The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (21- )

I think that Wilkie Collins is an admirable mystery writer. I am glad that I read Collins’ The Woman in White. I really liked The Woman in White! And yet, at the end I was a little disappointed. I was swept up by the first ¾ of the book, but then found that the last ¼ dragged on for me. I feel like Collins went to great pains to tie up every lose end possible in the story which I felt was somehow detrimental to the novel as a whole. Nothing was left to the reader’s imagination. There was no lurking shadow of suspense like I still felt at the end of Rebecca. Collins purposely uses the various narrators to bring the reader very close to the mystery and yet doesn’t seem to give the reader enough credit for being able to use that technique to solve some things on their own. I was also not fond of the story line at the end that revealed Count Fosco, as I understand it, to be some sort of a mole inside a secret European society. Perhaps this is because I was unpleasantly reminded of certain contemporary authors’ more recent obsessions with these sorts of societies in their writing.
Another observation about English novels from the 1800s: I am bothered by the gentlemen of a certain title or class in this society, like Sir Percival – who appeared to rely on the earnings of his family estate to survive financially, as they frolic aimlessly through life. Why did society not require these men to have a real occupation, especially when they were sometimes facing financial ruin? How could these people occupy themselves day in and day out, year after year? No wonder they designed intricate plots of conspiracy and matchmaking and such…they were no doubt bored out of their minds half of the time.
Favorite Character: Marian!! Her section of narration was also my favorite. She was certainly a woman before her time. I can understand why Count Fosco was so attracted to her. And, I have to say that Mr. Fairlie also entertained me despite his nervous condition having gotten on my nerves.

Wilkie Collins 1824-1889

Favorite Quote: “I left yesterday to decide … and yesterday has decided. It is too late to go back.” Miss Laura Fairlie
 

2 thoughts on “The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (21- )

  1. The Count Fosco secret society plot line didn't bother me, but it was completely random.

    My favorite character was Marian too! She is wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how she was portrayed as intelligent, independent, and content with her situation and not as a bitter spinster.

    Sorry the last quarter ruined it for you.

  2. I think your criticisms ar completely fair ones. The Count thing didn't bother me but I did think Laura was a little 'wet'.

    Iteresting what you said about men in that society relying on their incomes because I thought the same thing when reading Edith Wharton when reading about NY high society during that time! In her book The Custom of the Country there is a character who did start to train to be a lawyer but then his parents took him out because they thought that he wasnt really the working type and that he should ust live off the family fortune!

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