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No Name

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,861 Ratings  ·  332 Reviews
'Mr Vanstone's daughters are Nobody's Children'.

Magdalen Vanstone and her sister Norah learn the true meaning of social stigma in Victorian England only after the traumatic discovery that their dearly loved parents, whose sudden deaths have left them orphans, were not married at the time of their birth. Disinherited by law and brutally ousted from Combe-Raven, the idyllic
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Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 748 pages
Published June 25th 1998 by Oxford University Press (first published 1862)
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Rissi Clean? As in morally upright? As in proper vocabulary? As in, are the pages soiled?
Morally upright, yes. No offensive words, yes. I am reading it on…more
Clean? As in morally upright? As in proper vocabulary? As in, are the pages soiled?
Morally upright, yes. No offensive words, yes. I am reading it on Kindle. Pages irrelevant.(less)

Community Reviews

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Paul Bryant
Nov 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Now why didn't I already review this page-gobbling Victorian stonker? I know not why. Let me rush to redress this strange omission. I know Wilkie Collins is known as a two fisted novelist - if the right one don't getcha (The Moonstone) then the left one will (Woman in White) but No Name should be just as famous, so it's a bit of a mystery to me why some books get the fame and others languish in the geekish penumbra of Eng Lit.

So - everything in the Vanstone household is just tickety boo until a
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Marialyce
Love you Mr Collins! You never cease to amaze me with your writing and uncanny ability to suck me into your books which look to be a million pages, but read as if they are a few hundred. I so enjoy the fact that you have always shown a respect and concern for women and you present them, while often flawed, as people you admire and trust. Oftentimes Victorian authors belittle their female protagonists and have inauspicious fates awaiting those who do not walk the Victorian line. (hear that Mr Dic ...more
Sean
Before Wilkie Collins became an enormously successful novelist in the mid-nineteenth century, he studied law with the intent of becoming an attorney. Although he completed his studies he never actually practiced. His knowledge and interest in the field is revealed in the plots of many of his novels. No Name is an example of Collins’ training in estate law and the various intricacies of the rules and loopholes during that period in mid 19th century England.

description


The opening plot of No Name presents an
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Gitte
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


A thrilling classic with a strong female character, a plot full of twists and turns, but too many details. Recommended for classic-lovers.

Two sisters in Victorian England: the sensible and compliant Norah and the somewhat spoilt Magdalen Vanstone come from a good family. At their parents' sudden death, a family secret is revealed and the sisters are disinherited and become 'Nobody's Children'. Norah makes her way by becoming a governess, while Magdalen sets out on a cruise for justice and reven
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Laurel Hicks
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I knew Captain Kirke would be beamed to the rescue!
Lesle
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2017
Basically the plot a devastating legal issue. Norah and Magdalen parents are not legally married. Mr Vanstone was married before abroad and was not unable to divorce.
The current Mr and Mrs lived together as husband and wife, finally made legal when the first wife died. Before they could make a plan for the girls, both parents die, Andrew is killed in a local train crash and the mother dies in childbirth.
Andrew's money goes to his older brother, who hated him and refuses to part with any of the m
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Matthew Gatheringwater
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked this novel first as an exploration of what happens to a person who knowingly chooses an action they believe to be immoral. The protagonist of this story has been injured by social mores she considers unjust and therefore she disregards the conventions of the community in which she lives to extract her revenge upon the people she holds responsible for injuring her family. I must admit, however, that 600-odd pages of this moral dilemma would have gotten tiring even for me, an enthusiast fo ...more
Tina Tamman
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
This is a truly remarkable novel. There were moments when I could see quite clearly where we were going, and yet this didn't detract from the pleasure of reading the novel because I wanted to know how the author would achieve this end. And Wilkie Collins didn't disappoint! It is a novel of a complicated structure, with a whole host of characters; well worth reading for the feel of the 19th century alone. The legal angle only adds to the pleasure.
The plot is complex and centres around a series of
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Dolors
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I turned the last page of "No Name" my first thought was " Why did I take so long to read this book?, so much time wasted!"
My only Collins experience had been some years ago with "The woman in white" and I wasn't disappointed. But I don't know why I kept postponing starting this novel, which had been in my shelves for quite a long time. Maybe its lenght, maybe (in my humble opinion) the too much simplified summary plot, maybe because I thought I knew what kind of book I was going to read...
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Laura
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kim, Virginie, Wanda
One of the few novels which treats deeply the stigma of illegitimacy in the Victorian times.

