Becky's Reviews > The Woman in White

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
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's review
Apr 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: librivox-gutenberg-for-free, victorian
Read from April 11 to 30, 2012

The more I read Wilkie Collins the more I like him. The first work by him that I read was the Moonstone, and it was good, but I hardly had the reaction to it that I had to The Black Robe and the Woman in White. His characters are so fully drawn, such perfect portraits, that they seem very real. Marian Halcombe may be one of my favorite Victorian women ever written. Her strength and intelligence, her fervent loyalty, makes her so fantastic, and stands as a stark contrast not only to women in this lit period, but also to the women in this book.

Count Fosco is a fantastic villain. Not because he is an “evil genius,” though he may be, but because he is weak, because he feels, his emotions come in torrents. This makes him more interesting, and also more realistic. Sir Percival is never as clever as he thinks, but the resolution to his story is infinitely more satisfying (do to its brutality) than most endings in Viclit.

The mystery in this story is, in my opinion, Collins’ most well plotted. You can see the beginnings of the modern mystery novel, and that in itself is interesting. The climax and action are fantastic, the detective work well done. I certainly didn’t call the ending, well, at least not all of it. I did find the last two chapters a little bit of unnecessary wrap up, as most had already been revealed, but Count Fosco’s narrative is so powerful its worth reading any ways.

Truthfully this is some of the best Viclit you can find. If you’re new to the era this is a good work to dip your toe into. There is a lot more action and plot, and less reliance on character relations, to drive the book forward than there are in works by Gaskell or Eliot. On top of it, like I said, the characters lose nothing. Collins has the ability to attach you to each protagonist with few, but poignant words.
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Reading Progress

29.0% "Totally fascinting. MUCH better than the Moonstone in my opinion. I can't put it down."
42.0% "Count Fosco and Marian Halcombe are some of the most fascinating characters that I've come across in Viclit."
02/02/2016 marked as: read
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Becky We are reading it in one of my goodread bookclubs, so I thought itd be a good opportunity. I've loved everything else I've read by Wilkie so far.

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