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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

Late one moonlit night, Walter Hartright encounters a solitary and terrified woman dressed all in white. He saves her from capture by her pursuers and determines to solve the mystery of her distress and terror.

Inspired by an actual criminal case, this gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness and mistaken identity has never been out of print since its publication and brought Collins great fame and success. Considered to be among the first mystery novels and the first and finest in the genre of 'sensation novels', The Woman in White is noted for its suspenseful plot and unique characterisation.

Collins's use of multiple narrators drew on his legal training and he states 'the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness'.

In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer ranked The Woman in White number 23 in the top 100 greatest novels of all time. The novel was also listed at number 77 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.

Charles Dickens was a close friend and mentor of Collins, and the two collaborated together on drama and fiction. The Woman in White, as well as some of his other work, was first published in Dickens' journals.

Narrator Biography

Sir Ian Holm, is a star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who has played more than 100 roles in films and on television, whilst receiving a stream of awards and nominations. His television debut came as Richard III on the BBC's filmed theatrical production The Wars of the Roses (1965). One of his best-known roles is Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire (1981). He has also starred in The Fifth Element (1997), From Hell (2001), The Aviator (2004) and as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. He has provided voice-overs for many television documentaries including 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth (2009), starred in the BBC's The Lord of the Rings radio dramatisations and narrated many audiobooks. In 1989 he was appointed CBE and in 1998 was knighted for his services to drama.

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

The outstanding narration is what I enjoyed most

Ian Holm is a wonderful actor and I believe it was his skillful and haunting interpretation of the various characters and complex story that made it so enjoyable to listen to. The restrictive conventions and mores of English society of the 19th century, with an appealingly strong female protagonist, made it of particular interest, as well.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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An achievement in Gothic mystery!

In The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins combines classic Gothic ingredients -- the unknown woman escaped from an asylum, long-buried family secrets, switched and manufactured identities, expatriot Italians with shadowy intentions, hidden pasts, blackmail, scandal, and that most heinous of all villains, the well-to-do man of means who spends himself into bankruptcy and will stick at nothing to maintain himself in the manner to which he is accustomed -- into an effective Victorian mystery.

What sets the work of Collins apart is how sympathetically and skillfully he paints the perspectives of those who are not privileged in a given situation, in this case Walter, the young man without means, and the intelligent and capable single woman (also without means), Marian. What might be a simple sensation story in other hands becomes a dark exploration of how the society and law of the day renders helpless very capable and courageous individuals. Over and over again as the terrible secrets unfold, the refrain from various characters seems to be, and quite rightly, "Yes, but who will believe me?"

The special achievement of The Lady in White is the character of Marian, who climbs on rooftops to overhear nefarious plots, goes behinds the backs of her "betters" to verify the letter of the law, wins the admiration of ruthless adversaries, and cannot be undone by the worst intimidations of the villains. Only typhus can (temporarily) lay her low. She does not (as she supposes) disdain her sex: she only disdains the powerlessness forced upon it. The hero is less the main actor here than her sidekick, and Collins packs a lot of commentary into his depiction of both - and their partnership of equals, devoid of romance, built on respect.

As always, Ian Holm's narration is simply superb. He is one of the finest.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • White Plains, NY, United States
  • 08-27-12

Great gothic story!

Where does The Woman in White rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I give it an 8 only because I think it would have benefited from readings by various voices. Though this narrator was very good and played the characters well, the story is so intricate that at times I had to go back and re-listen to some parts that I missed along the way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Loved Marian -- not only strong, but a "class act" as a devoted sister, loving friend and intuitive thinker.

What does Ian Holm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He played the characters as well as he could, but I would rather have had the characters read by different narrators.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It would give the story away.

Any additional comments?

I loved the book and its many twists and turns. And I loved the way the author chose to tell it from so many points of view -- my favorite literary device. Wilkie is clearly a master storyteller and it kept me busily listening for many enjoyable hours.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Slow Classic Great Narration

I was looking for a cheap audio book to pass some long hours in the car. This classic sufficed for the most part. This is an intriguing story that will challenge your vocabulary and grab your interest here and there (every 5 hours or so). The narration is on point and the story is engaging but incredibly slow. I'm sure I'm not doing this historic novel justice, but I really just wanted something to keep me awake, not a sojourn into classical literature. This did the job, but barely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Now I know shy Dickens loved Wilke Collins

Would you listen to The Woman in White again? Why?

I have, again and again. Why? Because each review is pure pleasure. I've been copying quotes that have denoted my life precisely.

What did you like best about this story?

I need to have a happy ending every once in a while. Mill on the Floss nearly killed me. But for the guy to get the girl or vice versa, too easily deflates the true value of love. Hard won love is the best. Ah, Mr. Hartright, your are a man of true character and worthy of... well, best let the listener listen on.

Which scene was your favorite?

Oh dear, the sense that each personality is real, set my mind ablaze. I know that they are real. I think I once worked for Count Fosco... You might as well ask me my favorite color.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Three to be honest, set my heart and kleenex in motion. The first was the intense and good relationship of Marian with Walter from the beginning. It was clean, pure and deep. Secondly the parting scene with Walter and Laura... more kleenex. Third, I could have screamed at the scene of the tomb with Hartright and the two women. Oh, to have missed those first few precious moments.... ah well, my heart filled in the blanks.

Any additional comments?

