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The Woman in White

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The Woman in White...

Customer Review Snapshot

4.1 out of 5 stars
157 total reviews
5 stars
68
4 stars
48
3 stars
34
2 stars
5
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
This isn't a ghost story, but rather a tangled soap opera of greed and mistaken identity. The heroine of the novel isn't the mysterious woman in white, or even the hero's love interest, Laura Fairlie, but rather an independent and entirely appealing woman named Marian Halcombe. She's resourceful and intrepid and I can't think of anyone I'd rather rely on in a time of trouble. The story itself concerns Walter Hartright, a young drawing master who takes a job at Limmeridge House and there meets Miss Halcombe and Miss Fairlie. He falls in love with Miss Fairlie and, because of his lower social status, he leaves and joins a dangerous trip to South America in an attempt to forget her. Laura is married to the nefarious Sir Percival, who is, naturally, only after her money. Included in this tale is a desperate woman Walter meets one night as she escapes from a mental asylum and whose fate is tied to Laura's. There's also a colorful Italian Count, who is the most interesting and villainous of men. And present every step of the story is Miss Halcombe, who protects Miss Fairlie, solves the mystery, fascinates the Italian Count, thwarts the bad guys and keeps Walter Hartright pointed in the right direction. There's something to be said for those wordy, Victorian authors. The Woman in White is the most suspenseful novel I have read in a long time. Wilkie Collins takes his time setting the scene, and then he slowly increases the tension, never allowing the reader the easy satisfaction of a quick resolution. Rather, the reader endures what the characters must; long moments of uncertainty, hours trapped without knowing if all was yet lost. It is a credit to Collins' writing that this strategy stands the test of time. Even in our era of instant gratification, I was more than willing to allow this book to hijack my days.

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The Woman in White... One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller 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."

Specifications

Publisher
Tantor Media Inc
Book Format
@generated
Author
Bailey, Josephine, Collins, Wilkie, Prebble, Simon
ISBN-13
9781400169429
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
5.25 x 7.50 x 0.50 Inches
ISBN-10
1400169429

Customer Reviews

5 stars
68
4 stars
48
3 stars
34
2 stars
5
1 star
2
Most helpful positive review
20 customers found this helpful
This isnt a ghost sto...
This isn't a ghost story, but rather a tangled soap opera of greed and mistaken identity. The heroine of the novel isn't the mysterious woman in white, or even the hero's love interest, Laura Fairlie, but rather an independent and entirely appealing woman named Marian Halcombe. She's resourceful and intrepid and I can't think of anyone I'd rather rely on in a time of trouble. The story itself concerns Walter Hartright, a young drawing master who takes a job at Limmeridge House and there meets Miss Halcombe and Miss Fairlie. He falls in love with Miss Fairlie and, because of his lower social status, he leaves and joins a dangerous trip to South America in an attempt to forget her. Laura is married to the nefarious Sir Percival, who is, naturally, only after her money. Included in this tale is a desperate woman Walter meets one night as she escapes from a mental asylum and whose fate is tied to Laura's. There's also a colorful Italian Count, who is the most interesting and villainous of men. And present every step of the story is Miss Halcombe, who protects Miss Fairlie, solves the mystery, fascinates the Italian Count, thwarts the bad guys and keeps Walter Hartright pointed in the right direction. There's something to be said for those wordy, Victorian authors. The Woman in White is the most suspenseful novel I have read in a long time. Wilkie Collins takes his time setting the scene, and then he slowly increases the tension, never allowing the reader the easy satisfaction of a quick resolution. Rather, the reader endures what the characters must; long moments of uncertainty, hours trapped without knowing if all was yet lost. It is a credit to Collins' writing that this strategy stands the test of time. Even in our era of instant gratification, I was more than willing to allow this book to hijack my days.
Most helpful negative review
An excellent example o...
An excellent example of why authors shouldn't be paid for the amount of words they write. There were multiple times when I wanted to stop, but there were the reading challenges and a few plot points were actually interesting. I can forgive the overly dramatic intrigue that makes no sense, why didn't they just kill Laura and shut up Anne in the asylum, where she would have died anyway, but my biggest issue with the book is Walter falling for dumb, stupid, no-personality,perfect-Victorian-angel Laura while clearly the better woman is Marian, who is smart, is driven, and has crazy amounts of agency including the fact that risks her life to eavesdrop on Sir Percival and the count to save her sister. Men, gah!
Most helpful positive review
20 customers found this helpful
This isnt a ghost sto...
This isn't a ghost story, but rather a tangled soap opera of greed and mistaken identity. The heroine of the novel isn't the mysterious woman in white, or even the hero's love interest, Laura Fairlie, but rather an independent and entirely appealing woman named Marian Halcombe. She's resourceful and intrepid and I can't think of anyone I'd rather rely on in a time of trouble. The story itself concerns Walter Hartright, a young drawing master who takes a job at Limmeridge House and there meets Miss Halcombe and Miss Fairlie. He falls in love with Miss Fairlie and, because of his lower social status, he leaves and joins a dangerous trip to South America in an attempt to forget her. Laura is married to the nefarious Sir Percival, who is, naturally, only after her money. Included in this tale is a desperate woman Walter meets one night as she escapes from a mental asylum and whose fate is tied to Laura's. There's also a colorful Italian Count, who is the most interesting and villainous of men. And present every step of the story is Miss Halcombe, who protects Miss Fairlie, solves the mystery, fascinates the Italian Count, thwarts the bad guys and keeps Walter Hartright pointed in the right direction. There's something to be said for those wordy, Victorian authors. The Woman in White is the most suspenseful novel I have read in a long time. Wilkie Collins takes his time setting the scene, and then he slowly increases the tension, never allowing the reader the easy satisfaction of a quick resolution. Rather, the reader endures what the characters must; long moments of uncertainty, hours trapped without knowing if all was yet lost. It is a credit to Collins' writing that this strategy stands the test of time. Even in our era of instant gratification, I was more than willing to allow this book to hijack my days.
Most helpful negative review
An excellent example o...
An excellent example of why authors shouldn't be paid for the amount of words they write. There were multiple times when I wanted to stop, but there were the reading challenges and a few plot points were actually interesting. I can forgive the overly dramatic intrigue that makes no sense, why didn't they just kill Laura and shut up Anne in the asylum, where she would have died anyway, but my biggest issue with the book is Walter falling for dumb, stupid, no-personality,perfect-Victorian-angel Laura while clearly the better woman is Marian, who is smart, is driven, and has crazy amounts of agency including the fact that risks her life to eavesdrop on Sir Percival and the count to save her sister. Men, gah!
1-5 of 157 reviews

This isnt a ghost sto...

This isn't a ghost story, but rather a tangled soap opera of greed and mistaken identity. The heroine of the novel isn't the mysterious woman in white, or even the hero's love interest, Laura Fairlie, but rather an independent and entirely appealing woman named Marian Halcombe. She's resourceful and intrepid and I can't think of anyone I'd rather rely on in a time of trouble. The story itself concerns Walter Hartright, a young drawing master who takes a job at Limmeridge House and there meets Miss Halcombe and Miss Fairlie. He falls in love with Miss Fairlie and, because of his lower social status, he leaves and joins a dangerous trip to South America in an attempt to forget her. Laura is married to the nefarious Sir Percival, who is, naturally, only after her money. Included in this tale is a desperate woman Walter meets one night as she escapes from a mental asylum and whose fate is tied to Laura's. There's also a colorful Italian Count, who is the most interesting and villainous of men. And present every step of the story is Miss Halcombe, who protects Miss Fairlie, solves the mystery, fascinates the Italian Count, thwarts the bad guys and keeps Walter Hartright pointed in the right direction. There's something to be said for those wordy, Victorian authors. The Woman in White is the most suspenseful novel I have read in a long time. Wilkie Collins takes his time setting the scene, and then he slowly increases the tension, never allowing the reader the easy satisfaction of a quick resolution. Rather, the reader endures what the characters must; long moments of uncertainty, hours trapped without knowing if all was yet lost. It is a credit to Collins' writing that this strategy stands the test of time. Even in our era of instant gratification, I was more than willing to allow this book to hijack my days.

The Woman in White, fi...

