It’s been ages since I’ve been on here! I’ve been so busy with settling into my new married life that I’ve stopped writing as much as I used to. I know- I know. That’s a huge no-no for someone who wants to be a writer. I got that.
But you can be sure I’ve been reading like nobody’s business. I’ve soaked up so many new books that I have plenty to share.
Today I’m going to start by introducing an author who is fast becoming one of my favorite classic authors. He’s simply brilliant with description and setting, and writes so beautifully that even parts of the book that would be boring in lesser hands are exceedingly entertaining in his. The amazing author I’m referring to is Wilkie Collins.
I’ve read three of his novels over the course of my blogging break and have chosen to share my favorite with you all. It’s called The Woman in White, and it’s as intriguing and mysterious as the title sounds.
The story follows Walter Hartright as he falls maddeningly in love with Laura, a young lady he has been requested to teach art to. Sadly for Walter, she is already betrothed to another man, Sir Percival Glyde.
This sad news is brought to his attention by Laura’s half-sister Marian Halcombe. Marian is bound to Laura for life out of a deep love and devotion to her.
Being engaged to another man out of a promise made years ago to appease Laura’s dying father, Laura’s marriage to Sir Percival must occor without Walter getting in between them. But the damage is done. Laura has fallen in love with Walter. The agony she feels over loving another man, while being engaged to one she hardly knows, is heartbreaking to such a sweet girl. And so the first part of the book comes to a close.
We then reach the second part of the story where Walter leaves the country due to his broken heart over a love that can never be, and Laura, after becoming Sir Percival’s wife, moves into her husbands home with Marian and Percival’s best friend and best friend’s wife, Count Fosco and Madame Fosco.
This is where the story really captures its reader’s attention. Count Fosco has to be one of the most interesting characters ever written. He’s an intelligent and exacting person with a difficult personality to figure out. He speaks, and his wife and Sir Percival practically fall at his feet to do his bidding. His word reigns as if he were a god to them. Laura immediately takes a disliking to him from the start. She senses falseness in his character and avoids him at all costs.
As the story progresses, we learn that Sir Percival is most certainly not the kind of man Laura should have married. He’s in a lot of debt and has really only married Laura for the purpose of gaining her money. Marian finds out this motive and tells Laura to stand her ground and make it impossible for her husband to touch her money without her consent. This presents a large difficulty Sir Percival did not foresee, especially from two women. You can be sure that Count Fosco is whispering in his ear the entire time, telling Sir Percival how he should act and handle the matter so things will fall into their hands as planned. But as things start to fall out of their plans and work against their favor, Count Fosco devises a sinister, unexpected plot that will astonish and amaze the reader.
You may be wondering where the woman in white fits into this story. Let me now introduce her. The woman in white is Anne Catherick. We meet her in the first few pages of the story. She comes across Walter Hartright on the road as they are walking in the same direction. She seems perturbed about something and keeps looking behind her as if she is being followed. Wlater helps her find a cab to escape and that’s all we see of her for awhile.
But later in the story, we find out tht Anne has a strange resemblance to Laura and once knew Laura’s mother. She was placed into an asylum by Sir Percval Glyde, and because of this, has a hatred for him that leads her to write a letter to Laura, telling her not to marry him for he is an evil man. This evil comes to light in a way you won’t suspect, and it most certainly involves the woman in white.
Of course, there’s far more to the story than what I’ve chosen to share, but since I want you to read it for yourself, this will have to do. Just know you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the ending and will come to love Wilkie Collins as much as I have. If you love suspense, if you love the beauty of vivid words and melodious sounding descriptions, if you love a good twist, than this is the story for you.