Title: The Woman in White
Author: Wilkie Collins
Genre: Fiction – Mystery/Thriller
Publication Date: 1860
Purchase Price: $7.95 (paperback)
Gothic Reading Challenge
Finally managed to read a book that was on my original Gothic Reading Challenge list, and boy was it a doozie! Check out The Woman in White.
Walter Hartright’s family is extremely happy when Walter is offered a job teaching drawing and painting to two sisters. But for Walter a strange feeling of foreboding lurks around the offer — a feeling that is confirmed when a mysterious Woman in White appears on the road to London (in the middle of the night, no less).
Despite his fear, Walter travels to Limmeridge to take up his duties as instructor. Little does he know that his sense of foreboding was but a pale imitation of the horrors to come.
Collins was able to keep the suspense going for a ludicrous 564 pages. I thought the book would end with the discovery of the identity of the Woman in white, but that actually happens fairly early on. I thought that [plot point redacted] would mean the end of the book; same with [plot point redacted], [plot point redacted], and [plot point redacted]. But the suspense kept building and building, and it seemed as if nothing would ever be resolved.
A couple of the elements were predictable (or at least I saw them coming from a mile away), but there were several plot twists that caught me by surprise and left me gaping.
A little long overall maybe, but definitely worth reading.
The Gothic element
Oozing from every page. Mysterious disappearances and disguises, damsels in distress, shadowy figures and murky pasts — they’re all there, and it’s awesome.
“There, in the middle of the broad, bright high-road–there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven–stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments; her face bent in grave inquiry on mine, her hand pointing to the dark cloud over London, as I faced her.” (p. 14)
“Some of us rush through life; and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey sat through life…a mild, a compliant, and unutterably tranquil and harmless old lady, who never by any chance suggested the idea that she had been actually alive since the hour of her birth.” (p. 37)
“No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman.” (p. 126)
Anyone else read this one? What did you think?