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The Woman in White
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Archive 2018 Group Reads > 2018 September The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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message 1: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (last edited Aug 31, 2018 10:57AM) (new) - added it

Lesle | 6300 comments Mod
The Woman in White is Wilkie Collins' fifth published novel, written in 1859. It is considered to be among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of "sensation novels".
Walter Hartright, a young art teacher, encounters and gives directions to a mysterious and distressed woman dressed entirely in white, lost in London; he is later informed by policemen that she has escaped from an asylum.
The Limmeridge household comprises the invalid Frederick Fairlie, and Walter's students: Laura Fairlie, Mr. Fairlie's niece, and Marian Halcombe, her devoted half-sister. Walter realises that Laura bears an astonishing resemblance to the woman in white, who is known to the household by the name of Anne Catherick: a mentally disabled child who formerly lived near Limmeridge, and was devoted to Laura's mother, who first dressed her in white. 672 pages


Sydney (slknutsen) Very enjoyable book. Collins weaves quite a tale of intrigue, keeping you guessing and motivated to read on!


message 3: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
I have read this book twice and highly recommend it.


Inkspill (runinkspill) I've heard so uch about this one - it's tempting to read this but I'm not sure if I can fit it in as I have others lined up already.

I'll try :}


message 5: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
You can always read it later, since the threads stay open even in the Archives.


message 6: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) This is an excellent book, but I liked the Moonstone even better.


message 7: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - added it

Lesle | 6300 comments Mod
Hello Inkspill!
It is quite a lenghty read and like Rosemarie said if you get started late you can finish up on your time.


message 8: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - added it

Lesle | 6300 comments Mod
If anyone is interested here is a link to a free EBook:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/583


Sydney (slknutsen) Kirsten wrote: "This is an excellent book, but I liked the Moonstone even better."

Enjoyed this one too.


Trisha | 996 comments I read this fairly recently so won’t read it again this month. But I look forward to the discussions about it.


message 11: by Nouh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nouh | 1 comments I've read this book and i really enjoyed it.
what i appreciate most in this novel is it's richness because the plot is complete and balanced and it gives you a picture of victorian society.
Sometimes, detective novels can be boring because what really matters (not always) is finding the murderer, so many detective novels have only the final part that is interesting.
Well, "the woman in white" is the exact opposite, because i find it interesting from the beginning until the end.

Happy reading!!


Audrey (niceyackerman) | 74 comments I really enjoyed this one; a great classic. I think it’s the first book ever about (view spoiler)


Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments I just started it and see that it uses the same 'multi-narrator' technique Collins used later in The Moonstone.
WIW seems to have about 16 exchanges of the narration baton, which seems a lot more than I remember from the Moonstone. Does Collins use this devise in all his novels?


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments This is my first time reading it. I just love how the author describes the characters. Like how some people run through life. some people walk through life. This woman sits and sits through life. I just had to laugh at that. Not sure i repeated it accurately but it went something like that. This is my first book by this author.


message 15: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
I am glad you are enjoying it,Shannon.


message 16: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - added it

Lesle | 6300 comments Mod
That is different Shannon!


message 17: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - added it

Lesle | 6300 comments Mod
Brian how is it going?


message 18: by Brian E (last edited Sep 07, 2018 08:44AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments I'm currently reading 3 books so I'm going slowly - Kindle says 10% finished. Collins style is not difficult and the reading is satisfying but not that compelling as of yet. However, like any good mystery, it does have me making conjectures on what will come. I see it getting more compelling.
I currently prefer my Trollope book but maybe it's because Trollope writes in the 3rd person and I just like listening to his story telling. Collins changes 1st person narrators so has to put the character's personality into the story telling. It will be interesting how the story telling is affected when the narrators change.


