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The Woman in White (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 17 Apr 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 680 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed. / edition (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535637
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.6 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

with each volume having an introduction by an acknowledged expert, and exhaustive notes, the World's Classics are surely the most desirable series and, all-round, the best value for money (Oxford Times)

Collins's mid-Victorian novel is one of the first, and possibly still the greatest, of all literary thrillers. (The Irish Times)

Book Description

Toby Stephens and Juliet Aubrey star in a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’ chilling Gothic drama. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Download Verified Purchase
One moonlit night, on a street in Hampstead, Walter Hartright meets a young woman dressed all in white, who seems to be in some distress. When she asks him if he lives in London, Walter replies that he does but that he will be leaving for Cumberland on the next day, a fact which interests the young woman and encourages her to reveal that she once lived in Cumberland at Limmeridge Village and yearns to see the village and Limmeridge House again. Walter is greatly surprised by the coincidence as he has been engaged as a drawing master to two sisters living at Limmeridge House. Before Walter can question the woman further, she becomes agitated and asks him to help her to find a carriage; however, after she has been driven away, he learns that the woman in white has escaped from a lunatic asylum. Walter is unsettled and perplexed, but when he arrives at Limmeridge House the next day and meets the elder of the two sisters, Marian Halcombe, an intelligent and sensible young woman, and explains what happened to him the night before, Miss Halcombe promises to help him discover who the young woman might be and what her connection is to Limmeridge House. When Walter meets Miss Halcombe's younger and very beautiful half-sister, Laura Fairlie, he finds himself becoming very attracted to her, but he is rather unsettled by his discovery that she bears a strong resemblance to the woman in white. Intrigued by this and affected by Laura's engaging personality, Walter finds himself falling in love with her, but the lovely Laura is engaged to be married to Sir Percival Glyde - whom, we learn, was responsible for incarcerating the woman in white in a mental asylum.Read more ›
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By H on 28 Sept. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[Spoiler alert]

I have just finished reading this story, a feat that took me less than two days to accomplish in spite of the book's intimidating size. I rarely read a book and pay no heed to the page numbers but with this one I read it from cover to cover without a glance. The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins is stupendous and I am at a loss of where to start.

The story is well thought out and goes in directions I never anticipated in my wildest dreams. Wilkie Collins played with my intellect the whole way through by throwing out clues as to what was really happening and then dissolving them to keep you guessing. I assumed like a lot of people that Anne Catherick was Sir Percival's daughter or his lover, anything but the reality! Collins hangs out the suspension and keeps you guessing until the very last moment when he reveals the last thing in the world that you expected. While you're twisting around in your seat trying to second guess the impossible, Collins never lets up while the story just keeps hotting up. The story gripped me to the edge of my seat, made me laugh, cry and shout out. I have few times read a story where I felt so very intimate with the characters that they could be my friends as this, astonishing skill considering the sheer number of characters I was feeling for. Normally I find myself stretched thin like butter over too much bread in a character overloaded story and this was not. It was perfect.

And what characters! I confess my all time favourite is Count Fosco. The lovable, hateful, frightening and beautifully sinister manipulation of the count underlies this whole narrative, his influence with his little white mice and his Twit! Twit! Twit! birds of paradise causing every bane that came to pass and yet I adored him!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wilkie Collins is renowned from his era as a master of mystery and suspense and The Woman in White certainly proves that mastery.

Writing in the style of composite narratives from different pens, Collins compiles `history' and testimony to construct a complete narrative of a tale full of twists and turns, colourful characters and elaborate schemes. There is not a part of this novel that is not relevant in some way, not a name that has no part to play.

Collins draws on his legal experience to sift out irrelevance and tells us more than once that only those details required by the case in point are here told. The result is that readers don't lose interest and don't lose the thread despite the near 500 page length. It certainly doesn't feel like 500 pages when it reaches its satisfying conclusion.

It's a tale that could still be true 150 years after its publication - something that many people now pay insurances against - making it all the more engaging. Who is not just slightly paranoid about what other people might do that could send our lives spiralling out of control?

I can't think of a single negative point to make about this book. I only wish Collins were around to make book-signing tours - I'd love a signed copy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This may be a slow-going novel but its contents outweigh any classic I've read by the likes of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I say this because the story not only addresses the romance forbidden between Walter and Laura but also observes the impact of the law on vulnerable women trapped in loveless marriage or locked away from society. Through the inclusion of the law, we gain an enriching insight into how Laura Fairlie's inheritance can suffer in the hands of a wayward husband, as well as the reason why two partners cannot comfortably marry if their social ranks are too far apart - a dilemma later resolved by the rise and fall of various fortunes.

I liked the level of detail, and though it could be slow at times, mainly due to my eagerness and interest in the plot, I liked even more the striking modernity of the characters themselves. For instance, there were two observations which struck me as still applicable to our times and those were Mr Fairlie's and Count Fosco's: the former lamented the burden single people must bear for married couples with problems; while the latter remarked on the irony of being honest, stating how a poor man could borrow frequently from his friends without issue, whereas a rich man who seldom borrowed would be treated without the same sympathy. My favourite character in the novel is by far Count Fosco, whose conflicting emotions towards Marian Fairlie soon become his fatal flaw and reveal a strange kind of villain not many choose to portray. Frankly, I found myself astounded how such a villain could have so many fingers in so many pies (literally and figuratively speaking!) yet refrain from acting destructively, simply because he could; his lack of excessive evil is something to be admired.
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