So the ghostly figure which has haunted these pages, as it haunted my life, goes down into impenetrable gloom. Like a shadow she passes away in the loneliness of the dead.The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Novel: The woman in white
Published in: 1859
Genre: Fiction, Victorian, Mystery
Author: Wilkie Collins
The story starts with Pesca the friend of Walter Hartright enlightening him of a position as the drawing Mater in Limmeridge House, Cumberland for two young ladies. On the insistence of Walter’s friend, sister and mother he decides to fill the post and sets to his destination at night. On his way to Cumberland, Walter meets a woman dressed from head to toe in white on the streets. The woman makes him curious by her hesitating conversation of a Baronet whom she did not wish to name and her connection with Limmeridge house where Walter was to join as a drawing master. The mysterious lady asks Walter to assist her till she decides to walk away. The only piece of information Walter gets from the young lady was that she was on her way to London. On finding a cab, the woman in white gets into it and drives away from the place. Walter gets uncomfortable of doing something guilty by helping this strange lady. After the lady leave Walter begins his walk it was when he hears two men inquiring about spotting a white cladded lady who has escaped from an asylum and Walter was surprised to find the lady as the one who he met a few minutes before in the streets. Walter decides to be silent on the subject and conceals the fact of meeting the woman in white to the men. When Mr. Hartright enters Limmeridge house he was not welcomed by any of the inhabitants of the house instead he was greeted by a servant and was informed that they had retired for the night and would be meeting in the morning. The next day he was introduced to Miss Marianne Halcombe who got on very well in conversation with the young man. Walter explains her about the woman in white and the connection of hers with Limmeridge house. Marianne promises him to help him in it and introduces him to Miss. Laura Fairlie where he gets attracted to the heir of Limmeridge house. Miss Laura Fairlie who was already engaged to Sir Percival of whom the woman in white was referring to gets a letter one day from the woman in white regarding her future husband the baronet Sir Percival. Read the rest of the story to find out the mystery of Anne Catherick and Sir Percival which would change the lives of Marianne, Laura and Walter.
The major amount of the story is narrated through diary entries of several people such as Walter Hartright, Marianne and the people connected to them. Though the title Woman In White gives you the idea of its narration as a horror or ghost story, the Victorian novel does not belong to the category. It is a mystery and thriller novel which would suffice to your boredom. Though the story looked average to us, the plot seemed to be different from other gothic novels. Sir Percival’s and Anne Catherick’s(The woman in white) mystery haunts Laura, Marianne and Walter throughout the story and the revelation of it would be interesting and the ending would be unimaginable.
Anne Catherick who is referred as THE WOMAN IN WHITE in both the title and the story could be given a more worthy character in the plot as the title surrounds her. Anne’s sudden death and the author not making her spill the secrets of Sir Percival was unexpected and does not makes her character up to the point the readers would expect. Marianne was an ideal character in the book to look up to. Not being a beauty, she had the brain and the wits to exceed them. Her loyalty to her half sister and Walter was appreciable. The way she faces each and every problems and how she comes through them would be motivating. The innocence and patience of Laura and her devotion to Walter too would be interesting to read.
About the author:
Wilke Collins was an English novelist and was born on 1824. The author’s first work was a published memoir to his father. Antonina, The fall of Rome, Basil are some of his works. Wilkie Collins was a good friend of the author Charles Dickens and began an association with him in 1851. The author has collaborated with Charles Dickens on short stories and plays. The Woman in white was his fifth published novel in the year 1859.He was best known for mystery novels. The author’s life came to an end on the year 1889.