The Woman in White: Victorian Literature Challenge

My view
What can I say about this book? It totally took me by surprise. Initially, I expected to be bored by it and the only reason I picked it up was for the challenge that I was determined to take part in. But I was hooked the moment I started. The Woman in White intrigued me, claimed my attention, and caused me to doubt as much as the protagonist Walter Hartright himself.

The Woman in White is said to be ‘one of the greatest mystery thrillers in the English language’ (back cover) and this is no understatement. I have always been a lover of all things mysterious (read all of Agatha Christie’s detective novels!), but this type of mystery thriller was new to me. The Victorian idea of mystery was theatrical and gothic. Just look at Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights; but The Woman in White lacks the gothic element (thank God!) and is more realistic. I enjoyed this book from start to finish and would recommend it to all who love mystery with romance.

The story is written by a series of narrators, with the narrator most directly involved in the story chosen at each point. Walter Hartright, a drawing master, has been engaged to instruct two young ladies in the art of sketching and painting at Limmeridge House. On the eve of his departure, he meets a strange young woman, all in white. Who is she? where is she from? what is she doing out alone so late at night? are the natural questions which occur to Walter. But it is her odd manner and her mention of Limmeridge House that strikes him as curious. She obviously knows the place and its occupants. But the mystery is to remain unsolved for the present as he is able to get no answer out of her.  She leaves him in a state of perplexity and curiosity.

The woman in white does not make her exit here; she is the impetus that guides the whole story. To discover her identity, her odd resemblance to Laura Fairlie, her mysterious messages, and her connections to the people he loves, leads Walter on. At Limmeridge House he meets Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe, his two students. A strong bond develops between them all.

Soon, a grievous mischance happens that tears everybody apart. Now it is up to Walter to bring them together and with that to bring about the fall of the Count and Sir Percival. Will he be successful is something you have to find out by reading! I’ve already told you the WHOLE story!


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