"The Woman in White" is a novel written by Wilkie Collins. It is considered one of the earliest examples of the mystery and sensation novel genres. The story revolves around the lives of two half-sisters, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe, and their encounters with a mysterious and enigmatic woman dressed in white, Anne Catherick.
The novel is presented through multiple narrators, each providing their perspective on the unfolding events. Walter Hartright, an art teacher, encounters the woman in white while on his way to Limmeridge House to teach Laura Fairlie. He becomes entangled in a complex web of secrets and deceptions as he tries to unravel the truth behind Anne Catherick's identity and her connection to the Fairlie family.
As the story progresses, it is revealed that Laura Fairlie is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde, a man with a dubious reputation who has financial motives for marrying her. Marian Halcombe, Laura's sharp-witted half-sister, becomes increasingly suspicious of Sir Percival's intentions and begins to investigate his background.
The novel delves into themes of identity, social constraints, mental health, and the struggles of women in Victorian society. It showcases the societal limitations placed on women, as well as the power dynamics between men and women in the 19th century.
Throughout the narrative, the plot twists and turns, unveiling hidden connections, uncovering long-buried secrets, and building a sense of suspense and intrigue. Collins skillfully employs different narrative voices and the use of documents like letters and diaries to create a layered and immersive storytelling experience.
"The Woman in White" is praised for its intricate plotting, well-developed characters, and its innovative narrative structure. It had a significant influence on the mystery genre and remains a classic work of Victorian literature that continues to captivate readers with its suspenseful storytelling and exploration of social themes.