Monday, 11 March 2013

Book Review - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

This is by far the most sinister and disturbing book I have ever read, it's only possible rival being Sister by Rosamund Lupton.

I found it all the more sinister because nothing overtly terrible happens for well over half of the book.  There are hints of deception and terror but nothing concrete.  You know something is going on but can come up with seven different scenarios of what that might be and are not at all convinced that you might not just be imagining things.

I started to read it while on holiday and I had to stop.  It gave me bad dreams.  Really bad dreams, the kind where you wake up sobbing and are terrified to go back to sleep.  My brain does not cope well with suspense!

However after clearing my nightmares with a read of Heidi (nothing like fresh mountain air to heal all troubles)  I returned to the woman in white and finally found some sort of relief (strange as it might seem) due to a character's death.

Finally something bad had happened and I could stop worrying about when it would!  From this point on the story advanced quite speedily, in an expected direction, with just a couple of surprises thrown in.  It has quite a nice resolution but does seem to hurry to a close after all the time and effort put in to the build up.

The story is presented in a very interesting way as accounts written by a number of people concerned in the matter, including family, servants, doctors, and the ever present drawing master Walter Hartright.  Each character is defined very clearly and separately through their own manner and style of writing, demonstrating quite clearly the talents of the author.  However at times I found this a little difficult as the writing style varied so drastically the reader has to adapt their mode of reading, not something I am used to doing in the middle of a story, and some of the characters, due to their style, have a very flamboyant mode of writing.

Overall, I enjoyed The Woman in White, a lot.  Although it is easy to say that now having resolved the dreadful suspense that plagued me!  I definitely intend to read some more of Wilkie Collins' work and as my first vintage mystery read I am very pleased.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is the first of eight books I have committed to reading as part of the Vintage Mystery Challenge.


  1. One down seven more to go. Hope they all aren't as emotion as this one.


  2. I often get book hangovgers which happens if I get so attached to the characters in the book but never anything over the suspence of a book, not yet anyway!
    I have ummed & ahhed about reading this book myself, now I think you have swayed me to give it a go.

    1. I'm glad I read it so would recommend giving it a try. I get separation sadness when I finish a great book, particularly if it is the last of a series. I remember when I first read through the Mallory Towers books I was so sad to finish then and think that I would see Darrell and her friends any more!

  3. I've only read one of his books, The Moonstone, and I loved it more than I thought I would. I had tried reading it once before, and gave up, but I knew it was a book I would like. I picked it up almost two years later and fell in love with it.

    I really do want to read this one at somepoint, hopefully this year.

    Great review.

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting :-) I've heard good things about the Moonstone so is definitely on my 'to read' list. May need to take some time to strengthen my mental defences first though if it's anything like this one.


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