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)
An intricate knot tied with precision, and untangled with logic and grace. To begin with there is a mystery, and Collins lays it out with attention to every twist as the story continues to be told by the various narrators. The characters are as vivid as those created by other 19th century writers: Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe--Frederick Fairlie with his imagined maladies is good comedy, and Sir Percival and Count Fosco, in comparison make Heathcliff almost look respectable.
Victorian in description, dialogue, and politics--the strong female character doesn't escape punishment for her straying from the social constricts of the time...she pays for her female resourcefulness and failure to swoon, by being endowed, by the author, with masculine features, including a mustache. Today's editors would likely trim the 25 hours to 12, but in spite of the length and the diversity of plots, the story stays on track and doesn't drag; it's worth the Effort. The narration is a theatrical treat. Fear not the classic; dig in and enjoy.
Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.
A phenomenal best seller in its day, this book is engaging as a great example of the behaviour of the era. Very well written and retains enough mystery to attach to it but the inability of the women at the centre of the story to cope emotionally with the ongoing dramas was thoroughly annoying. Falling about with the vapours was obviously an accepted reaction in those days, doesn't wash now.
In spite of being 3 segements long this tale keeps the listener in suspense through out. The use of several different narriators to move the story along is fun, interesting and well written. It was a surprise when both "good guys" and "bad guys" wrote their part of the adventure. I think this was the best book of the summer!
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.
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.
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.
It was an interesting story and I liked the change of character narration, so you experienced the events through the perspectives of different characters. I thought it layed out a few good story threads within the overall mystery and kept a good pace, even though it is long book.
I liked how the ended played out.
It's too long to do that! You will want avoid putting down for too long though because you don't want to forget where you are in the story, as it builds upon earlier accounts of other narrators.
Some people commented that having both male and female narrators (for different chapters or sections of the book) was distracting, but I didn't have a problem with it and I think it worked well.
I may listen to this book again. I found this book needing more of my full attention than some other books, so I'm sure I missed some interesting bits along the way.
This is a classic. I read it more than 40 years ago and it still kept me glued to the (this time) headphones. On the whole the narration was good although sometimes I wished that Simon Preble would clear his throat a bit.
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