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Man and Wife (1870)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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319664,592 (3.81)16
Man and Wife (1870) combines the fast pace and sensational plot structure of Collins's most famous novels with a biting attack on the inequitable marriage laws in Victorian Britain. At its centre is the plight of a woman who fears that the archaic marriage laws of Scotland and Ireland may have forced her into committing unintentional bigamy. As the novel progresses, the atmosphere grows increasingly sinister when the setting moves from a country house to a London suburb and a world of confinement, plotting, and murder.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: These books have a similar tone. Readers who enjoy one will likely enjoy the other.
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» See also 16 mentions

English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Scottish marriage law threatens lovers and ends binding woman to seducer
  ritaer | Aug 19, 2021 |
Scottish marriage law forms the basis for the plot of Man and Wife. Apparently in the 19th century all one had to do to be married in Scotland was to claim to be married in front of witnesses, no civil or church ceremonies required. Collins spins an entertaining tale around a young woman on the brink of ruin and a chivalrous young man doing a favor for a friend who may have unwittingly tied the knot. This leads to all sorts of complications. The book’s tone and the relationship between the young lovers, Blanche and Arnold, remind me a lot of The Moonstone. Readers who loved that book should give this one a try. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jul 9, 2019 |
Wilkie Collins was not only a detective novelist, he was a writer who took up the cause of social injustices, but presented them in the form, somewhat, of a suspense novel. In this novel, we are presented with the damsel in distress - because of antiquated and unbalanced marriage laws currently in effect regarding women, she finds herself "accidentlly" married to the friend of her betrothed. Collins builds the suspense, exponding on the laws of the land and how she came to be in such a position; he allows her feelings and distress to be exposed in sweet Victorian narrative; there are all the elements of a Collins mystery. A thoroughly enjoyable read if you enjoy the colorful and detailed language that flows so well as only seemed to be mastered in bygone eras. ( )
  CathyWoolbright | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is a novel you can enjoy notwithstanding its faults. Yes, it's preachy, but preachy about two issues that no one today cares about (long-repealed Scots law and the mid-19th century fashion for 'severe muscular exertion'). There are also obvious contrivances, like the doctor who just happens to be in both Scotland and England at precisely the right times to pronounce on the health of the main character; or the all-important Last Will and Testament, which just happens to have two codicills, one signed and the other unsigned. None of this matters. It's impossible not to like Sir Patrick Lundie, or hate Lady Lundie, or enjoy watching the Bad People try to do Bad Things to the Good People.
  messpots | May 21, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkie Collinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Page, NormanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'May I not write in such a style as this?
In such a method too, and yet not miss
My end, thy good? Why may it not be done?
Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none.'
JOHN BUNYAN'S Apology for his Book
Dedication
Affectionately dedicated to Mr and Mrs Frederick Lehmann
First words
On a summer's morning, between thirty and forty years ago, two girls were crying bitterly in the cabin of an East Indian passenger ship bound outwards, from Gravesend to Bombay.
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'Can't we interest you in anything but severe muscular exertion, Mr Delamayn?' . . . .
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Man and Wife (1870) combines the fast pace and sensational plot structure of Collins's most famous novels with a biting attack on the inequitable marriage laws in Victorian Britain. At its centre is the plight of a woman who fears that the archaic marriage laws of Scotland and Ireland may have forced her into committing unintentional bigamy. As the novel progresses, the atmosphere grows increasingly sinister when the setting moves from a country house to a London suburb and a world of confinement, plotting, and murder.

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