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The Woman in White
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Archived 2010 Group Reads > The Woman in White 01: Preface - VII (1-49)

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Kristi (kristicoleman) Welcome to our new Classic Chunkster! What did you think of the opening and the beginning of the book??


Kristi (kristicoleman) So how's everyone liking it so far? I haven't made it through the whole section yet, but I am LOVING Professor Pesca...he seems like such an animated happy fellow. I can't wait to see where his recommendation takes Walter!


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Liza Reid (lizareid) Professor Pesca absolutely reminds me of Roberto Benigni. Anybody else? And yes, I love him too. I really love the way the book is written. The narrative is very easy to follow and the characters very distinct and descriptive. Definitely have found it easy to get into so far.


AM10000 I'm really enjoying it so far also. :) I am at chapter VI...reading it so far on my iphone which is working out nicely, but I should have a print copy arriving here within a week or two.


Kristi (kristicoleman) I agree Liza! I was afraid it would be cumbersome, with the language, I think someone had commented it was a little hard to read. I've been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to get into the book, and how fun and entertaining the story is...gonna finish the section tomorrow while I'm off work...can't wait!


Andrea I just finished tonight and I read the entire section and took a full page of notes I an hour. I also found the writing easy to adapt to and so far the story is interesting enough to keep my attention. I'm also looking forward to learning more about the characters.

I'm going to hold off on posting specific details until it looks like more people are caught up.


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Loretta (lorettalucia) I also just finished. I'm really, really enjoying it so far. I haven't been reading many classics lately (I had my big classics phase in my late teens and early twenties, and then started reading more modern novels after that), but I feel like reading this is whetting my appetite to read way more (which should probably be one of my New Years' reading goals).

I also took a lot of notes, but will follow Andrea's example and post them after more people have read this week's section.


AM10000 I finished reading this part earlier this afternoon after eating a big Thanksgiving dinner. :) And started on section VIII.


Nathalie (natjen29) Hey guys, definitely joining you in this chunkster.. but since internet was out of reach for a while I started already (not knowing it would get picked) and I must say it is a pageturner of highest quality.. already one third through.

I found the beginning rather difficult to get into, but I tend to have that more with books. I truly need somewhat 100 pages to get familiar with its style and to get acquainted with the characters.


Kristi (kristicoleman) Go ahead and post your thoughts. I'm 2 pgs away from the end of this section...will be back in a jiffy to pot my thoughts too.


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Loretta (lorettalucia) Okay, it's Friday, so I think it's late enough in the week that I should post my thoughts. Spoilers below!

- Collins does an amazing job of introducing characters. The way he draws them, they're fully realized within a paragraph or two. I was so incredibly impressed by this.

- The beginning of the book was more than a little funny. I wasn't expecting this, given that all I knew about the book before beginning was that it was a bit of a spooky mystery (which is also true).

- Professor Pesca is incredibly funny. I love how Collins uses his character both to poke fun at Italian culture and also to poke fun at British culture--seeing the odd way that Pesca adopts British customs points out how silly some of those customs and phrases are.

- I also really, really, really love Marian. She seems like a strong, intelligent woman who has a very frank way of speaking. Something of a rarity in Victorian times, no? Especially, as Walter pointed out, "pliability" was a more desirable quality among women.

- I wasn't expecting to meet the titular "woman in white" so soon. The shift from humor to mysterious was quite startling, but worked really well, I think.

- I also was not expecting the Woman to by an Asylum-inhabitant (I was sure something more supernatural was going on).

- The woman was also rather forward wasn't she? There was one point where she put her hand on Walter's chest, which I think would have been a big no-no in the 1860s.

- a couple lines that I particularly liked:

It was the last day of July. The long hot summer was drawing to a close; and we, the weary pilgrims of the London pavement, were beginning to think of the cloud-shadows of the corn-field, and the autumn breezes of the sea-shore.

[W]e of the younger generation are nothing like so hearty and impulsive as some of our elders. I constantly see old people flushed and excited by the prospect of some anticipated pleasure which altogether fails to ruffle the tranquility of their serene grandchildren.


I think that's all I've got to add this time.

Welcome back, Nath! I have to read this week's Stand, but am otherwise all caught up. :)


Andrea I'm going to follow along and post my more detailed comments...

