The woman in White

Title: The woman in white
Author: Wilkie Collins
Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN: 0-141-43961-0
Pages: 627
Year: 1860

Walter Hartright, a simple drawing master by heart, accepted the teachers position at Limmeridge House. He expected a nice job with a fine pay to add to his low-income, not a mysterious and dark secret.
The secret begins to unravel after Mr Hartright meets a strange woman on his way to London all dressed in white. She asks him to forget about ever seeing her, but he can’t get this apparition out of his mind. Especially after finding out that the woman in white is somehow connected with the lovely young miss Laura Fairlie, mistress of Limmeridge house.

After listening to the musical soundtrack of The woman in white for the hundredth time I have finally read the book whereupon it is based.

The woman in white is a Gothic horror novel of the Victorian age and you can immediately feel the difference in time. The use of language is much more sophisticated and there is a grand utilization of now outdated vocabulary. Each noun has over three of its own adjectives all adding up to the picture you conceive, which made reading of The women in white more difficult and time-consuming than any book I have ever read. I can only describe the writing style as rich, elaborate, colorful and languid.
That said the story was well-built. The most significant thing of the book was the writing point of view. It wasn’t  just one person telling you the story it were several (more than 7). The persons only get to narrate the story when their view on the situation is needed. They each tell their part of the mystery through diaries, letters and notes.
All the characters were widely developed. What surprised me was Wilkie Collins’s writing about emancipated and free minded women who grow stronger throughout the story.
For The woman in white being a Gothic horror novel it has the expected suspense. What I didn’t get though was why the author had revealed so much of the big secret after less than a quarter of the book, because other parts could have used some more excitement.

The woman in white was really great to read, but it being so difficult I would read it only once.


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