29 September 2007

Review: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I started The Woman in White about about two months ago, but I didn't finish it until two weeks ago. It took me a bit to get into, in part because of the move, but once I did, I just couldn't stop reading. It felt like my teenage summers when I would stay up all night reading books because I just couldn't stop. The only difference was that I only stayed up really late one night, and it was a Saturday when I didn't have to go to church until 1 the next day.

The book is basically a mystery, a pretty intricate one. Throughout the story, this mysterious woman who only ever dresses in white continues to appear. I really can't go too much into the story, without giving too many things away, but the story is about a drawing instructor and his two students. The drawing instructor, Walter Hartright, is a young man, and his two students are young women. The two students, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe, are orphaned half-sisters who live with Laura's decrepit and ill-mannered uncle. Walter soon falls in love with Laura, the beautiful sister.

I found the writing to be completely engaging. The speaker changes throughout the book, beginning with Walter and then changing voices several times. That kept the plot moving along nicely, and made me feel like there wasn't some omniscient speaker who had all the answers. Sometimes I really hate those omniscient speakers because I just want them to tell me what on earth was happening. Because of the several speakers in the book, I felt like I was following the plot at the same time the characters were living it.

I also really loved the characters, even the bad ones. I found them completely intriguing, particularly Count Fosco. But mostly, I lovedLovedLOVED Marian. So much so that when I finished the book, I told Eric that we should name one of our daughters Marian. After all, both of his grandmothers are named Marian. (I was not deterred when I found out that one of his cousins just named her daughter Marian. I still like the name, and I don't care WHO else has it. Besides, second cousins is far enough apart.)

I highly recommend The Woman in White. It was one of my favorite books I've ever read.

1 comment:

Noelle said...

I'm not sure you remember me super well, but I know we studied together once or twice for Spanish Intensive and I know your roommate, Janssen. Anyway. I've been reading your blog, just so you know. :) And I wanted to comment on this because I read this book a few years ago while studying in London. We even got to go see Andrew Lloyd Weber's new production on the West End. Michael Crawford was playing Count Fosco and it was awesome! I'm glad you liked it!