Right off the bat I knew I was going to like this book! We know from the first couple of pages that this story is going to be told by several narrators so I'm wondering what type of style is going to be used to do this. I've read books were events were reviewed from each character perspective and then other where the next character just picked up where the last one left off. Either way I'm excited to see how the story unfolds!

I love all the characters and how Collins gave them personalities that allowed to get to know them quickly. I think Loretta explained this much better :)

I was also VERY SURPRISED that we met the woman in white so soon. I'm dying to know what her connection to the Limmeridge House is and why she left among other details of her life.

I'm interested to see how the relationship with Marian develops and what happens when her step sister comes into the story. Also, I wonder what the deal with Mr. Fairlie is going to be? I made a note that he is a lawyer, I'm wondering if there is any importance to this fact or relation to his illness.

I can't wait to move onto the next section but I have some Stand reading to get through first.


Kristi (kristicoleman) lol...i just finished this section. Man I couldn't have stopped in a better place if I had read the book before! I can't wait to see if the Ladies find out who the woman in white is!

I agree with both Andrea and Loretta...Collins really knows how to write a character. They are so real! I love meetin the characters in this book!

I am so glad we picked this book...it's a blast to read!


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Loretta (lorettalucia) Kristi, and Andrea, I totally agree: I was engaged immediately, which really isn't that common for me (my standard is about 50 pages before I feel pulled in).

It also feels really great to get lost in the rhythms of 19th century writing. There's a lyrical quality to it, but Collins' writing is still really clear.


Tasha I've already read this so I'm not really joining in with the read but I am reading all your posts bc I loved this book and am interested to see how you guys are enjoying it. I felt the same way you guys did at this point in the story! Loretta, you described things so well!! Love it :)


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Liza Reid (lizareid) I'm really liking Ms. Halcombe. She seems like a very strong and intelligent woman who knows exactly who she is. Despite the fact that she is relatively hideous on the outside, she seems to carry herself with poise and grace, and uses her intellect to dive into the mystery of the woman in white. She's like a modern detective decades ahead of her time.


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Loretta (lorettalucia) Honestly, (and I'll admit this is a small point) based on her description, I didn't think Marian was actually hideous. I just think some modern day spa techniques would work on her (e.g. waxing to remove the facial hair). Also, she was described as "swarthy" which was out of style at the time, but which would be perfectly acceptable nowadays.


Andrea Loretta, I have to agree with you. I also think that Walter's perception of her looks were in comparison to her very beautiful body. In other words he was expecting a woman with such a beautiful body would have a matching face and the two didn't match up as he thought they should.


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Loretta (lorettalucia) LOL, I loved that Walter actually got all excited that she wasn't wearing a corset. The footnote in my edition at that point said that Collins apparently used to write to his friends complaining that he couldn't find any women who didn't wear them. Honestly, it felt a little TMI for a footnote, LMAO...


Andrea Loretta, that is a riot! I am reading the project Gutenberg version and no footers were included. This may be a book I actually buy and KEEP for my personal classic collection that I keep saying I'm going to start. I like the idea that they would all match though so I'm on the search for sets.


Denise (momtoconnor) Really liking this book so far...I was a little fearful it would be difficult to read but I am flying through it. I love all the characters so far...

It had been on my to read list for ages so I'm glad I am finally getting to it!


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Liza Reid (lizareid) I agree too, Loretta. If she'd just wax that mustache a little... :) I didn't catch the part about the corset either. That's hilarious!


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Loretta (lorettalucia) LOL, I know, I was not expecting this book to be so funny. I really enjoy the mix of humor and mystery. :)


Kristi (kristicoleman) I agree with you all, I didn't think that the description of Ms. Holcombe was really too bad...she just needed to luck and wax a little, and her bearing and attitude more than made up for her mis-matched body/face. I totally missed the corset comment too Loretta...funny!

I am really looking forward to the next segment!


Nathalie (natjen29) What can I add more? I agree! :)


message 26: by ♥Xeni♥ (last edited Dec 08, 2010 03:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Okay, so I finally finished with part one... I had to finish reading other books before I could start with this one. My apologies for posting so late!

I only read the summary on GoodReads for starting to read, so I only had the vaguest idea of what was going on before jumping in.

