The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
“This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.”
I am not a big fan of mystery novels. I tried to get into Agatha Christie but found The Murder on the Orient Express quite boring. Quite unlike Wilkie Collin's mystery novel, The Moonstone, which was a thrilling ride. Even though The Moonstone was written in the 1868, it still was great reading it over 100 years later.
Once I discovered Collins, I have been meaning to read his other popular novel, The Woman in White. I was expecting it to be about a story about a ghost or other supernatural phenomenon but I was wrong. It was still a great read, but nothing about ghosts.
“Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.”
This novel is about an art teacher that gets hired by two sisters who live in the English countryside. One of the sisters will be married off to a nobleman very soon. There are suspicious circumstances that the teacher encounters at the country house which makes him doubt the intentions of the nobleman. The story is told through the diaries and written statements of different characters in the story. Each narrator writes in their own voice about events they know about or were a part of.
“No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman.”
This is a long novel (700 pages), and takes awhile to get interesting but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with a very intricate, and interesting plot. They plot was very well constructed and it took me almost until the end of the book to realize who the villain was, what were their secrets, and final aims. “The novel was first published in serial form in 1859–60, appearing in Charles Dickens' magazine All the Year Round (UK) and Harper's Weekly (USA). It was published in book form in 1860.” This would account for the length and wordiness of some of the novel as the magazine would've been paying Collins by the word. Also, the manner of speech in the Victorian times is a tad formal, and superfluous at times.
I would not recommend reading this before The Moonstone. If you read the Moonstone, and enjoy Collins' style, then, by all means, please go and give The Woman and White a read.