The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

Book # 880

Reviewer: Ange – Tall, Short, Tiny & a Pickle

TWiWThe Woman in White, published in the 1850s, is considered one of the earliest mystery novels published. It is a story wrought with danger and intrigue, mystery and deception. It is a detective story and a love story, with the twists and turns one would expect from any modern-day thriller.

I’m not one for giving away huge plot details, but especially not with a story such as this where the reader waits for everything to unfold. There are moments where the plotline is rather predictable, but not in a way that had me rolling my eyes; instead, I hurriedly turned page after page, eager to discover how thing unfolded for the characters.

Without spoiling anything (I hope!), the novel is about a young art teacher who, on his way to begin some private tuition, helps a woman dressed in white. When he arrives at his posting, he is struck by the similarity between the woman in white, and his student. The tutor and his student fall in love, but she has been promised to another man; they marry and the reader soon learns some disagreeable facts about her new husband. As the identity of the woman in white is slowly revealed, the plot thickens around her young lookalike and her new husband, and assorted other characters of similar unsavoury natures.

The story features an escape from a lunatic asylum, a dramatic church fire, identity switches, and tragic deaths – all the features of a good mystery or thriller novel.

I’m a big fan of writers from this era, and this, my first Wilkie Collins novel, did not disappoint. Full of characteristic and dramatic descriptive passages, and passionate, dramatic characters, The Woman in White is a compelling and intriguing read. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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