The Yellow Mask, a gothic romance, filled with mystery and suspense, will hold you riveted from beginning to end.
A scheming priest, Father Rocco of Pisa, decides the inheritance and great wealth of Count Fabio D’Ascoli was stolen from the Church many generations ago. Father Rocco's brother is a master-sculptor, Fabio's teacher and the father of the beautiful Maddelena.
To steal Fabio's fortune, the priest manipulates Fabio's true love, the sweet model Nanina, to leave Pisa. Father Rocco then engineers a wedding between Fabio and his easy-to-control niece. Poor Maddalena dies the next year in childbirth and the priest has to change his plot.
The priest tries to drive Fabio mad by having a female henchman don a Yellow Mask and pretend to be the ghost of Maddalena. Fabio's only hope is his beloved Nanina. Can she save him?
William Wilkie Collins (1824 – 1889) was a very popular Victorian novelist and a close friend and collaborator of Charles Dickens. Collins was a prolific writer, publishing not only novels, but many plays, short stories and works of non-fiction.
The son of a successful landscape artist, Collins developed a early interest in storytelling to disarm bullies at boarding school. As a child, Collins lived and traveled throughout Europe, and to please his father, became a lawyer. All major influences on his writing.
Collins sold his first short story at 19, his first novel at 24. Collins had a very successful career as a master of suspense with a distinct narrative voice, filled with social commentary. Wilkie Collins never actually practiced law, but his knowledge profoundly impacted his writing and he is considered one of the godfathers of the "Detective Novel".
Public Domain (P)2012 Alcazar AudioWorks
I can't think of one good reason to put this subpar work into audiobook form. I love Willkie Collins but this was really boring. Not even close to the masterfully suspenseful style we learned to love through Woman in White and The Moonstones. I think Collins was paying homage to Ann Radcliffe - the creator of gothic suspense - because it emulated many of the elements in her works - renaissance Italy setting, an evil priest, a mysterious presence, thwarted lovers, etc. etc. But this does not work. Moreover the performance was terrible. The narrator used American accents for French and Italian people, and could not create differentiation between young females. Made the heroine sound about six years old. Very bad.
Having listened to several Wilkie Collins books, this was my least favorite. Perhaps if the narrator was British (like Collins) or Italian (where the story takes place) I might have enjoyed the story better. Although the narrator differentiates the voices of the characters well, the emotional inflections she uses are at times contrary to the writing. Overall I was disappointed. Works of his that I would recommend are The Woman in White (I've only listened to the 24 hour BBC abridged version but it was excellent), The Moonstone narrated by Peter Jeffrey, and The Two Destinies narrated by Samuel West.
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