Sunday, April 19, 2009

Project 365 Sun 19 Apr 09

I just finished The Woman in White, and I'd recommend it to everybody. My review: definitely an 8/10.

The version of the novel lent to me by a workmate, Gerry.

This is the plot in brief and stolen (in the main) from Wikipedia: A poor art master is employed to teach two young women, and falls in love with one of them Laura. His feelings are returned, but Laura marries another, and she and her half-sister are then caught up in her new husband's plot to steal her fortune and identity. Laura is stripped of her name and money, and almost of her sanity, but is rescued by Marian and protected by the faithful Hartright. He and Marian battle to expose the fraud and reclaim Laura's identity, fortune and position in society. Throughout the story they encounter a mysterious woman in white, whose own sad story seems entangled with those of Laura and her husband, and who plays a crucial role in the novel's main events.

Collins is considered the first mystery writer and this novel is extremely well done. The characters are wonderfully created and written. The heroine is suitably beautiful and compliant, the husband sinister and brutish, the hero resourceful and determined.

I was absolutely completely taken in by the artful suspense, and with the mystery. And with Wilkie Collins' novels, generally, I couldn't guess the mystery.

An excerpt from the story; the villanous husband has been awful to the heroine and tells her sister about the husband for the first time.

But that was only until about 80% of the way through the story when the mystery was revealed. After that I stopped being so interested. Then I felt as though we were all just going through the motions to tie up the loose ends so everybody could live happily ever after. To anybody planning to write a mystery, it must be a mystery to the end ... Agatha Christie understood that and did it so well.

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