I have cruely entrapped my sister into the bliss of audio books. I'll buy her this one and the mean old evil big sister will be forever indebted to baby brother. (I'm 64, she's, well older)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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19thcentury mystery

Very interesting first half and then twists and turns of plot follow fast and furiously. Long winded and repetitive in a few places in the second half, still interesting in the early detective stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Book

I definitely enjoyed the book. my only complaint is that the chapters don't follow the chapters of the original text.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful!

The storyline, story characters and the narrator all fit nicely. I understand now why this book is rated in the top 100 books of all time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A classic thriller in Victorian England

If you could sum up The Woman in White in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, entertaining, classic

What did you like best about this story?

The structure of the story, with different characters telling their perspective of the events that were described, akin to giving witness.

What does Ian Holm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Beautifully performed, with good articulation of the different characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Difficult to put it down.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good story very well read

Good story read very well!! Lots of plots to follow - and great ending - loved all the characters / highly recommend it

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Anthony
  • 01-13-11

Fantastic

This fictional story was absolutely brilliant. For a novel written so many years ago, it was truly sensational. The narrators were each in their own way particularly fitting to the parts they played and throughout, not once did the narration falter or feel false.
The characters, plot and imagination all led to a sublimley perfect story.
The story written as a journal over a period of many years is masterful in the extreme.
It is not held back with too much historical prose or embelishment, but moves at an easy pace, which leads one to each and every new twist and turn of the story with immaculate style and credibility.
One of the best audible books I have had the priviledge to listen too in many years.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon CustomerPlusvert 47
  • 04-14-13

The Woman in White

This is my first ever 'read' of Wilkie Collins and I am stunned! The plot is not unduly complex but the twists and turns have kept me enthralled for the entire book and I think I can safely say that at no point has my attention wandered.



The characterisation by Ian Holm has been excellent, safely avoiding the danger of muddling the characters, whilst allowing three dimensional characters to appear from the two dimensions of the script.



This book has held me enthralled to the last.



I shall certainly be buying more Wilkie Collins

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Marianna
  • 02-23-12

100% recommended

This wonderful classic, rated among the top 100 books ever written, was SO wonderfully narrated, that it was an absolute pleasure to listen to. A superb masterpiece of its time, the first 'criminal story' using the power of deduction, has not lost any of its charm even after so many years - on the contrary, gained an even more enchanting and magical atmosphere. Beautifully written, charming, and incredibly enticing, this literary masterpiece will never lose its place in any book lover's library ;).
Although I read (and listen;) a lot, this book will always remain to be one of my favourites and I could not recommend it more highly.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Russ Varley
  • 04-07-13

A must read...

because this is where it all began. If you love crime fiction you owe it to yourself to read this and the Moonstone by the same author. Don't let the fact it is in the Victorian novel sytle put you off, this is a wonderful tale well narrated by a fabulous actor.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. L. F. Kitchin
  • 02-01-13

Linz

Loved this book - beautifully narrated, pulling me in until I could barely go anywhere without listening to this enchanting story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Gemma
  • 05-25-12

Enjoyed it very much

I love a nice long audiobook and I was encouraged to download this one by the glowing reviews. I don't regret my choice at all. It took me several weeks to get through the whole thing and I will still listen to it again in the future as I like revisiting mysteries once I have the benefit of hindsight.

Whenever I read a Victorian novel I'm delighted with the language. Some find it a bit wordy and lacking in style but I adore it, and this was written excellently.

The negatives are that the story lost its way a bit in the middle, and pages and pages go by with not much happening. It is also fairly predictable although there were a number of things I didn't guess correctly so I didn't feel like my time was wasted. The narration was fantastic although I wish they would have chosen a woman to narrate Marion's part, which was rather long, and I couldn't really immerse myself in her story when it was so obvious a man was relating her tale.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • ROWENA
  • 05-28-13

Enthralling

A long since read book bought to life by the superb narration of Ian Holm. I shall look for other books read by him as he gives life to each character and gives atmosphere to the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 03-19-12

Good old fashioned edge of the seat stuff!

This was the first time I have "read" any Wilkie Collins but I have to say that I will be back for more! The Woman in White was a fhoroughly good old fashioned edge of the seat yarn. Brilliant!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 01-24-13

Wow! What an excellent book!

Cannot recommend it highly enough. Beautifully written, full of suspense and very well narrated. A real 'page turner'.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • H. Reeves
  • 12-23-12

Unexpected Joy!

Wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy as my daughter did this for her GCSE and found it very difficult.

It took a while to get into this and to understand all the relationships but once there I was hooked!

This is a great who dunnit. Very clever and gives you a real feel for the period of history!

Brilliant!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 11-11-16

Your journey will be well rewarded

Your hesitancy to commit to a 12 hour listen, and particularly so when the narrative is written in the delightful but somewhat harrowing voice of the day, being mid 1800s, is well understood. But don't overlook this highly entertaining and quite suspenseful 'read' as i hope you, as did I, discovered a very absorbing and gratifying experience. The narrator presents the read with such tenderness and empathy as be a significant contributor to the pleasure I received.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-17

Hiding under the bed sort of suspense...

I loved both the novel and this audiobook. Ian Holm's reading took a little getting used to, but he conveys the different characters really well, and the reading is consistent and easy to follow, despite Wilkie Collins' ponderous style. I find this a hugely evocative novel, and the few plot holes don't really matter beside the reader's desire for everything to turn out 'properly' for our characters. Highly recommended -- it's a lot of hours but you'll rip through them more quickly than you think. 'One more chapter' is something I said to myself often while listening... you've been warned!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-21-17

bit hard to follow

ok story but a bit hard to follow with the constant change of narrator. Reader is a bit monotonic and audio quality is not the best.