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The Law and the Lady by [Collins, Wilkie]
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The Law and the Lady Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Length: 351 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 882 KB
  • Print Length: 351 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082S8YPK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,148 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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First published in serial form in 1874-5, Wilkie Collins' 'The Law and the Lady' focuses on the young Valeria Brinton who marries the older Eustace Woodville, with whom she is very much in love. On their honeymoon, Valeria discovers that her husband is using an assumed name, and despite his reassurances that he loves her and his entreaties to her not to delve any further into the reasons for him changing his name, Valeria is determined to discover why her husband found it necessary to conceal his true identity from her. When, by clandestine means, she uncovers his secret and learns that Eustace was put on trial for poisoning his first wife, the verdict being 'Not Proven' under Scottish law, Valeria is shocked and confused - she cannot believe her husband capable of such a dreadful crime, yet why didn't the jury find him 'Not Guilty'? And why did Eustace not trust her enough to tell her of his past life before they married? (No spoilers - we know most of this before we begin reading). Determined to clear her husband's name, Valeria sets out to find out as much as she can about the trial and to re-examine the evidence against Eustace, but in doing so she not only alienates her husband, but she also steps beyond the bounds of conventional social behaviour.

Although this 'sensation' novel is not quite in the same class as the author's 'The Woman in White' and 'The Moonstone', and the story is a little drawn out and rather over-melodramatic at times, it certainly has its page-turning qualities and I was absorbed from start to finish.
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The book is intriguing in its premise and had me gripped... until Miserrimus Dexter arrived to dominate the proceedings. It then became almost unbearable. They is a great deal of those Victorian flights of emotion that seem both overdone and unrealistic, to me at any rate. The husband Eustace, for whom the heroine acts, is also insufferable. I don't recommend it!
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The protagonist of the book is a recently married Valeria who is known to be one of the first literary female detectives. She is very much in love with her new husband Eustace who, however, seems to be pulling away from her from the very first week of their marriage. When she decides to investigate the matter, she stumbled upon a terrible secret from his past - he has been suspected and tried for allegedly murdering his first wife. According to the Scottish law of the time, a man could be either held to be guilty or not guilty of his crime; however, there was also a possibility of the third verdict - crime not proven, which does not exist in English law. When Valeria discovers that the latter verdict was the outcome of Eustace's case, she decides to prove his innocence because she firmly believes that he did not commit the crime. She chooses to start her investigation by talking to the key witness, a crippled misogynystic madman named Misserimus Dexter. With somewhat questionable help from him, her mother-in-law, her husband's friends and their lawyer, she slowly uncovers the truth.

"It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
Before you tell me that Wilkie Collins is not, in fact, Jane Austen, I would just like to say that I feel that the aforementioned quote is ironically applicable to this wonderful piece of detective fiction. Eustace is a rich man, no doubt about that. However, I feel that he is also in possession of quite a lot of emotional baggage, which is exactly what triggers the plot of the novel.
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For those of you who already like Wilkie Collins (the Moonstone, Woman in White) this is a great story to read as a follow up. It has a strong central woman character, which is good, and a plot that holds your interest. Collins really is a page turner. There is one character, a disabled man, who is depicted with some of the lack of understanding of previous eras - let's just say the book couldn't be televised so well nowadays unless this depiction was changed. But that aside, the novel is a great read.
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I love Wilkie Collins books, and the Law and the Law does not disappoint. Just as dramatic as the Woman in White
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A typical victorian novel, full of suspense, with a lot of coincidences, but nevertheless one really wants to know what happens next and cant wait to find out the conclusion
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Moderately interesting and compelling. Lacks complexity with few possible outcomes. The outcome is too predictable. Too much time is taken up with tedious characters.
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Wilkie Collins was a master of his craft, and my review for this book would apply to most of his novels. Wonderfully written, using beautiful language, the reader is drawn into the story and becomes involved with the characters whose complexities are developed subtly. You are immersed in the Victorian era and the structure of Victorian society, which comes to life under the pen of this prolific author,

Difficult to put down, I recommend Wilkie Collins to anyone who appreciates exciting literature.
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