Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Woman in White

by Wilke Collins

The Woman in White does not fail as the precursor of the modern mystery genre with it's gripping tale of an innocent woman in love with a man who is not her equal, being forced into a marriage with a greedy brute whose only interest is her inheritance. Collins weaves an absorbing story through a number of first person narratives that build upon one another revealing a spiteful wrong and the efforts at vindication through a search for that elusive woman in white.

While this is a well told and well written novel, it does fall into the traps of many Victorian classics: wordiness, melodrama and excessive description. And as with those novels, it captures the essence of British society, roles of women, inequality, rules of law and even delves into the standards and quality of medical care. In addition, many common themes are present in this story: thwarted love, inheritance, aristocracy and the class system, the delicacy of a woman's nature and the triumph of good over evil. All of these aspects Collins presents in a twisting mystery that might have you second guessing yourself.

The original story was published as a serial, which may have been a great way to read it. When Stephen King's The Green Mile was first released, it was done in this manner and I could hardly wait each month for the next segments publication; it was great!

This would be perfect to read by the pool this summer and you can download it free from Amazon.

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