Elizabeth's Reviews > The Woman in White

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
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's review
Jun 19, 09

bookshelves: classics, england, englishmajorbooks, fiction
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Hannah
Recommended for: Courtney
Read in June, 2009, read count: 1

Well...I finally finished this novel. It felt like it took forever, particularly because it got so scary that I needed a little break from time to time.

All in all, I was pleased with it. I enjoyed the colorful parade of narrators that take turns moving the story forward and I think that Collins, in classic Victorian verbosity, can spin a decent yarn.

Apparently this is considered to be the world's first suspense novel and Wilkie Collins was a contemporary and friend of Dickens. Collins was also a drug addict with a bizarre private life (although I didn't sense that from the book).

The one thing that really irked me about this novel was the passivity of the female characters. From one perspective, it's an interesting study of women in 1800s. But for the first 300 pages or so, Laura and Marian fumble around stumbling into traps laid by two men: They put a letter in the post bag, their mail is swiped; they decide to visit another character, but someone has already been there and sent that character elsewhere. It takes Mr. Hartright to put things "right" (sorry, I couldn't resist). Since our paradigm is so fundamentally different, its' frustrating to watch these poor ladies get jerked around with no form of recourse.

I'm glad I read it though.

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Reading Progress

05/15/2009 page 120
17.86% "I'm already hooked. The writing is so modern!"
05/29/2009 page 180
26.79% "The suspense is killing me!"
06/05/2009 page 360
53.57% "It's killing me. I hate sitting by (as the reader) as the characters' situation sinks from bad to very bad. I don't think I like mysteries."
06/17/2009 page 500
74.4% "Finally we are getting somewhere..."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Lori (new) - added it

Lori This was voted in as my group read (TNBBC) for the month of June. I just laid my hands on it at a sale for a buck, but won't get to it before the month ends. I'm glad to hear it was scary. I like a a spooky tale, and this one was worrying me (Im not a huge fan of Victorian lit)....


Elizabeth I hope it lives up to your expectations, I'm a huge chicken! Best, EK


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