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04 September 2016 @ 09:59 pm
The Woman in White, Part 1  
One of my goals this year has been to read and cross off books from my To Read list. Since The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins has been on my list so long that I didn't remember what it's about or why I put it on my list, I had to read it. I'm about 30 pages in and want to write down what I think so far before any plot twists turn up. This novel started its publication as a serial in 1859 and I haven't read a lot of Victorian literature, so I'm not sure how it might turn out.

Walter Hartright is a drawing instructor in his late 20s who has just applied to and accepted a job posting of tutor for several months to two young women at an estate in Cumbria (northern England). On the night that he's thinking about the job offer and walking home to London, he meets a nervous woman all in white who makes him promise multiple times to escort her safely to London and leave her when she asks, and she's very relieved when he doesn't know a certain nobleman. He overhears several men after he leaves her and discovers she has escaped from...an asylum!

So far he's met only one of the young ladies who's described as being the most ladylike and wonderful person from the back, then when she turns around..."Never was the old conventional maxim, that Nature cannot err, more flatly contradicted--never was the fair promise of a lovely figure more strangely and startlingly belied by the face and head that crowned it." Marian Halcombe is described as "almost swarthy" with brown eyes and "thick, coal-black hair growing unusually low down on her forehead." Is she meant to be of partial African or southern European descent? We haven't met her half-sister yet but I have a feeling she'll be blonde and blue-eyed, or otherwise a stereotypically beautiful Englishwoman.

They also have an invalid uncle, no companions other than servants, and two female companions who left recently due to the presence of too many women and not enough social activities.

I don't have many guesses as to what will happen next, but there are almost 600 pages to go and I look forward to shenanigans.

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