Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Woman in White - by Wilkie Collins

'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white'

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with pyschological realism.

5 stars
This is one of the very few books that I've had to read for High-school and have actually enjoyed. Although the pace of the story and the way Mr. Collins describes his scenes is definitely nineteenth century style… the way he writes the perspective of his characters is not. He is the author that introduced the style of writing from the first perspective… carving the way for modern day writers. The Woman in White starts off with a young drawing master named Walter Hartright looking for a job… when he stumbles upon a very confused lady dressed all in white wandering the darkened streets of London alone… and that's when the adventure begins. The book is full of a slew of different characters whom I loved, hated, and even some who I had absolutely had no idea what to think of. From the jovial but annoying County Fosco to the brilliant Madam Halmcomb… The frail Laura Fairlie to the endearing Walter Hartright… and then the haunting presence of the Woman in White are but a few of the amazing characters you will meet in this novel. The book starts out fast paced as we are plunged into a new world and new a new mystery… and as the book progresses we learn new and startling things involving our main cast… but then it begins to slow down to an almost boring pace near the middle… Only to pick back up again at the end. I was originally going to give it a 4.5 star rating for various reason (i.e. being slow near the middle and some of the characters annoyed the heck out of me… and the pathetic frailness of a few female characters) but it's such a good mystery that I decided to give it it's current 5 stars despite that!

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