Pesca is a very peculiar fellow! I'm not sure if I would have him for my friend, but he does liven up the story! Especially with how he pokes fun at his mix of two different cultures.

I am really amazed at how Collin's writes his characters. They are very real. If I were transported back into time I could just imagine running into any of them!

I find that this book, along with so many written in this era, has the peculiar disposition to move at a very rapid pace rather languidly: There is quite a lot going on, but not a lot happening, if that makes sense.

I also wasn't expecting to meet the woman in white so soon. I figured she'd be a ghost in the house Walter is supposed to go to or something. As to the character of the woman in white: she speaks very peculiarly. Rapidly and yet not much agitation? Why would someone speak rapidly if they aren't trying to construe some other type of emotion? But it's not just her speaking, also her mannerism's that don't fit the other characters that we have met so far. I suppose they fit to her, though, since she is from an Asylum.

Setting wise, the story is very intriguing. Although there aren't many descriptions of London, this is probably due to the fact that the author felt that everyone was familiar with that town and it doesn't warrant much more than a few lines. I love how being in the country / at the sea changes Walter's whole mindset. Isn't that why countless number of people, even today, go on holiday for a change of scenery? If a change of setting doesn't change your mindset, what was the worth of that trip?

Wow does Marian talk a lot! At least it is interesting talk! She is quite an interesting character, definitely born before her time (I cannot fathom that anyone else in that social circle likes her speaking with such frankness all the time!)

I enjoyed a lot of the passages, but I think this one stuck out at me the most:
A thousand thanks and a thousand excuses. and I sadly want a reform in the construction of children. Nature's only idea seems to be to make them machines for the production of incessant noise. as said by Mr. Fairlie. It really fits to his victim character!


Melissa Andrea wrote: "Loretta, I have to agree with you. I also think that Walter's perception of her looks were in comparison to her very beautiful body. In other words he was expecting a woman with such a beautiful bo..."

Loretta wrote: "LOL, I loved that Walter actually got all excited that she wasn't wearing a corset. The footnote in my edition at that point said that Collins apparently used to write to his friends complaining th..."

Andrea wrote: "Loretta, that is a riot! I am reading the project Gutenberg version and no footers were included. This may be a book I actually buy and KEEP for my personal classic collection that I keep saying I'..."

Oh, that is way, way too funny. I noticed that too and knowing how he felt only adds to the moment.


Melissa It has been awhile since I've read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca but I feel as if the feel of this book feels a lot like du Maurier. Does anyone know if du Maurier was influenced by Collins?


Andrea Melissa, I have not read Rebecca yet. I am hoping to get to it this year though :) I'm glad that you have found some similarities. I loved this book so I hope I enjoy Rebecca as much!


message 30: by Kristi (last edited Feb 08, 2011 03:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristi (kristicoleman) if you want to do it as a buddy read, I have it on my TBR too...I'll rad it with you whenever.

Since I am loving this book so much I've been wondering about The Moonstone. Might be just as good since it's written by the same guy...


Andrea that sounds great, I would read both with you! I can wait until you have some free time though so no rush :)


Melissa Kristi wrote: "if you want to do it as a buddy read, I have it on my TBR too...I'll rad it with you whenever.

Since I am loving this book so much I've been wondering about The Moonstone. Might be ..."


I loved, loved, loved Rebecca. If I didn't have so much on my plate, I would read it again with you both.

I have a friend who is anxious to know what I think of this book because she loves The Moonstone. Is it as long as this one?


Kristi (kristicoleman) Oh, I'm free for it anytime, just didn't want to rush you into another book! Let me know when you want to start, but maybe after we finish TWIW...

Melissa, it looks like the Moonstone is only a bit more than 500 pgs...it's a baby Chunkster.


Andrea Moonston is 528 pages! So a little shorter, but still a bit of a chunkster. I was just looking and it looks like there are also several other books by this author. I feel like I really don't know my classic authors very well, even if I do know more than the average person.


Andrea Looks like we both replied at the same time!..hahah


Melissa Andrea wrote: "Moonston is 528 pages! So a little shorter, but still a bit of a chunkster. I was just looking and it looks like there are also several other books by this author. I feel like I really don't know m..."

That is the thing about the classics, the more you read the more you find there is to read. :)


Andrea Not good, not good at all! I just keep adding to my list!...lol


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