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The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White (1860)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,165225383 (4.09)7 / 1051
  1. 141
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (starfishian)
  2. 164
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Cecilturtle)
  3. 71
    The Yellow Wall-Paper {story} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (wonderlake)
  4. 40
    Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Both novels take place in Victorian England. They have convoluted plots, many surprises and a whiff of the occult. Although Freedom and Necessity was not a Victorian novel, it reads like one, complementing the style of Collins.
  5. 30
    Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (joririchardson, Hollerama)
  6. 31
    The Seance by John Harwood (bibliobeck, simon_carr)
  7. 53
    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (wonderlake, teelgee)
    teelgee: Definitely see where Sarah Waters got her inspiration!
  8. 32
    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Victorian crime
  9. 10
    Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Hollerama)
  10. 11
    The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazán (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: Spanish *gothic* from about the same time period.
  11. 12
    The Truth about the Savolta Case by Eduardo Mendoza (caflores, caflores)
  12. 48
    The Count of Monte Cristo, Vol. 2 by Alexandre Dumas (caflores)
Ghosts (31)

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English (214)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
La scrittura di Collins è magnifica, un libro di oltre 700 pagine che ti avvince dall'inizio alla fine.
I personaggi seno caratterizzati benissimo e la storia è affascinante.
Un thriller che pur essendo stato scritto nel 1860 è equivalente, se non superiore, a tanti thriller scritti oggi.
Molto consigliato agli amanti del genere ( )
  Angela.Me | Nov 9, 2015 |
Wilkie Collin’s The Woman in White is 19th century sensationalist fiction at its finest. Don’t be deceived by its 700 pages – this was by far the most approachable book I’ve read for its size, especially for a mystery read.

We enter the story through the words of Walter Hartright, a young painter and art teacher who takes up a job opportunity to teach painting to two half-sisters at the Limmeridge House mansion. Before this however, he comes across a strange woman dressed in all white on the streets of London who, he learns, has escaped from an asylum. The plot begins to unravel as Walter learns of a domestic conspiracy that threatens the lives of the two half-sisters, Laura Glyde and Marian Halcombe – the unsettling fact is that the two men responsible are Laura’s future husband and her own uncle. This book is in fact, is Collins attempt to highlight the impartiality of the British legal system in relation to married women (as is his later work Man and Wife) during his time. A book that treats such ideas as an impetus for literature are always welcomed!

There is a lot that Wilkie Collins should be praised for, the quick pacing being something that I especially admired him for in such a long read. The novel, as it confesses at the start, is told through the perspectives of multiple characters much like a court case is presented through various witnesses. The reader, then, is encouraged to untangle the web of mystery that surrounds The Woman in White, while appreciating the multiple plot-twists that comes his or her way.

Collins’ work also explores the idea of the unconscious with profundity, as the element of sleep (both naturally and artificially induced) is critical to the plot. And for those of us who could spend hours writing papers on the notion of identity, this book provides more than enough places concepts to get you thinking.

I do not think that this is an exemplary novel of the sensationalist genre, much less of 19th century urban Gothic, but for readers of the genre it’s quite an entertaining read. This book receives bonus points for having a strong female central figure (Marian Halcombe) as well. Yay!

If you want to read more of my reviews, check out my book blog♡ ( )
  themythbookshelf | Oct 17, 2015 |
I LOVED this book. I am so glad that I made the choice. I really went into it thinking I was going to be reading a ghost story which is not my usual fare. Definitely not a ghost story, but full of suspense and mystery, and a fabulous story, as well.

