Friday, January 14, 2011

The Woman in White Readalong: Post 1

*I want to apologize for this post going up late. It has been a crazy week, which is also why this post may seem disjointed.*

Welcome to post of the January 2011 readalong of Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White. This post will cover roughly the first half of the book (around 315 pages).

The first thing I want to do is apologize for not making the halfway point more distinct. When I hit 315 pages in ym own edition, it was right in the middle of a tense moment. I read further in hopes of getting to a good stopping point. Having said all that, I reached page 338. This was after the Count's entry in Marian's journal and what I will be discussing in my post.

So. Where to begin?

Can I say right now that I cannot wait to finish this novel? From the very beginning, Collins hooked me on his mystery and characterization. I eagerly turn pages in hope that I get the answers, but by this point, I am still wondering what the solution is, and Anne Catherick's Secret about Sir Percival Glyde (what a horrid sounding name, by the way. It oozes creepiness, doesn't it?).

Our story begins with a narration by Walter Hartwright, a drawing master who comes across a mysterious Woman in white on a late walk in London. After a disturbing conversation, Hartwright is haunted by the woman he doesn't know and continuously finds instances to discuss her once he reaches his new place of employment at Limmeridge House. There, he begins to teach to two young women, Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie.

This is where the story really begins. Young and beautiful Laura is engaged to the nasty Sir Percival, who knows something about Anne. Walter falls madly in love with Laura and to protect both of them, Marian tells him to leave. He does, but leaves heartbroken.

You would think that this is more than enough emotional power to move the story along, but the story becomes even more powerful from this point forward. The narrative switches into Marian's journal entries and we learn what happens after Walter leaves. Laura, in love with Walter, agrees to marry Sir Percival anyway, and the wedding goes off (how I wanted Walter to sweep in and save her). When they return from honeymooning, Marian joins them at Percival's home, Blackwater. There, the two women begin to learn why Percival married Laura in the first place: her money.

With Percival hounding Laura to sign documents without letting her read them first, to his friend Count Fosco spying on the two women in the woods, to the reappearance of Anne in the neighborhood, the action moves quickly. Percival turns violent and the tone of the book becomes so much darker and more desperate. Marian continues to be a pillar of strength for Laura and does all she can to get information. The last scenes in this first half were of Marian huddled on the roof in the pouring rain to hear a conversation between the Count and Percival. The very last entry I read in her journal was from Count Fosco, who read her writing to see what she knew.

At this point, I am itching to dig back in and discover the answers to my questions:
  1. What does Anne know about Sir Percival?
  2. What is UP with the Count and his wife?
  3. What will happen between Laura and Percival? more violence?
  4. When will Walter decide to come and save the woman he loves?
I am in love with Collins' writing style, and I hope you are too. I love novels that are written from multiple perspectives and this is a great example of one done well.

If you joined in and read the first half, please comment with a link to your post so I can link it here! I can't wait to see what you all thought!

April (She created a drinking game-HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?)


  1. My first post for The Woman in White read-along can be found at:


  2. Your post reminded me of how much I loved this book! Isn't Marion the best? Wilkie Collins is a genius. I'm really looking forward to reading The Moonstone sometime soon. Good luck with the second half. It just keeps getting better and the ending is brilliant!

  3. I didn't get that far into it yet, Count Fosco finds Marian's journal! GAH. Seriously, what IS up with them?? They are super creepy. I can't wait to finish this either, onward toward the end!

    Here is my post:

  4. I cannot wait to read this book and so wish I could have joined you on the readalong. I even bought a copy of the beautiful Penguin cloth hardbound edition. It is waiting for next fall. Sigh.

  5. This book is on my TBR, and I too will be buying the Penquin cloth edition. I would jump on board, but I'm starting Tale of Two Cities for my library book club. I love the whole idea of your blog endeavors.

  6. I can't wait for you to get further along with this. ALL of your questions will be answered. Unfortunately I was unable to stop at the half way point, SO I did a brief summary post and made a drinking game for The Woman In White:

    Yep, I do not regret finishing this book ahead of schedule, because it is awesome and full of the 'OH NO SHE DIDN'Ts".

  7. I have loved being a part of my very first readalong and tried to collect some thoughts on the first half:

    I am really anxious to see what the rest of the book has in store.

  8. I love the story line of this book. I just feel that it is a little slow and rambling at times. I really can't wait to find out what the real story is about Anne. Also I want to know what the the "secret" is. I really can't believe that this was how women behaved in previous centuries. Thank goodness we live today. LOL

    Love, Mom

  9. I'm really enjoying this book so much more that I expected to! Can't wait to discover the truth about Glyde's wicked past along side Marian!

  10. I'll be doing one big post at the end of the read-along but here are my thoughts so far,

    I thought this was going to be a long flowery read so I have been very surprised. Not only is it easyish to read but ts also a page turner. The atmosphere the writier has created within that house with the count is tense to say the least and I want to practically scream RUN RUN to the two women.

    Love it

  11. Am v far behind (so much so that skimmed this post to avoid spoilers) but I have some thoughts on what I have managed to read here:

    I'm absolutely loving the book, though. So much better than Dickens.

  12. I am looking forward to reading this one, as I am a Collins fan but haven't read any of his novels in quite a while. Don't know when I'll have time, but I'm excited to hear that the story is so gripping.

  13. Marian is such a fantastic character. I love Collins' writing style too. He builds the suspense beautifully.

  14. I was pretty impressed with this book. It is one of the most interesting older books that I have ever read. It kept my attention the whole way through. The characters were very in depth. A few things bothered me about this book, but mostly, it was enjoyable and different!