The Woman in White, first published in 1859-1860, is right up there with The Moonstone as the best known of Wilkie Collins' works. Written from various characters' viewpoints in letters and diary entries, this novel is a brilliantly executed and suspenseful tale of hidden crimes, madness, money, and Victorian-style identity theft. Please be warned there are spoilers in this review, though I've tried to play coy on the really big ones. Collins masterfully keeps his readers turning the pages. Feverishly, I might add. I can't imagine reading this in serial form - well, maybe I can (it would be rather like watching an addictive and gripping TV show every week, wouldn't it?). Even though Collins puts Marian's big discovery fairly early, the tension is still incredible. It's ironic that the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of this story would move that discovery back to make it more of a dramatic climax (rather than revealing it so quickly as Collins does) and still manage to be insipid next to the novel. I've watched it twice and the second time was just as disappointing as the first, whereas I thoroughly enjoyed my second time reading the book and will eventually reread it yet again. Collins' characters are rich and varied. Marian Halcombe deserves top billing as one of the strongest female characters to emerge in Victorian literature. Highly intelligent, forthright, not given to weeping or fainting, and physically unbeautiful, Marian is the kind of character you read a little faster to get to. Much of the story is told in her voice and it's fascinating how she and the other characters perceive her strong qualities as decidedly masculine; she is constantly described as "mannish" and whenever she does display any kind of weakness, she puts it down to being a woman. I suppose it gives feminists fits, but despite the language Marian really is an incredible character and the Victorian audience simply wouldn't have understood her in terms other than "masculine" and "mannish." Perhaps Collins himself couldn't articulate her nature differently. And you just have to love Collins' foreigners. I think my favorite is still Herre Grosse from Poor Miss Finch, but Professor Pesca is delightful too. "Right-all-right!" Count Fosco is, of course, a foreigner too but he wears his foreignness in much less noticeable ways. He's learned to polish it up and use it only when it is to his advantage. Enormously fat, utterly charming, and endlessly cunning, Fosco is a complex character whose motives are as puzzling as his methods. Sir Percival Glyde is his foil, of course, and Glyde's clumsy villainy only makes Fosco's deep scheming all the more worrying. Collins once said that he imagined Count Fosco as an excessively fat man in order to defy the then-current convention of the skeletally thin evildoer. The ability to be a bad guy isn't limited to a single body type! If you've been wanting to try a good Victorian novel to see if they really are all that, The Woman in White is a great place to start. Once you get into it you'll find it hard to put down. For sensational fiction, the Victorians still hold their own with any modern author, and Collins more than most. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I recommend frequently. Gothic wonderfulness!

Walter Hartright, a yo...

Walter Hartright, a young art teacher walking on the road from Hampstead to London, is startled when he is overtaken by a young woman dressed entirely in white. Visibly distressed, she begs him to show her the way to London, and he offers to take her there. The young woman accepts his offer on the condition that he allow her freedom of movement. Once he's dropped her off in London, two men in hot pursuit claim that the young woman has escaped a mental asylum and must be returned there at once, but Walter does nothing to help them in their search. The next day he arrives at Limmeridge House, where he has gained a position as a drawing master. There he meets his young pupils, half sisters Marian and Laura. In no time at all, her befriends Marian-no great beauty is she, but quick, smart and amusing-and falls desperately in love with the heavenly loveliness that is Laura. But the encounter with the woman in white will carry many consequences. I took absolute delight in discovering all the plot twists of this great classic mystery, so will disclose no more of the story nor of how it is told, but will say that it offers a wonderfully evil conspiracy and several highly memorable characters, not least of which the strange and compelling villain Count Fosco, who stole every scene in which he appeared, in my view. The sublimely selfish Frederick Fairlie is one of the most memorable invalids I have ever encountered. I must say that the audio version I listened to, narrated by Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey, greatly increased my enjoyment with wonderfully rendered characters. Now that I've read it and that there are no more secrets for me to discover, I still look forward to reading it again for a fun romp with highly colourful characters and some Gothic frissons.

The Woman in White was...

The Woman in White was my favorite read of 2010. (And it's high time I got around to writing a review of it!) I had a feeling I would like the book from just the preface. I have always held the old-fashioned opinion that the primary object of a work of fiction should be to tell a story; and I have never believed that the novelist who properly performed this first condition of his art was in danger, on that account, of neglecting the delineation of character.... What's this, Wilkie? Story? Character? Are you telling me that the point of writing isn't the creation of artistic effects? The flaunting of one's stylistic virtuosity? The use of obscurity to simulate profundity? How ... refreshing. The Woman in White is a good old-fashioned story, told with directness, clarity, and force—but also, it may be said, a good deal of talent. Collins was clearly a master of his craft. I will not say much about the plot, because I do not want to spoil anything for new readers. It is labyrinthine, sometimes bewildering, full of twists and turns. And it is positively engrossing, so engrossing that I read it in only a week, while still working and taking college classes—and it is not a short book! One of the things that impressed me about the book was Collins's ability to create distinct narrative voices. Many authors attempt this, and few truly succeed. Walter's introductory description of "the weary pilgrims of the London pavement ... beginning to think of the cloud-shadows on the corn-fields" drips with a Romanticism and love of nature that none of the other narrators could muster—certainly not Mr. Gilmore, the lawyer given to aphorism: "There are three things that none of the young men of the present generation can do. They can't sit over their wine, they can't play at whist, and they can't pay a lady a compliment." What is really at work here is Collins's genius for character, and there are some great characters in The Woman in White. Most notable are the unconventional heroine, Marian Halcolmbe, and the dastardly Count Fosco. Some readers take exception to Marian's equation of weakness with femininity, and the fact that her strength of character is, like Dracula's Mina Harker, supposedly due to the fact that she has (to quote Stoker) "a man's brain and a woman's heart." But Mina is a doofus who contributes nothing aside from some nice secretarial work, whereas Marian braves countless dangers to solve the mystery of Anne Catherick and thwart the villains' schemes. As to her supposed weaknesses, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Fosco is a sinister yet charming villain, a larger-than-life figure who leaps off the page. In many ways he is the original of The Maltese Falcon's Fat Man. Indeed, there seems to be a 1948 film in which Sydney Greenstreet plays the Count; I imagine he is brilliant. Even if you do not think Victorian fiction is your thing, I recommend The Woman in White, a true page-turner with a fine literary pedigree.