message 19: by Brian E (last edited Sep 07, 2018 05:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments While reading, I'm reminded of how the 'double' or 'doppelganger' is used in 19th century literature such as A Tale of Two Cities, The Prince and the Pauper and even by Dosty in The Double. It is taken seriously, with two of these three using it for tragic effect. In contrast, the only 21st Century example I can think of right now is the TV show "How I Met Your Mother," which uses it for comic effect.
It does add something intriguing to this story.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments I wonder how the double is going to play out in this story too. I also like the different personalities in each chapter. The artists description of the people was artsy. The lawyer was straight and to the point. Marinas voice was different too. So far I like it. I almost wanted to yell no at the end of Marians first narrative.


message 21: by Brian E (last edited Sep 08, 2018 08:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments FINISHED VINCENT GILMORE NARRATIVE

While there will be several short testimonies by side characters, Walter's narrations compile over half the book, with Marian's over a quarter. This seems like a good thing.

Last night, I finished watching the HBO "Sharp Objects" miniseries which briefly features a Woman in White.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments So far I like Walter the best. Maybe later I will check out that series on HBO.


message 23: by Brian E (last edited Sep 09, 2018 08:01AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments There is also a 2018 TV miniseries on the actual book Woman in White that has been shown on BBC One this past April and May. It has Ben Hardy as Walter, Charles Dance as Mr, Fairlie and Dougray Scott as Sir Percival. I haven't seen a U.S. broadcast yet, but will be checking periodically to see if there ever is or a Netflix type broadcast.


Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments I have discovered that the 5 episode The Woman in White BBC miniseries will be shown on American PBS stations at 10 Eastern and 9 Central time for 5 Sunday nights starting on October 21st.
It will directly follow the Sunday night MasterpieceTheater lineup of the Durrells in Corfu (8E/7C) and Poldark (9E/8C)


message 25: by Blueberry (last edited Sep 10, 2018 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Blueberry (blueberry1) | 889 comments I better start reading then. Thanks Brian.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments So far the chapter I'm on is pretty chilling. Sir Clyde gives me the creeps.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments At first I didn't like Marian Holcombe. After reading her last chapter, I kind of like her.


message 28: by Brian E (last edited Sep 15, 2018 08:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments Shannon, I'm still toward the beginning of Marian's first narrative, but will read more after I finish Phineas Finn tomorrow.
So far, I like Marian. The initial description of her appearance as being well-built but homely made me think there was potential for a complex character that may at times defy expectations. That is fairly appealing to me as a reader and I haven't been disappointed yet by her character. I will get back here when I read more.


message 29: by Brian E (last edited Sep 16, 2018 05:46PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments Shannon, I now see where your dislike of Marian could arise. I just read her entry into Blackwater Park where she makes such comments as:

"The main body of the building is of the time of that highly overrated woman, Queen Elizabeth."
"galleries ... rendered additionally dark and dismal by hideous family portraits - every one of which I should like to burn."
"The largest and fattest of all possible housemaids answered it, in a state of cheerful stupidity ..."

Such a delightful guest.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Thanks Rosemarie and Lesle for letting me know it's a long read and I can finish it in my own time - I'm hoping to start this in the next couple of weeks.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments I'm 65%through with it. Now I'm confused on what happened to Laura. Is it really her or her double Anne?


message 33: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
The author likes to keep us guessing, doesn't he?


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments Yes, I'm not sure who is the bad guy and who is who at this point.


message 35: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
It will all make sense at the end of the book, Shannon.


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments Thanks


message 37: by Brian E (last edited Sep 20, 2018 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments This is a book that really could have used discussion threads divided into sections. I find myself not wanting to read Shannon or other posters comments as I'm afraid of reveals. This is one book that would definitely have spoilers.
As a favor, could posters state how they have read at the beginning of their post? Or if its a general comment. Or just state no spoilers.
I'll do an example.


Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments FINISHED MARION'S FIRST NARRATION/ WILL START FAIRLIE

Very interesting to have the short narration by the Count. I have a suspicion of anyone named Count who's not from Monte Cristo.


message 39: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
Good suggestion, Brian.
If our members state what section they are on, then those who are not that far along in the book can skip it until they get there.


message 40: by Beril (new) - added it

Beril Marhan (smellyycatt) | 11 comments I joined the group yesterday and I am starting to read it right now! I hope I can finish it in 9 days :)


message 41: by Piyangie, Classical Princess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Piyangie | 1202 comments Mod
It is interesting read everyone's thoughts. I'm revisiting the story in my mind. It was such a fascinating book. I wished I could have reread. But there are so many under my belt for the year.


message 42: by Piyangie, Classical Princess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Piyangie | 1202 comments Mod
Beril wrote: "I joined the group yesterday and I am starting to read it right now! I hope I can finish it in 9 days :)"

I'm sure you can, Beril. I did too. :-)


message 43: by Beril (new) - added it

Beril Marhan (smellyycatt) | 11 comments I'm glad to hear that :)


message 44: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
Beril, you can take your time because we keep the discussion threads open indefinitely. But it is so good that you will probably finish it no time anyway.
Happy reading!


message 45: by Beril (new) - added it

Beril Marhan (smellyycatt) | 11 comments Thank you so much :)


shannon  Stubbs | 222 comments It's a big book but it keeps my interest. There are a lot of twists and turns.


message 47: by Brian E (last edited Sep 29, 2018 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments FINISHED THE BOOK (spoilers)

At the end, I felt my 21st century notions toward 'illegitimate' children have me view two situations in a slightly different perspective than the Victorian readers:
1) So Sir Percy isn't the real heir but some cousin somewhere is merely because he is an illegitimate son? My modern sympathies are that he should get the estate. Yes, he tries to get it in an evil manner and, thus deserves to die - but the system did screw him, nonetheless.
2) That Anne is Laura's half-sister, is utilized only to explain the doppelganger. I don't think Walter ever tells Laura - or anybody - that she is the half-sister. To me is a big deal. Anne is a Fairlie and somehow this should be known. Marian and Anne aren't related, but both are half-sisters to Laura, At least Anne gets buried in the family plot.

I especially liked the parts where Collins had Walter doing the detective work through the church records. I also thought Collins did a fine job resolving things, better than the contrived Moonstone resolution.

MOONSTONE SPOILER ALERT
Both novels, though, have similar resolutions of the villains' fate - an outside group eliminates the villain so the protagonists can live free without doing the dirty deed. It was the Indians taking care of Godfrey in the Moonstone, and the Brotherhood's man with the scar disposing of the Count in TWIW.


message 48: by Beril (new) - added it

Beril Marhan (smellyycatt) | 11 comments I finished the book yesterday and I can easily day that it was amazing!! I read many comments about the book before reading and many of them were bad. I don't think this book doesn't deserve such bad comments. This was the first book I read from Wilkie Collins and I loved his style.


message 49: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (last edited Sep 30, 2018 11:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemarie | 8955 comments Mod
Beril, I love this book too. I also like The Moonstone. My favourite of the two is usually the one I have just finished reading.
I am glad you enjoyed it.


message 50: by Brian E (last edited Sep 30, 2018 06:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Brian E Reynolds | 4010 comments Beril wrote: "I finished the book yesterday and I can easily day that it was amazing!! I read many comments about the book before reading and many of them were bad. I don't think this book doesn't deserve such b..."

Beril, the negative comments can't be from this group. It gets a lot of love in this group, even creating a sensation on here. The 3 other members commenting on this page have all given it 5 stars. As for other NTLTRC members, Kathy gives 4 stars to both this and the Moonstone and Doreen P. gives it a rave review and 5 stars.
My 3 star rating is probably the lowest of members on here. Yet I did enjoy it and, despite what I thought was a silly resolution, enjoyed the Moonstone too. I thought about giving TWIW 4 stars and still may, but I think I was rounding down because I've been giving too many 4 stars recently. And the book did feel long at times. However, that's an understandable part of serialized novels of the time - it was their TV shows.


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