Monday, 25 October 2010

The Woman in White ~ Wilkie Collins

(The copy of this book that I read was published over 90 years ago, so it had no cover art. Instead I used a painting from the novel.)

Walter Hartright is a teacher of drawing. He takes a position in a private household, instructing two sisters. On the eve of his departure to begin his new job, Walter happens to meet a strange woman on the road; a woman clad in all white. Her eerie behavior makes an impression on Mr. Hartright, and he decides to help her. After they part ways Walter learns the woman has escaped from an asylum, and he aided her escape! Thinking that was the last time he would ever see her, Walter begins his teaching position. Low and behold one of his students bears a remarkable resemblance to the mysterious Woman in White. Unknowingly the Woman in White will dictate the rest of Walter’s future.
I have high praise for this book. From the beginning of the tale I was drawn into the story. One aspect I enjoyed was how the narrative switched from person to person, looping all the characters together. It began with Walter, and then when Walter left the scene the story was taken up by someone else. Thus the character development was well done. This story is a gothic mystery, and the mystery side was certainly emphasized. I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen. The story is a long one, though. But if you don’t mind lengthy books (and you enjoy 19th century literature) then I would definitely recommend reading The Woman in White.

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