Published in: 1856
Edition read: E-book
The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.
My bad, I thought this was a horror book, not a mystery. I was basing this entirely on the urban legend of the woman in white (a dead woman crying over her dead children, sometimes murderous ghost bent on killing unfaithful husbands, etc). It isn’t that though, this novel is a mystery about two women who look alike, one who dresses entirely in white and is seen as a lunatic, and the mystery of one of them dying in the other one’s place.
Soo… yeah. It’s not an awful book, but it’s not good either. It’s just meh. The mystery is drawn out, the story is told from multiple perspectives, the characters are decently fleshed out but most of them are just so horrid that I don’t want to read about them.
I guess that back in its day, it would have been an exciting suspenseful novel- because back then, they had nothing else exciting to compare it to. These days, novels like these cannot really compete (in my opinion) because there is just so much more out there.
Still, it’s rated as one of the greatest novels of all times, so I am glad I read it. I just wish I’d read a blurb somewhere before starting the book, because honestly, I was expecting something completely different and it took me a good 200 pages to realise that no, no murderous ghosts were going to turn up in this book.
The woman in white rating: 4/10
Would I re-read it? No
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of suspense novels and mysteries, fans of 19th century fictions, fans of classic novels or anyone wanting to read one of those books on the ‘greatest novels ever written’ lists, etc.
Free download at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/583