Friday, January 28, 2011

The Woman in White Readalong: Post 2.

Welcome to the second post (of two) for Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White readalong hosted here at A Literary Odyssey. If you missed the first posts over the first half of the book a couple weeks ago, you can go here to read my thoughts, as well as seeing links to the other participants' posts.

Now, can I gush about this book without anyone being offended? Because if you're going to get offended by my fan-girldom, you should probably just not read this.

I am kind of in love with this book. At first I wasn't so sure where Collins was going and what the point of all the mystery was, but as the novel went further in, the narrators changed, and the story progress, I found myself to be a part of this novel.

I think it all comes back to the way that Collins approached the telling of the tale. By having different narrators giving us the pieces of the story, we felt we were closer to the action. Not once were we really away from what was happening, as can often occur in a novel with one voice telling us the story. It also allowed us to become closer to certain characters. My favorite was by far Marian Halcombe. I loved her kick butt, take no prisoner attitude in the entire book, as well as the way she took care of Laura. Laura grew on me, but I still think Hartwright picked the wrong girl.

By far, however, was the power of the mystery and the unfolding of the clues. That is what kept me hooked to the story and the progression of events. As Hartwright begins to put together the pieces of how Laura was trapped, I found myself trying not to count how many pages were left until I got my answer to the mystery. THAT is wonderful storytelling.

I also love that Sir Percival, while an evil mean little man, came no where close to the villainy and corruption that was embodied in Count Fosco. What an evil, evil man. The pages of his "confession" thrilled and disturbed me. His flippant manner towards his scheme and desires to get his hands on Laura's money were incredibly disturbing. And his obsession with Marian bothered me like no other.

By the end of the novel, I was as drained as the characters by the ordeal they endured. I cannot imagine that horrors of having your identity stolen in that time period. I am grateful for our level of technology now that situations like this can be fixed in a much easier way!

But Collins surely is a mastermind. It is hard to believe that he was a contemporary of Dickens! After reading Bleak House in the fall, this novel felt like it read so much quicker and smoother (yes it was a little shorter), but they were written around the same time period. I think I much prefer Collins and look forward to reading more of his work in the future (I hope you think so too!)

If you participated and posted on this second half, please leave a link here so I can link to your post for others' to read. I also want to remind you that if you completed the readalong, I need your e-mail so I can discuss a special "prize" for participating!



  1. I can't wait to read this one. It's been on my TBR list for years. I just finished reading Drood, which is a novel with both Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. Funny as it seems, they're more like frenemies--competitive, snide, sarcastic and perpetually suspicious of one another. The book refers constantly to The Woman in White and The Moonstone. It gives away enough of the plot to get you interested in reading his works, so I'm ready to download it to my kindle app. Glad you liked it. Collins has always been in the shadow of Dickens.

  2. I also really loved the book. Marion actually reminds me of us a little bit, probably why we like her so much.

    Anyways, I felt Laura was just to soft in the story. You can have a weak character, but it kind of drove me nuts with how complacent she was.

    The Count was really a nasty and evil old man. What's amazing is there really are some evil people out there who get their jolly's so to speak making others miserable. To actually read about one and how he cherished what he did, makes you wonder about the "bad" people you hear about on the news. Do they feel the same way? Actually a good insight to that character's mind.

    When I think of the time period and all the restrictions on women, I'm so much happier that I live today. It really is those restrictions though that make the stories that are set in this time period so interesting.

    I'm so glad that Hartwright came back and cleared up the whole mess. I feel like he redeemed himself in my mind. The way he left in the beginning bothered me.

    Good book Allie, glad I joined in.

    Love, Mom

  3. I loved this, and have already ordered a copy of The Moonstone to be my next Collins read. It probably won't be for awhile but I am excited for it. In the meantime... time to dig into Dickens for the Feb readalong!

    A link to my second post ^

    my e-mail is strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks so much for hosting this readalong Allie, it was my first experience and great fun.

  4. Hi Allie

    Loved participating in this, here's my link to my second post:

    My email is, but I'm afraid since I live in Australia I may not be eligible. If I'm not, no need to email me :)

    Bring on Oliver Twist!

  5. We are so lucky to have DNA testing available today to prove identity. Sometimes I forget how new this science really wasn't even an option in the year I was born let alone in the 1800s. Can you imagine finding yourself locked in a psychiatric institution where no one will believe you are not the person they say you are because everyone there, naturally, just assumes you are delusional? This would be one of my worst nightmares! I think this book should be made into a movie. My second post can be found at:

  6. Oh, I e-mail is:

  7. Thanks so much for hosting this and getting me back on the Vixtorian novel.

    My review is here

    e-mail is seapaper80 at yahoo dot com

  8. You know I struggled a bit with this book, but I definitely agree that it's hard to imagine Collins & Dickens as contemporaries. In fact, if I had to suggest a 19th century read for someone, I would probably refer them to Collins.

    Hartwright *did* choose the wrong girl. Laura was so hopeless to me. She'd be the type of girl that i'd roll my eyes at and repeated say, "Are you kidding me?" Oh and as much as the brother would be infuriating in real like, his sections cracked me up with his melodrama.

    My post should be going up on Monday!

  9. I finished! Totally agree about Count Fosco, especially with his Marian obsession. Weird stuff. I really liked the change of narrators too, though I remember reading that Collins got a lot of flack from critics for this device (and for the whole book, but WHATEVS critics).

    Here's my post:

  10. I still need to read this, and all your posts and the comments are really pushing me to read it--soon! I've read The Moonstone, which I loved. I see you have that on your list also--if you're gushing about The Woman in White, I would imagine you'll love that one as well.

  11. Hm, I apparently didn't leave an email. tahleen[dot]ovian[at]gmail[dot]com

  12. The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins was published as a newspaper serial in 1859. In 1860 a collected edition of the chapters was published in book form. The fictional story is considered to be one of the first mystery novels, as well as one of the finest.

  13. God bless you for reading Bleak House lol, I could not finish it. On the other hand, I loved this book! I stumbled across both for a class I'm taking dealing with Victorian fiction. Supposedly, Wilkie Collins and his novels were highly frowned upon as they preached to the "nerves" and didn't provide any real intellectual value. So basically, they were fun to read haha. Victorian literature was and is widely known for realism and Collins and his works were therefore categorized as sensation fiction. Sorry for being an encyclopedia lol, I just really loved this book so I tend to blab. :)Plus I find how people interpreted this book quite interesting.