The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is a great (and lengthy) summer mystery read. Walter Hartright, a struggling artist, is about to begin a new career as a tutor to half-sisters Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie. Just before he leaves London for Cumberland, he encounters a mysterious ‘woman in white,’ in evident distress. I won’t reveal too much more of the plot, but this 1859 novel deals with powerlessness (of women in particular) in the face of injustice. Have any of you read Collins before? (I also really liked The Moonstone). What do you think?
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I fell in love with Wilkie Collins when I read The Woman in White for a Victorian novel class a couple of years ago. Since then I’ve read several more of his works. I think my favorites so far are Man and Wife and Law and the Lady. I really enjoy the fact that Collins created so many strong, interesting female characters.
I’m glad you liked it too Stephanie! After reading the Moonstone recently, I tried to learn a bit more about Collins’s history. He had a pretty unconventional personal life (though brother-in-law to the more conservative Charles Dickens, he never married and had several prominent affairs). But I do think his characterizations and style are accessible to the modern reader, despite him being very popular with a Victorian audience. I’ll have to read Man and Wife and Law and the Lady.