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Publisher's Summary

Young Walter Hartright meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the 19th century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall ever since.

From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.

Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing-master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins's psychological thriller has never been out of print since its publication in 1860.

While Collins's other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed "Author of The Woman in White."

Public Domain (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Classics, 2011

"Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit." (Dorothy L. Sayers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JGrace
  • 2011-06-29

Another multi-cast winner

his famous nineteenth century novel is the perfect choice for a multi-cast reading, and this is a wonderful production. Almost 26 hours long, Roger Rees, Rosalyn Lander, John Lee and Judy Geeson create every character distinctly as the author intended. Originally published as a serial, each character tells their own part of the mystery as if they are giving testimony in a court of law. The sense of mystery, tension and horror increases with every change of perspective until the final d??nouement.

The structure of this novel seemed amazingly modern. Had it not been for the jarring racial and social stereotypes sprinkled throughout the book, I could have believed that it was historical fiction written by a contemporary author. After many suspenseful twists and turns of the plot, Collins wraps up all of the loose ends and comes to a mostly satisfying happily ever after. It only left this twenty-first century reader with one unanswered question; how could Walter Hartright possibly prefer the vapid Laura to the courageous Marian?

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elana
  • 2012-05-15

Wicked Dastardly Fun



If you are a fan of mysteries, detective stories and/or British storytelling, this book is for you.

I gave it a five star rating for all categories. The performances were delicious, the story was engaging and the characters were well-crafted, and multi-dimensional:The brilliant but evil Count Fosco, the worthless Uncle Frederick Fairlie, and of course the love story between Walter and Laura.

The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end and the performances are stellar. Every time I turned on my iPod it felt like I was getting a front row seat at the hottest show on Broadway.



16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen Martin
  • 2012-06-30

Most enjoyable.

Where does The Woman in White rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Who knew Charles Dickens had a more talented contemporary. I thank Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston for leading me to this book in their last Pendergast saga. Great book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marian Holcombe is the pivotal character. Without her love and devotion to her sister the plot never works.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Count Fosco - so pretentious and done so well by the narrator.

Any additional comments?

As is Dickens, this should be required reading in high school. Better characters, better story, less lengthy descriptions.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 2012-02-28

More Captivating than Dickens

Who was your favorite character and why?

The cast of characters all read by believable and passionate voice actors. Each one of them brings back to this period.

Any additional comments?

This was the most captivating and refreshing work of 'victorian' fiction I have read in a while. While I found Dickens overly descriptive and dry, this work is fresh! It appeals to the 'sensational' style of today's movies while encapsulating the essence of the time period. I would classify this as a pure action\adventure\romance that everyone should listen to.

The story can start off slow... don't let this fool you. If you aren't captured by the end of the first narrative, you probably won't like it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Connie
  • 2011-11-07

Wonderful!

What did you love best about The Woman in White?

It's timeless. Although it was written in 1859 it stands the test of time.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This book is written as first person accounts by several different characters. Having a different narrator for each character really made it enjoyable!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Troy
  • 2013-10-17

A Slow Burn

My understanding is that this book is one of the great early detective / suspense novels. I guess I'll have to agree to disagree with the critics on this one. The performances in this are very well done, and I can certainly find no fault with that. Likewise, the prose is elegantly written, so it's not the writing that kills it. The problem lies in a painfully slow buildup. The payoff is ultimately well executed, but it takes far too long to get there. Normally I can appreciate a slow burn like this, but in this case something just didn't work for me. This is perhaps one of the few times where I can claim that maybe if the storytelling had been reined in by about a third that it might have been a better read. Still, I do appreciate the writing style of good Gothic prose, so it was still worth it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rhonda
  • 2012-08-27

Enthralling

Would you listen to The Woman in White again? Why?

Not likely. Too many other books out there to go back and re-listen.

What other book might you compare The Woman in White to and why?

Like a great Dickens novel--a gallery of sharply drawn characters, class distinctions, mistaken identities, mysterious strangers, an earnest hero, star-crossed lovers, amazing coincidences.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene with Marion Holcombe in it. She was a liberated woman for her time.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was a bit exasperated during the last quarter of the book as the author seemed to drag the story out interminably. I think this was because it was first published as a serialized novel and he and/or his publisher and/or readers simply didn't want to let a good story go.

Any additional comments?

A groundbreaking novel for its time--the first amateur sleuthing team--and interesting as the forerunner of so many later novels in this genre. Hugely entertaining and expertly narrated by a team of fine actors.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • 2012-01-23

A long listen but a good one.

The fact that this book was originally published in 1860 was enticing. True to the time, many words were used when few would do. In spite of that, the excellent narration carried the day. The writing brought to mind the hyper-emotion of opera and could have been just too much to listen to but the narrators did an outstanding job of portraying that emotion while not wearing out the listener. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JohnWells
  • 2012-03-04

Excellent Book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - Great Thriller

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end of the book was the best, great climax.

Any additional comments?

The book and narrator were great.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janna Wong Healy
  • 2013-07-29

Extraordinary Book!

I don't know how this book escaped me all these years (and me...an English major!) but I am so glad I finally got to it. Written in 1859, this is the type of mystery-thriller that isn't attempted anymore. It is a complex and detailed story that combines nefarious and mysterious behavior while ultimately proving that love conquers all.

This is the story of Walter Hartright, a common artist who finds a woman in dressed in white on a solitary London road at midnight, begging for his help. It describes the quagmire Walter falls into because of his kindness to this woman -- a quagmire that takes him across the land to uncover the mystery of the woman in white. Along the way, he encounters an evil count, a greedy baronet, a beautiful lookalike, a handsome older sister and many other intriguing characters.

It's long and involved, sometimes convoluted, with a large cast of characters and lots of moving pieces...but everything works with a rhythm that hums perfectly from page 1 all the way to the end. And, even if you think a character or an action will have no bearing on the story, think again! Considered one of literature's first mystery novels, Wilkie Collins carefully plotted and planned each movement of every character so all the puzzle pieces coalesce into a perfect whole.

It's exciting and fun, somewhat challenging at times, but well worth the effort. In addition, the audio performances are wonderful...this was a real treat to listen to and I was so sorry when it ended.

If you love mysteries, if you love villains, if you love love...you'll love The Woman in White.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful