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23 August 2018

Books from the Backlog: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf or e-reader unread.  If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link at Carole’s Random Life, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.

This week's neglected book:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Hardcover, 609 pages
Published October 15th, 1991 by Everyman's Library
(first published November 26th, 1859)

Wilkie Collins's classic thriller took the world by storm on its first appearance in 1859, with everything from dances to perfumes to dresses named in honor of the "woman in white."  The novel's continuing fascination stems in part from a distinctive blend of melodrama, comedy, and realism; and in part from the power of its story.

The catalyst for the mystery is Walter Hartright's encounter on a moonlit road with a mysterious woman dressed head to toe in white.  She is in a state of confusion and distress, and when Hartright helps her find her way back to London she warns him against an unnamed "man of rank and title."  Hartright soon learns that she may have escaped from an asylum and finds to his amazement that her story may be connected to that of the woman he secretly loves.  Collins brilliantly uses the device of multiple narrators to weave a story in which no one can be trusted, and he also famously creates, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genius.  The Woman in White is still passed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and excruciating suspense.

Why did I add The Woman in White to my bookshelf?

At the time I purchased The Woman in White, I was reading through the BBC’s 100 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, and this book was listed. It’s a mystery, one of my favorite genres. If I was to read it now, I’m sure I would have to purchase stronger reading glasses because the font is awfully small, or I’m just older and can’t see as well.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book? Would you recommend it to others?


  1. I LOVED this book when I read in for school! I've been meaning to give it a reread!

    1. Everyone who've read it seem to love it. Hopefully I can get to it soon. Thank for visiting Erica.

  2. I have heard so many good things about this book but haven't read it yet. I think that I have this one on my Kindle waiting for a turn. I know exactly what you mean about small print. More than once I have ended up requesting a large print edition of a book from the library because my eyes just can't handle tiny print anymore. Thanks for joining in this week!

    1. I've also heard so many wonderful things about it. At my library it seems that the large print books are available sooner. I don't think many reserve those, so I make sure to grab them up. Happy to join in, thanks hosting Carole.

  3. Like Erica, I loved The Woman in White. The print on my paper copy is tiny too. I ended up getting an e-copy so I could read it in a bigger font. I really want to try Collins' other books. I hear The Moonstone is good too. If you get to it, I hope you enjoy it!

    1. An eBook is something for me to consider regarding font size. Both you and Katherine have mentioned Moonstone, I will definitely look into it. Once I read this book. Have a great day and thank you for visiting.

  4. I read this one a while back because it was one of the earliest mystery stories written and I was trying to read those. It was pretty good.

    Oh man, I struggle hard with some of the smaller fonts now. :)

    1. It being one of the earliest mystery, also had me interested. Smaller font's, one of the ugh's of getting older. Thank you for visiting Sophia.

  5. I read this book last year and really loved it but the writing style was so rich I found I enjoyed it more in small doses. I'd like to continue to read The Moonstone. Those small fonts are tough!

    1. Smaller doses is probably something that would be workable for me. I could read a little every day. I do enjoy the writing style of the past. Moonstone, I will have to look into it, of course after I read this one. Thank you for visiting Katherine.

  6. Small fonts are really tough on the eyes aren't they? I don't like it much either and that's without any eye issues. Hope you do enjoy it when you read it!

    1. I've here so many wonderful things, I hope I enjoy it as well. Thank you for visiting.

  7. This is one I feel I ought to read, but it does look very looong!

    1. The smaller print makes it seem longer than the 609 pages listed. I may have to save this for a tome readathon. Have a great day.


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