Julie Davis's Reviews > The Moonstone

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
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Mar 12, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: i-m-listening
Read from March 10 to April 16, 2013

Rereading ... or rather relistening, although to the version with Patrick Tull as the old butler. Is there anything that Robinson Crusoe can't solve? Evidently not.


I've never been that interested in this book or anything by Wilkie Collins for that matter. Collins had that stigma (for me) of having written "classics" and "the first detective novel." Which just killed any interest I'd ever have had because classics and "first ever" books are musty, boring, and stale, right?

I know that isn't true, but I still have a hard time shaking that idea.

However, when B.J. Harrison, narrator extraordinaire of The Classic Tales Podcast offered the first five hours of this book as a free sample I couldn't resist. I soon gave in and ordered the entire books. I was hooked in just a few chapters.

I really didn't expect Gabriel Betteredge, the first narrator, to be so funny. He spends his spare time reading and rereading Robinson Crusoe which is his ultimate guide to any tricky decision he must make.

The second narrator is equally hilarious, a maiden aunt whose dedication to the Christian cause is such that she spends a considerable amount of time hiding religious tracts in people's homes to trick them into reading them. I actually laughed out loud at some of the tract names. Now that I think of it, I knew that Collins and Charles Dickens were good friends and I suppose I should have expected a good sense of the ridiculous.

Not every narrator is humorous but the characterization is strong for everyone. Rachel Verinder's outburst to Franklin Blake toward the end of the book made me applaud her strong common sense while I sympathized with her situation. I was moved to pity by Ezra Jennings' plight and delighted in Sergeant Cuff's penchant for roses.

Harrison's reading emphasized humor without being over the top and pointed out the pathos without being maudlin. His reading was the key to my thorough enjoyment of this Victorian tale complete with a family feud, a cursed diamond, three untrustworthy Indian jugglers, and a small boy nicknamed Gooseberry.

The ending was of its time and incredible by today's standards, but I was on tenterhooks as each revelation was made. In fact, I put off listening to a brand new book in a series I love so that I could get to the end of this mystery.

Harrison is offering the entire book for $5 which is an amazing bargain. I'm sure how long that offer will stand so if you're interested check out the link above.
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Quotes Julie Liked

Wilkie Collins
“They seem to be in a conspiracy to persecute you,” she said. “What does it mean?”

“Only the protest of the world, Miss Verinder — on a very small scale — against anything that is new.”
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone

Reading Progress

03/12/2013 page 97
03/22/2013 page 150
28.0% "I couldn 't possibly love an unreliable narrator more than I do Gabriel. Or the way that Inspector Stubb interacts with him. I am wondering though if it is possible that my suspicions are correct about the thief. I am just loving B.J. Harrison's reading. It is delightful."
03/28/2013 page 250
47.0% "Why has no one ever told me this book is so funny? Now we've gone to an elderly cousin telling the story and I have actually laughed out loud a couple of times."
04/01/2013 page 346
65.0% "Elderly men have died or are very ill ... and this opens the door for possibility in several characters' cases. Interesting how much this gentle story keeps me engaged."
04/01/2013 page 346
65.0% "Darn it ... that previous update was actually for Middlemarch. Too much Easter jolliment yesterday, obviously, for me to keep track of which book I'm updating. :-D"
06/08/2016 marked as: read
09/12/2016 marked as: currently-reading
55.0% "How could I have forgotten Miss Clack and her tracts? Wilkie Collins had a really wicked sense of humor. Talk about sending up religious "types." Genius."
09/20/2016 marked as: read 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Sturgis I'm a bit behind in my Classic Tales listening; thanks so much for passing this along. What a fantastic deal for what I know will be a wonderful narration! *scurries off*

Julie Davis Amy wrote: "I'm a bit behind in my Classic Tales listening; thanks so much for passing this along. What a fantastic deal for what I know will be a wonderful narration! *scurries off*"

You're very welcome! :-)

booklady It's one of my ALL-TIME favorites too Julie! And I love it as an audio.

Julie Davis booklady wrote: "It's one of my ALL-TIME favorites too Julie! And I love it as an audio."

Again, we meet via books! :-)

message 5: by Leah (new)

Leah After hearing the Woman in White on Craftlit, I was happy to find the Moonstone for free on Kindle. I LOVED it. I was surprised how readible and enjoyable it was. And I couldn't figure out the mystery on my own - which is a good thing.

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