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".
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"Collins's mid-Victorian novel is one of the first, and possibly still the greatest, of all literary thrillers." (The Irish Times)
I have not even finished it and I can tell you this is a masterful novel. It is creepy and full of foreboding. The fact it was written in 1859 makes it even more interesting. The author of course takes much for granted and the vision of life in those days is wonderful. At one point one of the characters makes the comment that she is so happy the 19th century and its modern comforts had finally invaded the house where she was living. Fabulous. The characters are clearly drawn if a not quite nuanced enough for our modern sensibilities. The plotting couldn't be more interesting. I can't stop listening. I care about the characters.
I don't have a candidate. This is a psychological thriller of the first order. I think it might make a film, but will have to finish it first to know. Our modern need for action, action, action as exemplified by the Sherlock Holmes movies, probably means the subtle fears and thrills inherent in this story are too meek for Hollywood.
The performances are excellent. Character after character are performed with clear differences between their speech.
I had to put the book down when Lady Glyde died.
I had the very unusual experience of perusing a copy of the May 26th, 1860, Harper's Weekly that I found at a friend's house. The issue had an etching (after Brady) of Lincoln on the cover, as he had just gotten the Republican Nomination for President. Inside was an excerpt from....you guessed it...The Woman in White. A chapter I had just listened to the night before. To make it even more spectacular I saw this on...May 26th of this year, 2012...152 years to the day after publication. Do do do do...do do do do....you are in the twilight zone.
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.
Cook, Steelworker, Sailor in Viet Nam. Retired after 4 decades as an RN. Share a birthday with Mark Twain and his love of "spinnin' a yarn"
OK it's long but if you like listening to eloquent English it's for you. Villian's , sleuths, victims, innocents, love , passion, longing, regret and victory need I say more. Very easy listening but it really is Raymond Chandler stretched out over time. Part of me wanted the guys to grab the dames and waste the villian. Worth listening to overall.
I like to rate books based on how excited I feel about diving back in each day and this story did not disappoint. Highly recommend for Jane Austen readers.
I ran across this book while reading Dickens, Tolstoy, and other classics, along with some Game of Thrones - like books. I liked the mystery in this novel. There is a who-done-it vibe. The characters are well developed and believeable. I enjoyed it!
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.
As a fan of the detective genre, I enjoy reading the early fiction tracing the development from Poe to the present and on both sides of the Atlantic. This is considered to be one of the earliest examples of British detective fiction.
To put this into a time line, Edgar Allen Poe wrote 'Murders at the Rue Morgue' (considered to be the first detective story) in 1841 in the United States. Sherlock Holmes didn't show up in London in 1887. In 1860, in England, Charles Dickens began the serial publication of 'Great Expectations' and Wilkie Collins wrote "The Woman in White'.
Written in the tradition of British romantic fiction, this book is full of love and loss, evil and retribution and it takes a detective to bring it all together. I loved the book, it is a literary treasure, long and lovely and full of twists and turns, reversals that are typical of the era.
This was released in pieces for a regular publication. To that end sometimes the author seemed to be trying to make a word quota for the week. I found myself yelling "OK, she's beautiful, we get it." After getting well into it that seemed to ease up and I was compelled to finish the book. The story had plenty of depth and plot. The readers were fantastic, carried the story well.
I had read this book years and years ago. Fortunately, I had totally forgotten the plot so I was able to enjoy it 'fresh' in its audible form. I love Wilkie Collins -- and Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey do a great job with the narration.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
It's supposedly the first mystery novel written and was a hugh hit in 1860. A classic and I had never even heard of it. The writing is Victorian and thus wordy and full of swooning, and it did take me a few chapters to get drawn in and fall in love with the fully fleshed out heros, heroines and even villians. Cleverly organized book, interesting and unexpected plots twists and lots of insights into 1850's in London. I am a little sad it is done.
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