The Woman in White has it all -- mystery, mistaken identity, murder, and mayhem. We follow the life of Mr. Walter Hartright, an artist commissioned to teach a rich man's nieces how to draw. The night before he is set to leave for his new job, he meets a mysterious woman. The random encounter fades into the background, but he soon discovers that it may not all be coincidence. After an unexpected twist, Hartright is forced to take a separate path from his students. However, they are not to be separated for long after the mayhem ensues.
Collins' tale is very well constructed and deeply thought out. Minute details become key aspects to his story. His characters are thoroughly developed, creating strong emotions for the good and the bad. Personally, my favorite was Marion Halcombe, though Walter Hartright comes in a close second. I was left guessing at what would come next, and was seldom left distracted or bored. My only complaint was that I felt Collins was a bit wordy in parts, though the rambling often proved to be worthwhile as I read on.
After reading the final pages, I was left with a number of questions. Here are a few of the questions that are still floating through my mind . . .
- Why have I not read this book before?
- Why have I not been previously exposed to this author?
- Why was the author or this book never discussed in my formal english or literature courses?
- Why is Marion Halcombe never discussed when it comes to strong women in classical literature?
The Woman in White is one of the GREAT classics. The writing, the story, and the characters are all brilliant. And, Marion Halcombe is a true unsung hero in classical literature. In short, I loved it!
Have you enjoyed The Woman in White yet? What other Wilkie Collins' novels do you recommend?