Oh! Its starting to ...

"Oh! It's starting to get good," I exclaimed to my husband on more than one occasion as I read The Woman in White before bedtime. "Never mind," I would later add, having read the next paragraph. He was utterly surprised then when I commented how much I liked the book upon finishing it. He wanted to know if the ending made up for the slow start. I found myself trying to explain to him that I didn't really mind the slow start, but I think it was lost on him. Just as I am sure you might think I am crazy too. For all the whining and complaining I did about how long it took me to read The Woman in White, you'd think I was miserable reading it. Bored even. I actually really liked the book when I was reading it. I loved it, in fact. My references to it finally getting good wasn't so much a pronouncement that it was not good, just my expectation that a big revelation was coming. Wilkie Collins sure knew how to create suspense, but it a more quiet and subtle way than today's thrillers often do. I loved the author's long windedness and his drawing out of events. I loved his use of language and his ability to pull me into the story. I felt like I got to know each of the characters and was standing right there beside them in every scene. I could predict how certain characters would react to certain events because I had come to know them so well. I could visualize perfectly the various places in which the story took place. I liked the format the author used to tell the story and appreciated the buildup of anticipation. My impatience and desire for the book to go faster was purely based on selfish reasons, and not a reflection on the book. The Woman in White is one of those novels that requires the reader to slow down and appreciate the finer points. My timing in reading the book was off. I wasn't in the right mind set for reading a book that required my full attention and time, not to mention I had been ill while reading some of it. Once I was able to devote more time to the novel, I found the right reading rhythm, and the book seemed to move along at a more acceptable (to me) pace. Published initially as a serial from 1959 to 1960, Wilkie Collins' novel was a great hit. So much so that it became a stage production (although unauthorized) within three months of the book's publication. My copy of The Woman and White included excerpts of letters and reviews written around the time of the book's release, which I found quite interesting. While the book garnered much praise, others were less impressed: "Had the story been wrought out in the old-fashioned way it could have been told far more effectively and in less space . . . A novelist who aims at being natural, and writes seriously, should refrain from reminding us of so broad a farce as Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors." [Excerpt from the Dublin University Magazine, February 1861] Wilkie Collins' The Woman In White is told in multiple narratives, a collection of letters and journal entries used to document the events surrounding the mystery of the woman in white and that of Laura Fairlie, a lady of society whose own life and fate are intertwined with that of the title character. From the Barnes and Noble website: 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. The novel is filled with an intriguing cast of characters. While the novel is plot driven from the start, the characters are well developed, from the least significant character who appears only for a page or two to the most important. My favorite of the characters will come as no surprise to those who have read the novel. Marion Halcombe is a strong and intelligent protagonist. Marion reminded me a bit of Mina Harker from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both could rival any of the strong female leading ladies of today. There are several characters from the novel I would love to explore further: Count Fosco and Pesca in particular. They both have pasts that would make for interesting reading. The Woman in White may be a quiet thriller at its start, but by the end, events unravel so quickly that the reader's knuckles may turn white trying to keep up. It is obvious that Wilkie Collins planned out his novel with great care, each thread carefully sown into the greater story. It is a true gothic novel at its core: dark, gloomy, romantic and thrilling. I could say so much more about this novel than I have, but I will let you experience it for yourself if you haven't already.

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Electrode, Comp-812505016, DC-prod-az-southcentralus-18, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-3dfd7cec-05f-16eeae59bb4a4a, Generated: Mon, 09 Dec 2019 13:42:26 GMT