The Woman in White – Reading Review

A delicious slow burning Victorian mystery that begins to grips you before you realise that you begin losing hours of your life to it.


Based in Victorian England, a young London drawing teacher is contracted to teach two young women (Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie) to draw in their Cumberland home. Quite by chance the night before departing for the house to he runs into a woman dressed in white, who was tutored as a child by Laura Fairlie’s mother.

“I have always held the old-fashioned opinion that the primary object of work of fiction should be to tell a story.”  

The plot is deliciously intricate, and intruiging from start to finish. Romance, comedy, and featuring a few outrageous characters that you absolutely want to meet (Marian Halcombe and Count Fosco) and above all the mystery of the Woman in White.


I love the use of first person, by via multiple characters (I never thought I would say that) as the characters supply testimonials through diaries and letters, and provide the action as it unfolds. The author cleverly changes each character to quite their guise, and the chapter as Laura Fairlie’s uncle is just hilarious.

Free at time of writing as an Amazon e-book –

The Woman in White: Wilkie Collins

There are even a few wise words for expats;

“When two members of a family or two intimate friends are separated, and one goes abroad and one remains at home, the return of the relative or friend who has been travelling always seems to place the relative or friend who has been staying at home at a painful disadvantage when the two first meet. The sudden encounter of the new thoughts and new habits eagerly gained in the one case, with the old thoughts and old habits passively preserved in the other, seems at first to part the sympathies of the most loving relatives and the fondest friends, and to set a sudden strangeness, unexpected by both and uncontrollable by both, between them on either side.”  

One thing the Woman in White does really show the versatility of e-book readers when you are away on holiday, and solves the shoes vs. books debate (always books in case you were wondering, Kiwis don’t really like shoes – but that’s a post for another day). I love books. But, for an electronic an item that is half the thickness of a paperback, you can take away over a thousand books – case in point, The Woman in White in paperback at 685 pages is apparently 2 inches thick. (If you are nostalgic for real lovely books, check this link out).

Now if you don’t mind terribly, “My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.”  

(Please note any links to Amazon are through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links and it adds nothing to the price of your book. This helps support my book addiction, so if you are interested in buying the book, please click through the top link)

%d bloggers like this: