Friday, August 22, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

First line:"This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve."

I've really waited too long to write a proper review for The Woman in White. I found it difficult to write a synopsis because the plot is quite intricate, and I didn't take very many notes while reading this large tome. So I offer up a few comments that might provide a small sense of the novel and act as a reminder to my future self that I did indeed read it even though I can't remember a thing about it!

Collins has written strongly developed characters, an intricate and well developed plot, a clever use of narrative, and a wonderfully suspenseful novel. All of these elements, plus the social critique that runs throughout, kept me reading this 600+ page book. The Victorian melodrama was a bit much, but the positives more than compensated for my low tolerance for melodrama.

Favorite quote: "The best men are not consistent in good -- why should the worst men be consistent in evil?"
This quote refers to the villainous Count Fosco, one of the most disturbing characters in literature.

Interesting tidbit: The novel is believed to be loosely based on an actual court case.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Note to other reviewers: If you've written a review for this book, please let me know by posting the permanent URL for your review in the comments. I'll be happy to add a link to your review with my post.

Also reviewed at:
Bookfest (Queen of Carrots)
Framed and Booked (review is not quite half way down the list of 2007 book reviews)
Trish's Reading Nook
Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Literary Feline)
Things Mean a Lot (Nymeth)


  1. I've always been intrigued by this classic and I plan on getting to it eventually...I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!

  2. Thanks for the tidbit. I wished I had known that when I read this book. I really enjoyed it and agree with you about the characters. At least Count Fosco had the best taste in women.

  3. I am looking forward to reading this one. Your favorite quote from the book is so true! Great review, Terri.

  4. I have this sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Our bookclub, Bookfest (online) read it last year. Here was the review:

  5. The book club I belong to read this book a few years back, so unfortunately I do not have a review posted, but I have listed this book as one of my all-time favorites (a top 10). And yet, I've yet to read any of Collins' other works, though I've heard they are equally as good.

    I enjoyed your comments. If you like Collins you might enjoy Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret.

    PS. I found your blog via Semicolon's Sat Review.

  6. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now! I read The Moonstone by Collins a few years ago and really enjoyed it, but I've heard this one is better.

  7. To follow up on your comment left the other day -- yeah I am surprised at how many of my favorite Agatha Christie novels are virtual unknowns today. It seems only her later works have reached the height of popularity. I've really enjoyed reading some of her lesser known works.

  8. I must read this book - I've been hearing so for ages, but just still haven't gotten around to it.