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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best novel (better than the Moonstone & Woman in White)
This is one of Wilkie Collins lesser known novels, but is probably his best.
It is a typical Collins tale starting from the point of view of a woman suffering under the unfairness of the law. However, it quickly develops into a study of how far people will go to secure their goals. It contains a wonderful critique of the male "hero" obsessed with sporting...
Published on 13 Dec 2000

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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated slow style but interesting story
I really wanted to like this novel, especially after the glowing reviews already on this site. Its problem for me was simply that it was far too long and I skimmed the last 50 or so pages. I'm sure Victorian readers lapped this up but reading it today I kept think that a tv dramatisation could tell you the story in 2 hours, without your missing much: the writing is pretty...
Published on 15 Sep 2008 by David Morley


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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best novel (better than the Moonstone & Woman in White), 13 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This is one of Wilkie Collins lesser known novels, but is probably his best.
It is a typical Collins tale starting from the point of view of a woman suffering under the unfairness of the law. However, it quickly develops into a study of how far people will go to secure their goals. It contains a wonderful critique of the male "hero" obsessed with sporting achievement and physical excellence. This was a development in society that Collins thought could only lead to a fall from civilised behaviour.
The plot moves from social matters to murder and develops to a terrifying page-turning climax.
The book combines the best qualities of the Woman in White (great characters and clever plot)with the best qualities of Armadale (exciting climax).
Apart from myself I know a number of people who have read all of Wilkie Collins major novels and most of his shorter ones. This book is voted his best by virtually all of them and if you only read one Wilkie Collins this should be it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Wilkie Collins book I've read so far, 1 Aug 2008
By 
This is a brilliant page turner - and out of the 5 WC books I've read, it's undoubtedly the best... if (like me) you've never quite managed to get past the first page of the Moonstone start with this one or the Lady and the Law and soon you'll be flying through them all!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensationally serious, 24 July 2009
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Warning: this review contains spoilers

When I first began reading 'Man and Wife' I found the subject matter risible. It concerns the irregular Scottish marriage laws at the end of the 19th century where, to put it simply, no ceremony had to be gone through and the mere fact of residence and an intention to wed constituted a legal marriage. I then realised I was viewing the situation with a 21st century sensibility and that Collins was seriously looking at the consequences of a stupid law. When reading 'Man and Wife', one has to put oneself firmly in the period in which the novel is set and to understand the position of women, both married and single, in Victorian society.

The novel is packed with incident and events move swiftly. Two strong female characters stand out: Anne Silvester, forthright and uncompromising, determined to ensure that her husband, the feckless Geoffrey Delamayn, acknowledges her as his wife. Initially, Anne comes over as neurotic and unsympathetic, but as the novel progresses she emerges in a more positive way as she fights for her rights. And then there is the waspish Lady Lundie, in conflict with Sir Patrick Lundie, who takes up Anne's case.

A minor, but important, secondary plot concerns Hester Dethridge, who, in her own way, is a victim of Victorian marriage laws and the legal status of women in Victorian society. Her story is a powerful one and could well have formed the basis of a novel in itself rather than the chapter which Collins devotes to it.

The novel is an excellent example of Collins' sensationalist, barnstorming style. It also contains one of the most ingenious ways I have come across in fiction to commit murder!

A great read and an intriguing story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sculduggery afoot, 1 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
I've read Wilkie Collins' major books and now thanks to Kindle free books I'm able to get started on the other works.
This is a book with many faces - it's part moral tale, part an illustration of the author's time BUT - there's also a section which seems very like a Brian Rix farce with people whipping through doorways as others enter a room.
The heroine is a bit naughty but basically virtuous, the hero is strong and loyal and the villain a really nasty piece of work who gets worse as the book progresses. They are supported by diverse characters who are all very believable and their profiles are so well drawn by the author that you almost feel as if you are watching a film.
Thoroughly enjoyed it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ., 12 April 2013
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
Who wouldn't be delighted to find the public domain list of FREE classic literature. This is fantastic. All the titles I've always wanted to read and for free - this is my kind of kindle heaven. I love the way they arrive on your kindle, they're so quick, it's like magic. Thank you public domain!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all time classic, 21 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
I agree with one of the other reviewers, if Man and Wife isn't better than Moonstone, it is at least equal to it. The only problem is it's unprepossessing title, Collins could surely have thought of a better one (Perhaps the Rise and Fall of Lady Lundie). I feel that the title will put off potential readers (particularly men) and this novel is so good it deserves to be read, by both sexes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man and Wife, 26 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
Who would have thought a book based in the 1860's would be a page turner? Well it is! Excellent portrayal of a breadth of characters. Interesting views on athletes which perhaps I hadn't realised might have been the case in the 19th Century. Great to have a combination of Scotland and London in there. A touch of the "Jane Austin" style, but not too much worthiness(!) and also a cliffhanger, with murder and intrigue to the very last. I loved it. I'm going to download more to take on holiday!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's got it all., 27 Dec 2012
This review is from: Man and Wife (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Detective story, ghost story, romance-in-peril, humour, acute social comment. Fast paced fanatstic read. I am amazed this book is not more well known and there has not been a mad rush to produce a TV serial. Switch off Downton and plug yourself into THIS. I read the Alan Sutton Pocket Classics version.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully overwrought, 1 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
Chekov once noted, "one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it." Similarly when Wilkie Collins introduces a series of deadly secrets and people who 'simply must not meet' in the opening chapters of one of his books, you can bet that those secrets will very soon be revealed, and those people unwittingly hurtling towards each other! All Collins' novels are overwrought, over-the-top and deliciously enjoyable for that.

'Man and Wife' isn't one of his best works but there are some great characters here: from the novel's villain who is an enjoyably dislikeable study in just how far a selfish man will go to achieve his own aims, to the elderly, jovial but utterly unpretentious Sir Patrick Lundie who provides a wonderfully shrewd commentary on the foibles on mid-Victorian society. Where the novel suffers a little is in the convoluted nature of the plot, and that's convoluted even by the standards of nineteenth-century sensation fiction. Despite enormous pressure from his society (and mistresses!) Collins was staunch in his distrust of marriage and refusal to marry himself. In this novel he explores some of the evils of marriage, which could at the time leave women saddled to drunken husbands, or - in Scotland where the rules of betrothal were much less clear cut - Collins speculates that couples could even become married unwittingly, with tragic results. You can imagine, a novel designed to highlight an ambiguous law can quickly become infuriatingly complicated and uncertain it,self, as 'Man and Wife' does in places. But overall I still found it an enjoyable page-turner, and worth sticking with since the last 50 pages or so were particularly riveting as the plot turns from one of legal/romantic entrapment to become more of a crime thriller.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 28 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Man and Wife (Kindle Edition)
I persevered with this book. It goes in to great detail which feels like it's going off the main story some times but the last quarter of the book is well worth waiting for in true Willie Collins style.
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Man and Wife (Oxford World's Classics)
Man and Wife (Oxford World's Classics) by Wilkie Collins (Paperback - 11 Dec 2008)
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