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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best no doubt
This is an amazing novel . Immensely modern in outlook for when it was written Magdalen Vanstone remorselessly pursues the return of the lost family fortune .
A pageturning thriller I have read it three times and it is always exciting . It would be brilliant if adapted for TV faithfully (unlike the shockingly bowdlerised Woman in White we had the other year)...
Published on 13 Oct 2001

versus
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, shame about the typography
In the pantheon of novels by Wilkie Collins, NO NAME comes a poor fourth in popularity after THE WOMAN IN WHITE, THE MOONSTONE and ARMADALE. In my opinion it deserves better than this, certainly ahead of TWIW if still behind the other two. Therefore I would rate the novel itself as deserving 4-5 stars. What drags it down so far as this Kindle edition is concerned is the...
Published on 26 Mar 2011 by R. Wells


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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best no doubt, 13 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: No Name (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is an amazing novel . Immensely modern in outlook for when it was written Magdalen Vanstone remorselessly pursues the return of the lost family fortune .
A pageturning thriller I have read it three times and it is always exciting . It would be brilliant if adapted for TV faithfully (unlike the shockingly bowdlerised Woman in White we had the other year)
Puts John Grisham to shame - buy it
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping - everytime I read it I can't put it down!, 12 Aug 2001
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This review is from: No Name (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Everyone likes the Moonstone or the Woman in White, but 'No Name' is my favourite of Wilkie Collins' novels. I believe this is the very best revenge novel ever written! From the moment I open it, to the moment I finish it, I am totally gripped everytime. Even though now I know what is going to happen, I just can't put it down until the last page. The first time I read it, I stayed up all night to finish it.
If you only read one of his books - read this. You won't regret it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 4 Jan 2009
I can't remember the last time I read a novel as enjoyable as this one, a page-turner ground on strong characters and a thought-provoking theme. "No Name" tells the story of two sisters, Norah and Magdalen, who fall into poverty after they discover they have no claim on their parents' inheritance, thanks to a technicality in the will. The girls' entire estate is left to a distant, and greedy, uncle who decides to only give them 100 pounds from the estate. Norah, the eldest, accepts her fate and finds work as a governess in London. Magdalen, however, takes matters into her own hands and plots an intricate revenge on the uncle with the help of a con artist.

Wilkie Collins was a friend of Charles Dickens and this novel was published in its time as a serial, much like Dickens' work. Each chapter carries enough plot twists and cliffhangers to keep you interested on the story, as well as colourful characters - scoundrels, greedy rich men, scheming housekeepers - that are memorable and beg the question: why hasn't this been turned into a BBC series yet?!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by this being a nineteenth century novel!, 25 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: No Name (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Wilkie Collins's work is very readable for readers at the end of the twentieth century. Everyone agrees that the Woman In White is his best work - but I think that "No Name" rates above the excellent "Moonstone" as his second best. I find Dickens, (Collins's mentor) a slog, and yet Collins's best works (Armadale being No. 4) are a delight to read. The contemporary readers were aghast at the antics of the heroine of No Name - but I'm sure Collins would be delighted if he knew how 1990s readers all side with her schemes to regain her rightful inheritance, denied by the twin circumstances of tragedy and (for then) scandal!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Masterpiece, 8 Jun 2011
By 
Nostalgia (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
I suppose, like most readers of Wilkie Collins' novels, my first encounter was "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone" - possibly his most familiar works. I found "No Name" just as engrossing and difficult to put down, yet a little more light-hearted and witty. Despite highlighting the dire consequences liable to arise through ignorance of the inheritance laws, particularly the common failure to appreciate that wills are revoked by marriage (which still prevails in England and Wales -if not elsewhere)and the iniquitous Victorian laws relating to illegitimacy and inheritance, this is not at all hard-going, but thoroughly gripping and entertaining.
Although described by previous reviewers, the story takes place in the early Victorian era and is wound round the misfortunes of two young ladies (the elder, 26 and the younger, 18) who, following their parents' tragic and untimely deaths in quick succession, discover that they are in fact illegitimate in the eyes of the law, as their parents were prevented from marrying each other until after the girls were born. Their father mistakenly believes that he has provided for them in the will he made before the marriage and, despite the family lawyer's best efforts to alleviate matters before the mother's subsequent and untimely death, they come to lose everything to long-estranged and avaricious relatives.
The two girls are of differing temperaments, the elder tending to accept what fate has decreed, whilst the younger, more wild and strong-willed, devises a scheme to recover what they are morally - if not legally - entitled to, with the aid of a self-confessed scoundrel and swindler, reputedly a relative of their deceased mother. The story proceeds through unimaginable situations and events, the outcome of which must remain undisclosed so as not to spoil it for new readers.
Collins was adept in his descriptive narratives and the story includes many elements, including the lovesick and some typically whimsical "Dickensian-type" characters, such as the ubiquitous swindler and his wife.
The reader does of course have to appreciate that this story was written over 150 years ago, but the language employed is refreshingly intellectual, if a little laborious at times, and quite a contrast to some of to-day's writings, but not at all "stuffy".
Highly recommended and I intend to read more of this great man's works.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute stunner, 3 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: No Name (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I adore Wilkie Collins and this has to me my favourite. Couldn't put it down and has to rank as one of my all-time favourites. I didn't think Collins could do better than The Woman in White but to me No Name has to be his masterpiece.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, gripping and fascinating - read this book!, 8 Jun 2005
By 
Meerkat (Dereham, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This is a very good book - if you enjoy a leisurely stroll through the past with an excellent cast of characters and a cracking good plot. Collins was a champion of the under-dog in a much less sentimental way than his friend, Dickens, and in this story he takes on the establishment over the laws on illegitimacy and inheritance. The heroines are disinherited through no fault of their own - and Collins clearly disapproves of visiting the crime of the parents on to innocent children. The older sister accepts her fate and sets out to earn her living, the younger sister does the opposite.
What I found remarkable in this book is that the main character, Magdalen, although defying convention, is entirely bound by it. She cannot do anything on her own as a woman, she needs a man to support, guide and assist her. She is almost absolutely powerless to act on her own behalf in her society and her only real power is her sex appeal, which she uses remorselessly to marry for revenge. However, everything she does, all her plotting, scheming and subterfuge, gets her absolutely nowhere. She does not succeed in getting back the inheritance she and her sister were cheated out of. Nor does Collins allow his characters any of those amazing leaps of luck, logic or circumstance that aid so many other heroes and heroines in such an unlikely way in so many other novels.
I disagree with Virginia Blain who wrote the introduction. I do believe Magdalen is entitled to happiness at the end of the novel. What she does may have been utterly shocking to a Victorian reader, but it all reads as entirely plausible and understandable to a modern reader. She suffers quite enough to satisfy even the most hard hearted of Victorian readers and I was delighted when she achieved happiness almost by accident at the end of the novel.The ending was not a 'cop out', it was perfect.
As other reviewers have said, this novel would make a cracking costume drama - where are you, BBC/ITV?!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian "Hustle", 4 Dec 2013
By 
S Jones (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Name (Kindle Edition)
Warning: This book contains excessive melodrama, improbable coincidence and unrealistic situations.