This is the story of the Vanstone family. After their father's death in a local train crash followed by their mother's death in childbirth, the two sisters, Norah and Magdalen, the girls discovered that their parents that their parents have only been married a few months and the wedding invalidated their will.

They are forced then to face life by their own way with the help of their loyal governess Miss Ga
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Karin
A truly gothic, Victorian novel and considered very immoral at the time, I have to say that I have enjoyed this Wilkie Collins novel best of the three I've tried (I've only finished two).

Magdalen and her older sister Norah, lose both of their parents not far apart only to learn that they have "no name" because their parents were only legally married a year prior and their father had neglected to rewrite his will. With nothing left but their personal belongings, they are kindly taken in by their
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Angie
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having just read Peter Ackroyd's biography of Wilkie Collins I decided to jump straight into reading No Name. Wow, its a great book full of Victorian melodrama and intrigue. I know many do compare Collins to Dickens however, I have often found his stories to be more Conan Doyle-like as their mysterious plots often involve legalities and quirks of the law which in turn affect the characters in his novels. Collins studied law prior to finding success as a novelist. Both Collins and Dickens seriali ...more
Bettie☯


From wiki: No Name (1862) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century novel revolving around the issue of illegitimacy. It was originally serialized in Charles Dickens's magazine All the Year Round before book publication.

All the ingedients of a rollicking good mystery

5* The Woman in White
4* The Moonstone
3* The Haunted Hotel
3* The Law and The Lady
TR Basil
4* No Name
3* The Frozen Deep
4* Who Killed Zebedee
3* The Dead Alive
4* The Terribly Strange Bed
Renee M
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! A gem of a novel, hidden behind the more well-known titles of The Woman In White and The Moonstone. Collins has created a modern heroine in Magdalen Vanstone, willing to fight against the confines of the laws which have deprived her of inheritance, name, and standing in society. And, a more conventional Victorian heroine, in her sister, Norah Vanstone. The story of their trials, set adrift by harsh circumstances, makes for a thrilling page-turner!!
Carla Remy
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have enjoyed several Willie Collins books, but it requires patience I don't currently have. I always say about 19th century literature that they wanted a book that would last all winter. I think it was last year, I read some of his The Law and the Lady, and I had the same feeling I have with this: insipid plots appealing to a Victorian.
Steve
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Late in the first half of the nineteenth century, Magdalen and her sister Norah are raised in comfort. At the threshold of adulthood, they are thrust suddenly into a life far different than they expected. The sisters choose different paths, and as Robert Frost noted, that has made all the difference. The story follows Magdalen on her path. She seeks retribution for the people she holds culpable of forcing the changes. Without revealing a whole lot more, some of the things that stand out for me h ...more
Margaret
No Name is the second of the four novels generally thought to be Collins's best, and I quite agree with general opinion. The plot centers on two sisters, Magdalen and Norah Vanstone, who find out that when their parents die that they weren't married at the times of the sisters' births, making them illegitimate; thus, they are disinherited by law and cast out from their childhood home by their estranged uncle. Norah submits to her fate and finds work as a governess, but Magdalen vows revenge and ...more
Macktan
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing

I read this book in the late 70s, when I was in graduate school at NYU, taking a course in Victorian Literature. Wilkie Collins is best known for the Woman in White, a thriller that is still produced on the stage today. Collins has been called the father of the mystery story; in English literature, he wrote some of the first modern thrillers. This one, about two daughters who find out the unspeakable--their parents were never married!--set out in the world to reclaim their inheritance, which the
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M.J. Johnson
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was considered pretty scandalous in its day because it deals with the subject of illegitimacy. It tells the story of Magdalene and Norah Vanstone, who are disinherited because of the sudden deaths of their parents. The family money which was intended to be shared between them goes to a miserly cousin who treats them with utter contempt. The sisters have very different personalities: Norah humbly accepts her lot in life and seeks work as a governess; Magdalene (the name’s a bit of a give-awa ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
What I love about Wilkie Collins’ books—at least those that I’ve read so far—are his strong female characters. And No Name doesn’t disappoint on this count. Magdalen may be a touch naive—she is only eighteen when our story begins—but she has plenty of spunk and a great deal of courage too when one thinks about it. Her sister Norah is a polar opposite of sorts, quietly accepting her lot, also strong but in a different sense—her conduct more in line with the mores of the day. Magdalen as a result ...more
Fiona
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of Wilkie Collins I have read and it won’t be the last. Don’t you just love it when you can say that about an author? Many people have highly recommended The Woman in White to me since but I decided to read this one first as it has been on my TBR for about 4 years.

I actually remember buying it in Waterstones bookshop because I’d never seen this title before and in fact haven’t seen it in a bookshop since. I had a good feeling about it then even though I put off reading it
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Lady Shockley
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quite the page- turner. Wilkie Collins certainly knew how to keep his readers coming back for more of his serialised stories. While the situation which causes such life- changing circumstances for Norah and Magdalen Vanstone are infuriating, unfair and are devoid of common sense, such was the moralising of the Victorian era. Wonderful characters abound. Captain Wragge, Scalloway that he is, is much my favourite. I do love the way he cures everyone at the end of the book.
Faouzia
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story!
Wilkie Collins is officially in my top 5 list of favorite classic authors. I already loved his style in "The Woman in White" and "the Moonstone", and this book was no exception.
Dickens, his friend, said about this book: 'I have gone through the Second Volume at a sitting and I find it wonderfully fine. It is as far before and beyond The Woman in White as that was beyond the wretched common level of fiction-writing.'
I wouldn't have stopped reading the book if i didn't have
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Dan
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This book took me quite a while to get through, not because it is a bad book but simply because it is a big one. In fact it is a brilliant book and I thought it was better than both of Wilkie Collins' most famous books, The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

It is the story of Magdalen, who is rather happy with her life when we first meet her. Unfortunately tragedy strikes (as tragedy has a habit of doing) and both her parents die within a short while of each other. Because the parents were never
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Penelope
“Nothing in this world is hidden forever. The gold which has lain for centuries unsuspected in the ground, reveals itself one day on the surface. Sand turns traitor, and betrays the footstep that has passed over it; water gives back to the tell-tale surface the body that has been drowned. Fire itself leaves the confession, in ashes, of the substance consumed in it. Hate breaks its prison-secrecy in the thoughts, through the doorway of the eyes; and Love finds the Judas who betrays it by a kiss. ...more
Ron
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The hard handwriting of trouble had scored [her face] heavily at some past time.”

Like many novels of himself and his friend Charlies Dickens, Wilkie Collins addresses a grave social injustice with a captivating story. No Namedeals with the issues--familial, legal and emotional--of illegitimacy in the society which hyperventilates about most everything moral or sexual. (In fact, sex as a verb is never even alluded therein.)

“The lasting preservation of a secret is a miracle which this world has n
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Dana Loo
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici
Un Collins un po' diverso dai precedenti libri che ho letto. Nn un giallo ma, una storia realistica che tratta un tema abbastanza scottante come quello della condizione dei figli nati fuori dal matrimonio. Un apparato narrativo abbastanza complesso, a tratti un po' stucchevole, personaggi sempre egregiamente delineati, colpi di scena, suspense, e situazioni ad incastro che portano ad un finale con tanto di lieto fine, cosa abbastanza straordinaria per una protagonista, una sorta di fallen woman ...more
Karla
Absolutely loved this book. The "heroine" is ruthless and driven to obtain her rightful inheritance at any cost, and my sympathies were with her throughout the entire story. Collins is a master at writing women and their inner turmoil and struggle against society's strictures - being a rather unconventional fellow himself. The prose is intricate and Victorian, but not in the manner of the worst excesses of the time. He's a stellar author at his best and timeless.
Auriel Roe
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books and I wish someone would make it into a film - the radio 4 adaptation is very good, however. It's a roller coaster adventure with an ingenious lead character who adopts one disguise after another in order to regain her rightful inheritance. A wonderfully written ripping yarn.
Tracey
Jul 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
a very boring read
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A close friend of Charles Dickens' from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William "Wilkie" Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of ...more
More about Wilkie Collins...
“Nothing in this world is hidden forever. The gold which has lain for centuries unsuspected in the ground, reveals itself one day on the surface. Sand turns traitor, and betrays the footstep that has passed over it; water gives back to the tell-tale surface the body that has been drowned. Fire itself leaves the confession, in ashes, of the substance consumed in it. Hate breaks its prison-secrecy in the thoughts, through the doorway of the eyes; and Love finds the Judas who betrays it by a kiss. Look where we will, the inevitable law of revelation is one of the laws of nature: the lasting preservation of a secret is a miracle which the world has never yet seen.” 74 likes
“Men, being accustomed to act on reflection themselves, are a great deal too apt to believe that women act on reflection, too. Women do nothing of the sort. They act on impulse; and, in nine cases out of ten, they are heartily sorry for it afterward.” 8 likes
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