The Woman in White opens with a mysterious encounter between artist Walter Hartright and an unnamed woman dressed entirely in white. Hartright runs into her late at night along the dark road from Hampstead Heath to London. The woman is clearly frightened, fleeing some unseen pursuer. She asks Hartright for directions, which he gives. He doesn’t know who she is, but his instinct tells him to help her. In her disconcerted ramblings, she tells him she had spent a brief portion of her youth in the country house he is planning to visit, and she warns him of an evil man he will soon encounter.
Reading Wilkie Collins was a revelation to me. How could I have taken so many English Lit. classes and not read this guy? This one starts out with a simple mystery: What happened to the missing jewel? Well, it takes lots of narrators to reach a conclusion, and we get quite a ride along the way. The strength of the book lies in the variety of narrative voices and the rich, compelling characters.
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