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No Name

4.5 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Collins's 1862 novel offers up the fate of Magdalen Vanstone, an illegitimate child who struggles to reclaim her dignity after falling from grace in Victorian society.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

“A relatively unknown masterpiece.”
The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 506 pages
  • Publisher: FQ Books (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YJFKDG
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,982,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wilkie Collins is known primarily for two novels: 'The Woman in White' and 'The Moonstone'. Both novels are indeed quite enjoyable. However I found them to be very different, and almost "unbalanced". 'The Woman in White' is a complex novel, a rollercoaster of plot-twists at a hysterical pace. On the other hand, 'The Moonstone' is a slow-paced mystery which moves towards a satisfying conclusion. 'No Name' fits nicely in between.
'No Name' is a story about how two sisters go on different paths on coming to terms with life after being mistreated by a cruel twist of fate, and being the victim of inhumane Victorian-era society (and its laws). The elder sister carries on without mishap, while the younger sister seeks justice at any expense ... to the extent of performing unethical and criminal activities herself. While seeking justice she encounters some rather equally cunning individuals (..another woman in particular), and the story unfolds into a battle of who can outfox whom. And it becomes abundantly clear that the person viewed initially as the victim is actually very cruel.
Finally, I have to recommend the Penguin Classic version of this novel for one simple reason: its cover is great. It is a painting of a young woman ("Miss Dene") who has such a sad, reflective expression on her face that one feels she is indeed the poor, suffering (yet malicious) younger sister Magdalen.
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Format: Paperback
4 1/2 stars, but I rounded up.

No Name is the story and portrait of Magdalen Vanstone... or as Wilkie introduces his novel in the preface, "Here is one more book that depicts the struggle of a human creature, under those opposing influences of Good and Evil, which we have all felt, which we have all known." It's a fairly accurate description as throughout the course of the story, we see the evolution of the character of our heroine; we see her heading down a shady path, but yet somehow from a 21st century perspective, Magdalen manages to make it seem not so immoral. Often times I see her trying to act as morally as she can in the unmoral situations she chooses to involve herself in. Part of No Name's strength, arises from the deftness in which Collins creates Magdalen. She posseses such an enormous range in character and emotion that if No Name were ever to be made into a movie, actresses would vie to have her role.

When Magdalen and her sister's inheritance are taken away due to unexpected familial circumstances, Magdalen resolutely follows a reckless path of revenge. While not exactly your Victorian equivalent of your "Kill Bill," the novel seems closer in spirit to Alexander Dumas's novel: The Count of Monte Cristo. Of course it doesn't have the swashbuckling quality of Dumas's novel as there are no fight scenes to the death. Collins's novel is set in a domestic scene with a female protagonist and the action is far tamer. It is equally gripping though because it's the chase of the revenge that's the fun part; the deceit and swindling involved, the careful measuring of your enemy's abilities that is part of charm.
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Format: Paperback
Wilkie Collins holds a unique spot among the Victorian novelists. His intricate plots don't dawdle -- they move, with cliffhangers throughout. And, he has a remarkably clear writing style that makes his works almost as accessible as those of a modern thriller writer. "No Name" has both plots galore and clarity, along with deeper character sketches than "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone". I rate it slightly below its more famous siblings because of a) the ending -- which was rather too contrived, even for Collins -- and b) a bit too much melodrama as Magdalen approaches her nuptials. To potential first time Collins readers, I recommend starting with "The Moonstone" and then moving to "The Woman in White". If you enjoy these, you should definitely proceed to "No Name".
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Format: Paperback
This is the best-plotted book I have ever read. The intricacies of the ingenious cat-and-mouse game kept me unable to put the book down (despite its length, and my general impatience as a slow reader). Unlike other books I've read by Collins, this one is also extremely funny, largely because of one character who is an incredible rascal and scoundrel. This is really one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever found.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is set in the 1840's and I beleive it was written about that time too. It is an interesting story about 2 wealthy sisters and their life struggles. A lot of twists and turns and some fabulous old descriptive words used - you will use the dictionary feature on almost every page!

The story is long winded at times, sometimes over descriptive, but I could not put this one down, the characters were wonderful and they were described in great detail. It is a long story that will take you a while to get through, it has many twists and turns and sometimes you will not know where it is heading. I enjoyed every minute of it and I 'bonded' so much with the characters that I can see them in my head now. Captain Wragge and his 'party coloured eyes' makes your imagination work to its fullest.The language used and the character development make this a story that will stay with you for a long while to come.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Jane Eyre type stories AND IT WAS FREE!
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