Walter Hartright is hired to teach drawing to a young woman and her step sister. Late at night, on his way to the estate, on a lonely dark road, he meets a mysterious woman who is dressed all in white. He helps the confused woman find her way to London. This chance meeting changes his life in unimaginable ways. The young woman he has been hired to teach is Laura Fairlie. She is painted as the usual Victorian woman in novels - there isn't a whole lot going on in that head, but she is beautiful. Her step-sister, Marian Halcombe, on the other hand, must be one of the best female characters in Victorian literature. She is smart, strong and capable - not a handsome woman though. Their uncle, Mr. Fairlie, is a wonderfully unlikable neurotic character. And there are a fair share of villainous characters too. Percival Glyde, Count Fosco and his wife add many different plot twists that keep moving the story forward.

The story is told by different people, each in first person, which works very well here. I was up very late several nights trying to find out what was going to happen next. If you haven't read this one, I highly recommend it.

Read July 2014 ( )
1 vote NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
Stirring stuff from Wilkie Collins. Plenty of mystery and suspense. Wonderful characters, both charming and horrific. My heart was in my mouth at times as I read about the cruelty humans can enact on one another in the pursuit of money. It was always believable, never hysterical or florid, and even minor characters were well imagined. A classic for good reason. ( )
  missizicks | Jul 23, 2015 |
I enjoyed this novel immensely and basically was glued to the sofa for a weekend while in its thrall.

The title character makes only cameo appearances, but the mystery surrounding her is central to the story. Her fate is intertwined with the six principal characters -- three of whom are virtuous in the extreme, and the other three of whom are villainous. Mr. Collins has not shaded his characters in hues of gray; his hero and heroines act only with the noblest of motives and seem to be immune even to common human failings. Of his three main villains, only one transcends a one-dimensional drawing of heartless, remorseless manipulator. The corpulent Italian aristocrat, Count Fosco, is a villain worthy of a comic book: flamboyant, cunning and controlling, he is always one step ahead of his adversaries and seems to require a hero with superpowers to outmaneuver him. Yet he has a soft spot for animals and intelligent women, notably his protagonist on the virtuous team, who, perhaps not coincidentally, is the only one of her side to have a flaw: an ugly face.

Were this novel released in our age, a modern critic would likely take issue with characters painted in such pure terms. Even Batman has to wrestle with his inner demons these days, and the Joker perhaps had a good reason for turning to crime. No contemporary novel could support a character such as Marian Holcombe, who lives in stunning devotion to her younger half-sister who inherited not only all of the family money but also the physical beauty. Poor, plain Marian never seems to experience even a twinge of jealousy towards her fortunate sister.

I'm grateful Mr. Collins had no need to concern himself with the opinions of our century. His one-dimensional characters draw in the reader (assuming the absence of modern perversities that cause some readers to root for the bad guys), who will know clearly which team to support in this struggle of good and evil. Plus, the plot is intricate and perfectly paced. ( )
  Sharon.Flesher | Jul 13, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (185 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkie Collinsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dei, FedoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, MatthewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulienEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willis, ChristineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.
The soft hazy twilight was just shading leaf and blossom alike into harmony with its own sober hues as we entered the room, and the sweet evening scent of the flowers met us with its fragrant welcome through the open glass doors.
There are three things that none of the young men of the present generation can do. They can't sit over their wine, they can't play at whist, and they can't pay a lady a compliment.
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Book description
When Walter Hartwright encounters a solitary, terrified, beautiful woman dressed in white on a moonlit night in London, he feels impelled to solve the mystery of her distress. The story, full of secrets, locked rooms, lost memories, and surprise revelations, features heroine Marian Halcombe and drawing-master Walter Hartright as sleuthing partners pitted against the diabolical Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. This gothic psychological thriller, a mesmerizing tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, has gripped the imagination of readers since its first publication in 1860. The breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.
Haiku summary
Identity theft,
Money, madness, hidden crimes:
A Collins classic.
(passion4reading - thank you, wisewoman)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439610, Paperback)

Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins's psychological thriller has never been out of print in the 140 years since its publication.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:48 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

When Walter Hartright has a mysterious moonlit encounter with a woman dressed all in white, his world changes forever.

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15 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439610, 0141389435

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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