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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent - read it already!
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...
Published on 14 Mar. 1999

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible formatting
You need only look at the preview before you buy to see the awful presentation, avoid this edition. There are many other editions for the same price on Kindle. This one seems fine to me :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Woman-White-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B005IXIAWE/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1325096308&sr=1-9
Published on 28 Dec. 2011 by Jrslims


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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent - read it already!, 14 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The most wonderful book I have ever read, 7 Jun. 2001
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
4.0 out of 5 stars "Make 'em laugh, make 'em weep, make 'em wait, and make 'em come back.", 2 Jun. 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. The reader develops sympathy for the innocent and beautiful Laura, respect for her homely but bright half-sister, Marian Halcombe, sadness for Walter Hartright, and hatred for Sir Percival and his friend, the Italian count Fosco, with whom Sir Percival is in business. Sir Percival and the count need financing, and it is Laura's inheritance that is at stake. A series of consecutive disasters, along with arguments, revelations of abuse, the fear of exposure, and the contemplation of murder by Sir Percival and Count Fosco, draws the reader irrevocably into the action.

The characters are sympathetically drawn, with Collins showing an early awareness of the influence of psychology on behavior. The descriptions of nature, presented realistically and in minute detail, build suspense, as Collins creates parallels between nature and the details of plot. As is usually the case with romances, chance plays a huge role in the unfolding action, creating cliff-hanging suspense which contributes to the excitement--and pure fun--of this seductive novel. The conclusion, involving a subplot unrelated to the primary action, resolves issues conveniently. The almost-forgotten author of twenty-five novels, Collins was one of the most successful authors of Victorian mysteries, and he is gaining new attention as a result of reprints of this novel and The Moonstone. Mary Whipple
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know why it's a classic, 11 Dec. 2004
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be Wilkie Collins best!, 7 Sept. 2005
By 
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Mystery, 23 July 2003
I bought this book in a second hand shop. When I got about 50 pages in I realized a great chunk was missing! I was mortifyed! From the moment I picked the book up I had been spell-bound by the beauty of the writing and the fateful twists in the plot. I rushed out and bought it and finished it in the next sitting. I am not a fan of Dickens (collins brother-in-law) whoes writing is very bleak. This book in contrast is alive with wonder and intrigue from start till finish. This is my favourite book of all time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth some persistence, 3 May 2009
By 
Rebecca (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
I have to confess that although this book is thoroughly enjoyable, it took a fair amount of time and determination for me to read it. However, it is well worth the persistence.
I would say that whilst it is not written in the most elegant prose, the descriptions still create very detailed images that flesh out the characters.
It's an intricate mystery story with necessary but not outlandish twists that keep it interesting and entertaining. It is unlike modern thriller mysteries, far more detailed and relaxed but just as intriguing.
As with many books of it's kind, often circumstances were a little too convenient, however this can be forgiven as it allows for the very clever way in which different characters narrate the story at relevant points.
I was left feeling that I knew the main characters intimately, a credit to the author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting & profoundly absorbing, 29 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
Perhaps the best story I've read ever! I was utterly enthralled. Wonderful. In terms of plot... characterisation... atmosphere... etc, etc, it's just marvellous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a fantastic read after more than a century, 21 Sept. 2008
This book was quite unlike any I had previously read. While it was written in 1859 it is still - almost 150 years later - a book as gripping as it presumably was all those years ago for Victorian and Edwardian readers brought up on such spooky classics as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula and Frankenstein.

Told in the form of letters and diaries of the different characters involved it unfolds bit by bit and keeps you guessing right up until the very end. Collins's characters seem to come alive and make a lasting impression. As a thriller it easily beats many modern-day thrillers and really does have an unequalled air of menace and threat. Despite its age it is immensely readable and is a true page turner. Simply a must!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Popular, 6 Dec. 2014
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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Penned by Wilkie Collins ‘The King of Sensation’ this is his best novel, and arguably the best sensation novel ever written. With greater literacy in this country and the public’s desire of reading about crime, sensation fiction, which is really an offshoot of gothic fiction, was the sub-genre that really caught people’s imaginations. With coincidences, lurid crimes such as bigamy and adultery amongst others, these stories were full of melodrama and people’s real fears, all set in more normal settings. This story here is told in a multiple narrative form as the tale is progressed by different characters. So although we start and finish with Walter Hartright we have others to fill in the gap between his departure from these shores, and his eventual return.

As Walter’s Italian friend Pesca tells him of a good job going at Limmeridge House in Cumberland as a drawing master for two young ladies Walter applies and gets the post, where he falls in love with Laura, one of his students. Before he departs from London though he aids a woman in white, Anne Catherick, whose shadow is cast throughout this tale, and who gives an impression of knowing something that could damage another. As Laura is betrothed to another, Sir Percival Glyde, Walter finds himself setting off abroad. But is Percival the ideal man to marry?

As we read this we see that Sir Percival, with his friend Count Fosco are wrong ‘uns and Percival is more interested in how much money Laura can bring him than in the lady herself. As plans are laid to get all of Laura’s money it seems that only Laura’s half sister Marian has any inkling that something is afoot. Following a trail of deception, trying to destroy evidence, treachery and trickery all mentioned in this book along with other crimes this is still a well loved book today, and with good reason. When written though, for the people in that age this also showed the limitations of the law, and something that still causes fear today, the meaning of personal identity. This and other sensation novels are really the beginnings for us of our crime novels and psychological thrillers that are so popular. I know for one that I am not the only person who has read this many times and have never tired of the story. Indeed in its day it was a hit with the reading public, although ironically not with critics, although today you would be hard pressed to find a critic who would slate this book.
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