Author: Wilkie Collins
Title: The Woman in White
Description (source): Who is the mysterious woman in white who appears to the drawing instructor late one night? From whom is she fleeing? How is she connected with the woman the drawing instructor loves but cannot marry? And above all, what is up with the mysterious Count Fosco?
Review source: This was a free kindle book because it’s in the public domain.
Plot: The book was a little difficult to get started in, but once the woman in white appears, only a few pages in, things start to move quickly. There are some fairly unbelievable coincidences, but that’s what makes fiction fun.
Characters: The book is narrated by Walter Hartright, a drawing instructor. He and the “good guys” (his students Laura and Marion) are pretty tame, but I loved the villains, especially Count Fosco, who keeps mice and songbirds.
Writing style: Collins has been compared with Dickens, so definitely 19th-century diction—we would call it wordy, maybe, if it were published today. I did find myself getting impatient with it a few times, but mostly the plot really kept the down arrow pushing (modern equivalent of pages turning).
Audience: People who aren’t afraid of the classics. Collins shares with Poe the title of being one of the first authors of detective fiction, and while this isn’t exactly within the mystery genre (more like gothic), there is an element of detection in it.
Wrap-up: This was a long book, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and couldn’t stand to put it down for long. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you haven’t yet discovered Wilkie Collins. 4.5/5*