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!