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The Woman in White (musical tie-in) (Penguin Summer Classics) by Trevor Nunn,Wilkie Collins
  • Author: Trevor Nunn,Wilkie Collins
  • Title: The Woman in White (musical tie-in) (Penguin Summer Classics)
  • Size PDF ver: 1902 kb
  • Size ePUB ver: 1192 kb
  • Size Fb2 ver: 1887 kb
  • ISBN: 0141020318
  • ISBN13: 978-0141020310
  • Pages: 640
  • Other formats: lrf txt rtf mobi
  • Category: Literature & Fiction
  • Subcat: Classics
  • Language: English
  • Rating: 4.3 of 5
  • Votes: 906
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 4, 2005)
  • Hardcover: Here
The Woman in White (musical tie-in) (Penguin Summer Classics)
The Woman In White--now a dazzling new musical by the incomparable Andrew Lloyd Webber

Wilkie Collins’s sensational tale of madness, betrayal, and greed, The Woman in White, is thrilling its West End audiences at the magnificent Palace Theatre in London—and is coming to Broadway in the future. Since its original publication in 1860, the novel has never been out of print, and this suspenseful classic is now brought to life by a brilliant international ensemble, including the sublime Maria Friedman and Michael Crawford as the diabolical Count Fosco.

Reviews num: (7)

Often considered one of the first mystery novels, The Woman In White follows protagonist Walter Hartright, an art teacher, as he has a mysterious late night encounter on a London street with a lost woman, dressed all in white, who he later finds out had escaped from an asylum. The figure of this woman and the words they exchanged during their meeting come to haunt Walter, even as he accepts a job at Limmeridge House outside of London to instruct heiress Laura Farlie in art. Walter soon recognizes the astonishing resemblance between Laura and The Woman In White, and finds out that the mystery woman also used to live near Limmeridge and has connections to the Farlie family. You’ll have to read further to see how the story progresses, but the plot is quite complex, twisting and turning with elements of unrequited love, unhappy marriages, murder plots and overall very shady dealings.

What I Liked
One of the main characters in the novel is Laura Farlie’s devoted half-sister and friend, Marion Halcombe. Marion and Walter act intermittently as the principal investigators of the mystery on which the novel is based, as they essentially ask and try to answer the very questions the reader is also wondering. I found Marion’s character in particular to be a very likeable one. She’s much more adventurous, proactive and strong than Laura, who is a bit of a damsel in distress throughout the novel. I also found Marion to be more likeable than Walter, because she’s more rational and less romantic. I essentially found her to be most like myself, simply wanting to uncover the truth and also to protect her friend in the difficult and even dangerous situations in which Laura finds herself.

I really appreciated the complexity with which the novel dealt with the themes of women’s inequality and lack of options in those times. The contrasting characters of Marion and Laura are the vehicles through which Collins addresses these issues. Marion is strong, opinionated and individualistic, but as she is not beautiful in a conventional sense and has no independent means, she’s very restricted in her ability to remove herself and Laura from harmful situations. For her part, Laura has beauty and a large inheritance, but her subservient, soft and yielding temperament is easily manipulated by others and she quickly loses her freedom to an unhappy marriage.

The plot of the novel overall was expertly written to keep the suspense and mystery going throughout, despite its over 700 pages. There were several twists to the narrative and the old English manor setting for most of the novel provided an optimal bleak and dreary backdrop. I was legitimately scared for the novel’s heroines Marion and Laura from the second half of the novel onwards, and I kept turning the page to see what else would happen to them or what more would be revealed about their antagonist’s intentions. Overall, it was a very captivating read, and I also really liked Collins’ technique of designating different narrators for different sections of the novel, as though they were retelling their recollections of what happened as witnesses before a court of law.

What I Didn’t Like
Without spoiling anything, there were two very evil male figures in the novel, who I felt were somewhat overly caricatured and at times not very believable. Towards the end of the novel one of the figures is also said to be involved with politics in a way that I think was kind of unnecessary to the plot – a bit thrown in there. At times, it was also hard to believe that Laura herself could be as passive as she was in the face of some of the circumstances she faced.

Final Verdict
A tragic, haunting tale about mistaken identities, unbelievable selfishness and cruelty, bust also true love and persevering friendship. A true classic.
I never expected to love this book as much as I did and I'm so happy I tried it. It's a long one, so be prepared for that. Be prepared, also, for twists and turns and that slam you feel when you thought you knew what was going on and had it all figured out and you got the rug pulled out from under you!

This was written in that grand style English that you just don't find in modern literature. I adore reading it, and if you love the classics, and a good mystery, then this is for you. These people came from a different time, and what was considered a huge scandal years and years ago wouldn't raise an eyebrow today, so keep that in mind as you read. This is truly a different world. But, human nature is fairly consistent, and you will recognize in these characters, people you have read in more modern tomes, or even people you know yourself. They are well developed, complex characters that I enjoyed immensely. I love the dramatic swooning...the formal language...and a time in history when restraint was a highly regarded quality.

This Kindle edition was free...and won't cost you anything to give it a go. I'm sure you will be as engrossed as I was.
I'd never heard of Wilkie Collins before I got my Kindle. In searching out free classics, I of course found a number of references to this classic mystery. I inferred from the title that the woman in white was a ghost (who knows why!) so fully expected some specter to rise out of the misty moors. Instead, I was surprised to find myself in the grip of a diabolical and tragic tale told by several different and distinct voices. While a tad overlong - why use one word when you can use six? - my thumb rarely left the Next Page button. I had no desire to 'cheat' on Walter, Laura, Marion, Anne, the Baronet and Fosco with another book, and in fact could barely put down my Kindle until I could no longer keep my eyes open in the wee hours of the night. Collins was a genius at keeping the reader guessing, which I did throughout. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Collins read my thoughts and threw me a curveball. And though the language is very old-fashioned and formal - think 19th century England - I had few troubles figuring out the odd unfamiliar phrase. Of course, it was tough not to chuckle at the quaint and genteel 'evils' that seem so commonplace today, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. If anything, it added to it. After reading - and thoroughly enjoying - The Woman in White, I can clearly understand why this classic has endured.

A note on Kindle formatting: I have seen reviews of other Kindle freebies that were badly formatted and/or edited, but that was not the case with this book. Not only were there few (if any) typos, the formatting was quite readable. The one addition I would have liked is a linked table of contents. If you find a 99 cent version that boasts such a TOC, I'd recommend buying it instead of downloading it for free as I would have like to have looked back at different characters' accounts after reading them.

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