.
Walter was my favorite, although he doesn't appear in large parts of the book. I chose this book partly because I have enjoyed Simon Prebble. The largest part narrated by Josephine Bailey is of the character Marian and I disliked how she did that character, she sounded too mechanical, as if she was reading rather than speaking.
There is a great surprise around the middle of the book which I didn't see coming and which introduced many questions answered in the later part of the book.
I will probably listen to others by Collins.
This book is a tour of Engish custom and manners as well as a passable mystery. I enjoyed the character development and ability of the author to transport the reader to the setting the novel takes place in.
I enjoyed every word and throughout the book I could not wait to find out what would happen next. This is one of those books you do not want to stop listening to. The characters were fun and interesting and very well developed. Somehow, even trivial events in this book are written in a way that makes them intriguing. Highly recommended.
I have worked so hard for so long that I've had very little time to read. Enter iPhone4; now an earbud has cut driving time while I enjoy!!!
Set in 18th Century England, this book held my attention throughout. The reader learns a lot of the social classes, the restrictions, the heartbreak. The reader's performance is excellent; Sometimes edge-of-your-seat thrill, but always intriguing. I highly recommend this book.
This book was interesting but it should have been a lot shorter. They went over the same ground too many times. I liked the switching of story tellers and I thought the story was good.
Josephine Bailey does an adequate job with most of the female characters in this work, although she delivers a rather wilted and insipid Laura- but I nearly had to give this wonderful book down during offering of Mrs Mickleson's account. Has to be heard to be fully appreciated, ugh, but sounds as if she is speaking down a long pipe-- tones bearing down on air (think Jan Brady as a fussy noblewoman down at heel and full of pride). Her vocals would have sent poor Mr Fairlie to his grave!
Simon, yes. Ms. Bailey, doubtful- depends upon the story.
No, not really. I admire the currage of the writer to write such a story in that time frame but it would have been better to publish it on audible in an abriged version. The whole story endlessly dragged on.
The mail narrator was rather ok but the woman I didn't like.
No. But if you find the best scenario writer maybe.
It took too long to tell the story. And the ending was contrived
Performance was good
I'd rather pull my own 2 front teeth than go through another Wilkie Collins book.
Its certainly turned me off the genre for a good long while. At least male authors of the period.
The simple fact these narrators didn't even give a HINT of a yawn while suffering through all the surplus verbage entitles them not only to a chance to read to me again, they positively deserve medals for their efforts here.
I am very well acquainted with the writing style of this period: florid, loquacious, verbose.... but this? Collins made me want to scream. Collins made even the "heroine" female lead so insipid as to show her as barely conscious of her surroundings and helpless, timid, .....vapid.
The turns the story took were always apparent beforehand; the ending no surprise.
Bummer bummer bummer.
former nuclear scientist
Collins is often credited as one of the first popular English mystery writers. For this reason, and because the of late popularity of Jane Austen has shown us how ridiculous and confining mid-19th century English society was, we can forgive the convoluted coincidences and credulous actions necessary to maneuver the characters into the dire situations necessary for his drama.
The story itself is classic. The title is from a mysterious woman, who always dresses completely in white, who appears early on and throughout the story to warn of vague impending doom. The conceit of the book is that it is told as recollections and interviews of various characters, which may have been novel 170 years ago and is certainly used today, in order to give the listener a patchwork of clues that he must unravel in order to see the deeper mystery underneath. The modern listener must keep in mind the constraints on women in that society, which Collins comments on directly, to explain why the people in danger don't simply run away when they realize what is happening. Collins also on occasion defends his amazing coincidences in the narration itself, which I found a little cute in such a classic, but hope that no one can get away with doing any more.
The male narrator, Simon Prebble, was quite weak. I really disliked him. His Phillip Fairley is supposed to be weak and dislikable, and he does a fair job of that. But his Laura Fairley sounds weak in the head and on the verge of fainting, and his voice in general becomes so soft and fuzzy at the end of sentences that I can't really understand what he is saying some of the time. I had to turn the volume way up just to hear what the last word or two of each sentence was. Within twenty minutes I'd resolved myself to never buy another audiobook that he narrates. I'd rather have the dead trees.
Josephine Bailey, on the other hand, was quite good. Her Fosco was her weakest (and didn't match with Prebbles, nor did her other characters), but narrators generally have a hard time doing the other gender. It was, however, quite distinctive, and she did a great job of differentiating her various characters in a voice that was clear and easy to understand. I wish she had narrated the entire thing.
I got this book because I have an interest in Classic English literature. I'm going through Dickens on paper and have The Moonstone and a few other Collins novels to go through. Collins' phrasing is much less direct than Dickens'; he uses that to comic affect when describing Phillip Fairley and the state of English gentry, but at other times one must just accept that his style of prose takes 2-3 times longer to say something than modern prose would. It's an interesting peek back in time at a society that is often romanticized.
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