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The Woman in White (Naxos Classic Fiction) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, Classical


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 5 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Abridged edition edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626348631
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626348635
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 12.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (491 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

For once I'm more than happy with this judicious abridgement of Collins's 1860 bestseller, which spawned a plethora of Disney-style merchandise - white shawls, fans, china ornaments etc - but frankly does go on a bit. It was the first of the Victorian 'sensation' novels, a gothic thriller with a cast of OTT characters: aristocratic villains, cruel husbands, a dastardly Italian count, a handsome hero of low birth but high ideals, a heroine with, wait for it, a moustache, and of course the mysterious woman in white on the loose from a lunatic asylum, who - no, I shan't give anything away. The epistolary style - it has 10 narrators - is custom-built for audio. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Written in 1859, this classic mystery is perfect for audio. Impoverished art teacher Walter Hartright accepts a position to teach at a country house and finds himself involved in a sinister plot to relieve heiress Laura Fairlie of her wealth and her sanity. The tireless efforts of stalwart Hartright and Laura s half sister, Marian Holcombe, help save the day. Each of 11 characters, easily identified in a handy cast list, tells his or her story, offering individual perspectives on people and events. The seasoned British actors in this full-cast production play the suspense and emotion to the hilt. Particularly fine are Rachel Bavidge as Marian Holcombe, a warmhearted woman of vast intelligence but no beauty, and Allan Corduner as Fosco, whose mask of geniality hides his true menace. Although it takes a while to fall into the story, this is an excellent rendition of a classic tale, old-fashioned storytelling at its best. --Joyce Saricks, Booklist

Book Description

'A hypochondriac uncle, two girls who look identical, a count with a penchant for mesmerism and vanilla bonbons, a lunatic asylum, an evil husband... What more could you want?' - Maggie O'Farrell --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
Wonderfully entertaining stuff - this is essentially a pre-television soap opera, much like the novels of Dickens or George Eliot.
The essentials of the story are as follows: our hero is a young painter hired as tutor to a young heiress. The lady in question is remarkably pretty, innocent, sweet-tempered (etc etc) and inevitably our hero falls for her hook, line & sinker. Needless to say the path of true love doesn't run smoothly and not only are they separated, but the heiress is subject to the wicked plots of marvellously nefarious villains.
Sounds cheesy as anything, I know; but the story is fast paced, convoluted and frequently (intentionally!) very funny. Because Collins employs a first person narrative technique, telling his tale through one character's diary then another one's letters, we are allowed an insight into the thoughts and speech patterns of a wide range of characters. Some of them are downright hilarious - particularly our heroine's outrageously camp uncle. As so often happens, it is the secondary (and indeed bit-part) characters who are the most entertaining - the fabulous Marianne (just wait till you read that initial description of her appearance! The contrast between standards of beauty now & then is remarkable...although granted it sounds like she needed immac for that top lip of hers) and the indomitable Count with his pet white mice scampering around, to name my two favourites - and undoubtedly your own. What are you waiting for?
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By janzcatz@supanet.com on 7 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
I took a few pages to click into the Victorian narrative but once I was into it, it gripped from start to finish. This book has the most wonderfully drawn characters and because it switches narrators several times ( Wilkie Collins does this to great effect also in 'The Moonstone') you are just getting lulled into the perspective of one person, when you are then gently jolted and led along by another.
If you want a book with love, romance, mystery and an undercurrent of the sinister running through it I promise you will not be disappointed. You will then be so hooked by Wilkie Collin's writing style that you will want to devour the rest of his books immediately.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
This advice for writing serial romances, alternately attributed to Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Charles Reade, is epitomized in this 1860 novel by Collins, a story of thwarted love, a marriage of obligation, claims on inheritance, the victimization of women, and, most of all, engaging mystery. Collins, often credited as the father of the mystery genre, creates a fast-paced story of Victorian England, revealing much about Victorian society and its values--the role of women, the laws governing marriage and inheritance, the social institutions of the day, the contrasting attitudes toward the aristocracy and the lower classes, and even the level of medical care and the treatment of psychological illness.

When drawing master Walter Hartright is on his way to teach Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie at Limmeridge House, in Cumberland, England, he meets a "woman in white," a young woman who knows Limmeridge House well because she was mentored by Mrs. Fairlie, Laura Fairlie's deceased mother. The "woman in white" is Anne Catherick, who looks just like Laura, but who is an escapee from a nearby mental asylum. Upon his arrival at Limmeridge House, Walter immediately falls in love with the beautiful Laura, but she has made a deathbed pledge to her father to marry to Sir Percival Glyde, someone Anne Catherick despises and blames for her own incarceration. Throughout the novel, Anne visits various characters to offer help in combating Sir Percival and his cohorts.

The story unfolds through documents held by a variety of characters, each of whom tells the story from his/her own point of view.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 11 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
Now I know why it's a classic - I just can't understand why it isn't up there with Jane Austin and Charles Dickens. Wilkie Collins could have written The Woman in White last year - it's that fresh. It reminded my of The Quincunx by Charles Palliser - except not so long! The plot is just as well-worked. I'd recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A reader on 7 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
I had heard of Jane Eyre, the Bronte sisters and Thomas Hardy, but not much of Wilkie Collins before I read this novel, but it is my favourite book of all time now. I recommend it to many people. I have read this twice and each time I could not put it down.
The fact that it is a very thick book may seem daunting at first, but believe me, before you know it, you will be at the end. This book is full of suspense, page after page.
Taking a point of view from several of the characters, mostly in diary form, keeps it flowing. A story of passion, hate and lies. The pain of love.
This book contains the romantic side and the thrilling side, so it will appeal to many different readers who like different genres.
Even if you are not an adamant reader of the classics, I seriously suggest you read this. For £1.50, it is an excellent buy, for such an amazing book!
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