"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.