Writers: Wilkie Collins

  • Lucy Barnes

    The Woman in White

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    'The Woman in White' is a rollicking read. Before I began the book I mistakenly believed it to be a ghost story, but whilst there are shocks and thrills aplenty, the horror is all man-made. A strong flavour of the supernatural runs through much of the novel -- this is brilliant mid-Victorian 'sensation' fiction, and Collins is adept at making the reader feel as though she is experiencing the same emotions of fright, confusion and fear as the various characters. The shifting first-person narrative works particularly well in this regard; it is also a brilliant technique for restricting the reader's knowledge of various key facts, thus maintaining a strong sense of mystery. Collins was a good friend and colleague of Charles Dickens and a few of his characters have a strong Dickensian flavour, particularly the sickly, loathsome Mr Fairlie; the widow Mrs Catherick (who is determined to receive a bow from every clergyman in her village); and the sinister, bon-bon-eating villain, Count Fos...'The Woman in White' is a rollicking read. Before I began the book I mistakenly believed it to be a ghost story, but whilst there are shocks and thrills aplenty, the horror is all man-made. A strong flavour of the supernatural runs through much of the novel -- this is brilliant mid-Victorian 'sensation' fiction, and Collins is adept at making the reader feel as though she is experiencing the same emotions of fright, confusion and fear as the various characters. The shifting first-person narrative works particularly well in this regard; it is also a brilliant technique for restricting the reader's knowledge of various key facts, thus maintaining a strong sense of mystery. Collins was a good friend and colleague of Charles Dickens and a few of his characters have a strong Dickensian flavour, particularly the sickly, loathsome Mr Fairlie; the widow Mrs Catherick (who is determined to receive a bow from every clergyman in her village); and the sinister, bon-bon-eating villain, Count Fosco. This novel plays interestingly with some of the tropes of Gothic fiction as well as with conventional gender roles, and it is an essential read for any student of nineteenth-century fiction. Most importantly, it is a classic page-turner that will keep you reading well into the night. (more)

  • Steph Richmond

    5 stars well earned

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    A breakthrough in detective fiction, this is where it all started. A must read. Brilliant.

  • Steph Richmond

    Where it all began

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    One of the finest and the original detective novel, of course its good it spawned a complete genre. A fantastic read.

Average Book Rating

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