Despite that, it's great fun to read, once you've got through the first part where Collins is so over the top with the sentiment that it falls into parody (which may have been its intention - there is a lot of humour in all his novels). The death of Mrs Vanstone and her newly born son reminded me of Oscar Wilde's comment on the death of Dicken's Little Nell "One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears...of laughter."

Once that's over though, it moves into a fast paced story as Magdalen and her confidence trickster ally Captain Wragge do battle with the equally scheming Mrs Lecount for the fortune. Collins is a great writer of suspense and each chapter puts one or other character at an advantage - a true "page turner".

Collins isn't a great one for developing character - we don't really know much more about Magdalen at the end of the story than we do at the beginning. But despite these criticisms it's still far better than many modern thrillers, and as other reviewers have said would make an excellent TV series.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, shame about the typography, 26 Mar 2011
By 
R. Wells - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: No Name (Kindle Edition)
In the pantheon of novels by Wilkie Collins, NO NAME comes a poor fourth in popularity after THE WOMAN IN WHITE, THE MOONSTONE and ARMADALE. In my opinion it deserves better than this, certainly ahead of TWIW if still behind the other two. Therefore I would rate the novel itself as deserving 4-5 stars. What drags it down so far as this Kindle edition is concerned is the lamentable quality of the typography. For a start, the technology has decided to break paragraphs in a purely arbitrary way, often following a full stop. This means that all too frequently the reader is confronted with a paragraph ending "Mr." and the next line (not indented) beginning with the rest of the character's name. Again, paragraphs are often divided in two by a meaningless quirk of the technology (human? machine?) when they should run on, e.g. in the middle of a speech by one character. The other major drawback is the frequently occurring splitting of a single word into two parts, as "t he" etc. These typos distract the reader (well, this reader) fatally and account for the slide from 4-5 stars to a niggardly 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Name by Wilkie Collins, 28 Jan 2012
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This review is from: No Name (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. I have read a number of Wilkie Collins' books already, which is what attracted me to this one, the best I've read yet. It could have been written yesterday, the challenges and story lines are so fresh and pertinent to life. I expect that in its time this was a real breath of fresh air. There is a rogue and a swindler playing a key part in the plot; the pleasure of watching his schemes unfold is a real joy, as the main character of the book, Magdalen, is more than a match for him, causing him to re-evaluate himself and his life. He is by no means the centre of the story, but it is a real pleasure to watch his character unfold. I thoroughly recommend this book; it's an easy, accessible, enjoyable read.
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No Name (Penguin Classics)
No Name (Penguin Classics) by Wilkie Collins (Paperback - 1 Dec 1994)
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