Updated: Jul 1
Wilkie Collins isn't an author I have admired for much time or even been acquainted with until recently. The only propulsion I got to immerse my being into this worthy piece of work was a recommendation from the Queen of Crime.
The sucker that I am for mysteries and Christie being the queen is all I can imagine in those terms [Ofcourse we include Holmes? That is a fact taken universally!]. So when she said that in her early years, her youth she was inspired by the stories of Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I had to take them up and do justice.
The Woman in White is and can surely be called one of the first mysteries that gained popularity in the world of classical literature. The prose is written charmingly in all the decorations of classical text.
The book is a scrupulously mysterious creation that can only be called enchanting in all realities of the world. The technical naivete of the characters and the plot make the story more lifelike and makes you believe in the sequence even more. The book has been divided into chapters of narration that has been obtained from several individuals to speculate on a case of singularity. A case of conspiracy and malicious cold planned malignancy that makes your knees go frail. The characters in the novel have the strength to pull up whatever plot they have been assigned and do justice to the scene pretty well.
This is the story of the Woman in White, aka Anne Catherick. Is she a spectre soaring through the darkened streets in her milky white attire, where is she going and what has lead her to the middle of desolation? These must have been the thoughts of Walter Hartright when he saw the lady while walking calmly to his destination.
A feasibly nominal mystery that crosses our path all through our lives, do we pay attention to them or do we just let them float away into the dire darkness of our unconscious mind. You only find out the potential importance of the eerie damsel when you reach right across the novel.
Unencumbered by the chance encounter, Mr Hartright goes on to take up a situation at The Limmeridge house where on chance again he falls in love with his pupil but has the strange encounter on his way left his mind or has it left a mark upon his base consciousness? That is the point from which the story goes downhill and the mystery twists itself into neverending whirlpools. A marriage arranged on the behest of corruption and by the indifference of her remaining family, Laura Fairlie goes on to marry Sir Percival Glyde unknowing of the dangers which lie ahead in her conjugal life.
Mary Halcombe half-sister but a full-time companion of Laura Fairlie is a character that cannot be forgotten. To describe her in the right perspectives I shall quote
“Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.”
The novel has been gifted with so many characters of pure emotion. Like Miss Halcombe, being a woman breathes hope into the being of Laura with an iron fist, there is the indifferent Uncle Fairlie whose pale character will get on your nerves to even think that there exists a man who could behave in a way such that is shown by the innocuous gentleman right here.
Although the protagonist of the story, we do not see Walter Hartright for a greater part of the book, that is when the narrations describe the conjugal distress faced by Laura, now Mrs Glyde and her sister and companion for life. This is the part of the story which shows sheer ingenuity in the mind and actions of the two women, ready in themselves to take on any blow they acquire.
This book showcases the fact that only if a groom has a high standing in the society, they needn't be the Knight in shining armour that you deserve. After all "All that glitters is not gold". It sheds light on all the gory circumstances your child might have to face on one wrong decision leading to matrimony.
The treacherous life lead by the two sisters in the clutches of the insidious Sir Percival Glyde is an adventure of domestic drama to behold. Mr Collins has given us a truly appalling villain in form of Count Fosco. The story is a trailblazing rollercoaster ride that goes and inverts itself on multiple occasions. The mystery behind the Strange woman in white deepens while other loops close in on the mystery to widen its perspective. All the loops are closed in on the end to give the kind of satisfaction to the reader beyond any bliss you can feel.
There was a moment of disappointment when the initially introduced characters did not make any appearances in most of the story, but guess what? All has been thought for by the author in his grand scheme of things. It transcends to my previously highlighted fact about the importance of all characters in the unravelling of the story.
The book certainly does reader service by issuing such a climax as it was in this book.
I never would doubt a recommendation from Christie but even then this was a mystery worth reading and a new perspective worth feeling.
I hope you enjoyed reading the review, find the book here on Amazon