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The Woman in White [Kindle Edition]

Wilkie Collins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (637 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $5.95
Kindle Price: $1.99
You Save: $3.96 (67%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Wilkie Collins's classic thriller took the world by storm on its first appearance in 1859, with everything from dances to perfumes to dresses named in honor of the "woman in white."  The novel's continuing fascination stems in part from a distinctive blend of melodrama, comedy, and realism; and in part from the power of its story.  
   
The catalyst for the mystery is Walter Hartright's encounter on a moonlit road with a mysterious woman dressed head to toe in white.  She is in a state of confusion and distress, and when Hartright helps her find her way back to London she warns him against an unnamed "man of rank and title."  Hartright soon learns that she may have escaped from an asylum and finds to his amazement that her story may be connected to that of the woman he secretly loves.  Collins brilliantly uses the device of multiple narrators to weave a story in which no one can be trusted, and he also famously creates, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genious.  The Woman in White is still passed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and exruciating suspense. 

Introduction by Nicholas Rance

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

 




From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble turn in stellar performances of Collins's classic, commonly regarded as the world's first mystery novel. Late one night, on the way to his new post, art teacher Walter Hartright encounters a ghostly woman dressed all in white, tending to a grave. The next day, he meets his new pupils, Laura Fairlie and her half-sister, Marian, and discovers that the sisters have mysterious ties to the woman in white. For a story told by a sequence of first-person narrators, Bailey and Prebble provide well-paced, alternating readings: Prebble's Hartright is steady, even-keeled, and sensitive; his Marian is bright and clear and blunt. Bailey's Laura is equally well rendered: kind and young, sad and sweet. The voices both narrators provide the host of other characters—including the hot-tempered Sir Percival Glyde and the devious Count Fosco—are attended with equal imagination and skill. A must-listen for mystery lovers. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

“Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit.” —Dorothy L. Sayers


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1824 KB
  • Print Length: 802 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 055321263X
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEFM6K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
277 of 279 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Mystery That Keeps You Guessing February 11, 2010
By Gazelle
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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276 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocence, Villainy and Heroism February 3, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Laura Fairly is the innocent, the young, sheltered, Victorian maiden who abides by her departed father's wishes. On his deathbed, he bids her to marry Sir Percival Glyde. Enter villainy. The grasping, frightened, short-tempered Sir Percival insists on a speedy wedding. He handily dispatches any obstacles thrown up in his path; he is damned and determined to wed Laura--and her fortune. But Laura has a sister, Marian, a strong-willed, independent, fiercely loyal sister who at first champions the marriage and then recoils once she realizes the true nature of Sir Percival. The man is a monster. And Marian will do anything to protect her sister. Heroism, and then some. There is also another, a drawing master named Walter Hartright, commissioned to teach Laura and Marian the fine art of watercolors. He falls in love with Laura, and she with him--before her marriage to Sir Percival. The drama should be obvious.

But what of the title? Who is the Woman in White? Her chance meeting with Walter Hartright on the road to London provides the catalyst upon which the entire narrative turns. She is at once and both the key and the puzzle. She is a victim. She is a harbinger. She scares Sir Percival out of his wits.

This book offers vivid portrayals of Victorian England, its mannerisms, its wardrobe, its inhibitions, its attitude. This book eerily reflects our own time, our own angst, in the 21st century. Once you read it, you'll know what I mean. Deception has no age.

P.S. Whatever you do, don't turn your back on Count Fosco!
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133 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping plot, engaging characters May 28, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in one day, a day where no classes were attended, no phone calls were taken, and no visits made. I cooked and ate my food with it in hand, and sometimes damned my inability to read faster, I was so eager to find out what was going to happen next.

"The Woman in White" is not just one of the most engaging and gripping Victorian novels I have ever read, it is one of the most engaging and gripping novels of all time. Collins creates vivid, memorable characters (ranging from brave intelligent Marian to the surprising and sinister Count Fosco) who are engaged in a plot that twists and turns like nothing else. There are so many unexpected, even shocking incidents, and Collins moves between them with exactingly precise yet graceful and beautiful prose. Not only that, his narrative style, which moves from character to character, allows for fantastic comic interludes which break up the drama (the chapter from the point of view of the hypochondriac uncle is gut-bustingly funny).

A couple of people I know, who are generally not fond of 19th century literature, loved this book. I have never met someone who has not been charmed by it. I strongly urge anyone and everyone to read it.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtue versus Villainy September 30, 2006
Format:Paperback
This engaging mystery pits three idealistic young people in the traps of larcenous, black-hearted villians. A mysterious woman-in-white encournters Walter Hartright, a young drawing master on his way to a new commission in the country. From then on, it seems that their fate and lives are tangled together, this woman-in-white, and Walter and his pupils Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie. At first it seemed like a lighthearted curiosity, that Marian searches for in her mother's letters, just a childhood acquaintance. The first few months at Limmeridge, the Fairlie's mansion, Walter Hartright, Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie spend a happy companionable season as drawing master and pupils, with not a worry in their heads but the beautiful nature scenes, walks in the gardens and contemplation of the blue sky. That is, until Laura's impending marriage to Sir Percival Glyde draws a gloomy end to their idyllic days. From then on, the pace quickens as the woman-in-white first sends a letter of warning to Laura, and then later, lurks around attempting to deliver a Secret to Laura, only to be foiled by the maneuverings of an elderly corpulent Count who has allied himself with Sir Percival Glyde.

Laura becomes the victim, Walter the absent hero, and it is all up to Marian, the lion-hearted defender of her sister, who stands as protector, investigator, and emotional supporter to Laura, that is until tragic circumstances force their separation. Just when things seem the darkest, a surprising twist grabs the reader for a rousing finale that carries Walter incognito from Central America to London to Blackwater Park to Cumberland to Welmingham to an old church where the "Secret" of Sir Percival Glyde is revealed and wickedness is recompensed.

A guaranteed page-turner that will keep you up way past your bedtime. Everything is explained at the end, except for the reason that Laura's late father wanted her to marry Percival Glyde in the first place.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not yet finished but good read so far
Not yet finished but good read so far. Big book and slow reading as language is old fashioned, never uses one word when 5 will do. Very nice illustrations as well.
Published 1 day ago by John B. Quinlan
2.0 out of 5 stars One is more than enough
Reasonably entertaining but lightweight. Too many improbable situations. Don't regret reading it but one Wilkie Collins novel will be enough for this reader.
Published 1 day ago by Michael Kirke
5.0 out of 5 stars Cozy classic mystery
The characters were interesting and varied. The mystery was refreshingly not blood and guts but intriguing . The ending was satisfying which is what I look for in a mystery.
Published 2 days ago by patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it!
Published 3 days ago by J. Heuvel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic. Very well written.
Published 5 days ago by Wizzy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Star Historical Mystery
Good historical mystery that kept my interest. Some interesting subplots that all came together with the characters. Well written.
Published 5 days ago by Joanne A, Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Story Line
Story line was interesting, and I generally liked this book. Only problem was that there were too many words, although of course (like Mozart) the question would be which ones to... Read more
Published 7 days ago by John D Wood
4.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy Victorian novels
If you enjoy Victorian novels, then this is a must-read. Although wordy at times (as Victorian novels can be), the mystery is compelling and the characters intriguing. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jessica
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was a gift for granddaughter
Published 10 days ago by Shirley OBrien
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
overall well written and interesting but a bit tedious at times...
Published 11 days ago by cosmo
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