Friday, May 7, 2010

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

     Because it’s been a long time since I read this book, I decided to revisit it via Librivox audiobooks. One of the first novels to be written in the mystery genre, it’s the tale of two sisters and their art teacher and how their lives become intertwined. Like other sensationalist novels of the Victorian period it includes thwarted love, marital embezzlement, false identities and multiple twists and turns. It sounds tawdry, but I promise, The Woman in White is no fluffy soap opera.

     The novel is long (nineteen hours) yet worth the effort. And though the story line is interesting, it is not what I liked most about the book. First, I loved the solid, honorable character of the tutor, Walter Hartright, whose actions and reactions are always those of a perfect gentleman. Many times he goes against his own personal wishes to protect or help others. Second, I was impressed with the quality of the readers. Some Librivox books are excruciating to the ears, but this particular production has three of the best voices I’ve ever heard: Ruth Golding, Tim Bulkely, and David Barnes. Barnes' depiction of the despicable Uncle Frederick (in chapter 21) is spine-tingling in its accuracy. I plan to listen to additional books by these outstanding readers.


ibeeeg said...

This book has long been on my to read list. I really need to get to it. Your review has reminded me and has resparked my interest. Thanks!

Julie D. said...

I have found that listening to the classics is sometimes truly the only way I can enjoy them. Thanks for writing this so that I remember to put this novel on my "to listen" list. Currently I am soldiering through The Count of Monte Cristo (gee, only about 100 chapters left to go!) so it may be a while. :-)

Sayeth said...

I just reviewed this same recording on my blog too! I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.