Review: The Woman in White

Aah, I can´t keep up with the reviews. Does that mean I´m reading too much??
Still, there´s so much to say about The Woman in White, although I think most of you have read this classic ages ago 🙂 It´s been on my list for years and then collected dust on the shelf for another year- a nearly 600 pages classic, that´s intimidating! No one ever told me that this book is amazingly easy to read and one of the most exciting thrillers.

This mystery centers around the woman in white whom Walter Hartright meets one night on a deserted street in London. This encounter sends his life into a new and dangerous direction.

What fascinated me most about this book were, next to the mystery, Collins´ characters. What a group! Apart from nice and boring Hartright and the fair and feeble Laura Fairlie were Marian Halcombe and the Count. Throughout the book the main characters, the couple in the center, were Hartright and Laura. But to me it felt like Collins gave them to the readers of his time, as what was expected and had to be delivered.

The real heroes of this novel are Marian Halcombe and the Count. They are described as ugly or at least strange looking, the Count as a very large man who plays with his tiny menagerie comes across as ridiculous. Marian is likewise depicted as ugly and repeatedly attributed male characteristics. She can only be very intelligent and pragmatic while being ugly and therefore unsuitable as a love interest and “real” woman. Her intelligence is like a man´s, her hands are as large as a man´s, and she often downplays her abilities and actions because she is only a woman. As such she can only fully be appreciated by the Count, the antihero. And because he is the bad guy she can only be disgusted by his admiration.

In the end Hartright keeps both women, Laura as his wife and Marian because, really, they need someone to organize their lives and for stimulating conversation.

How did you regard the characters? Did you read them differently?

Also reviewed by:

Susi at The Book Affair

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9 thoughts on “Review: The Woman in White

  1. Nice review! I liked 'The Woman in White' very much when I read it. Nice to know that you enjoyed the book. When I read it the first time, I was a reader who normally liked the hero and the heroine 🙂 But looking at it today, I think Marian Holcombe and the Count are more complex and fascinating characters.

  2. love the cover but why did the author make them so unappealing with physical traits such as “man hands”. And … he gets to keep both women in his life… now that’s a different approach since normally the main hero has to choose one or the other. I will put it on my tbr list. Not keeping up with reviews means… you are reading up a storm and we’re on the winning side with your reviews. keep them coming ! 🙂

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