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.