This is a review of the absolutely beautiful Penguin English Library edition. At 702 pages it was quite a beast to read but it had me at the start and, while difficult to keep plodding through I feel it was totally worth it.
It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, I’ll be honest about that. I was expecting more ‘ghosty’ and less crime! Truly, I thought this was a ghostly story but it was really nothing of the sort. It was crime, it was romance, it was a character building buffet. There were so many, very unique characters that made up this novel and while it was long, it was so very worth it.
Someone in a review on goodreads got it absolutely right, when this was written people didn’t have access to the media outlets we do now – TV, internet or even a radio and Wilkie Collins had to describe people and things so intricately so people knew the exact essence of it. Characters like Count Fosco had pages dedicated to their description because many readers of this book had never even encountered an Italian before, most readers hadn’t ventured from their county before, and Collins wanted to give them that moment, let them actually see this man.
Needless to say, the writing was amazing. It was a little lengthy, and bulky in places and I did feel that some of it wasn’t necessary, but the above statement I think clarifies why it could be a little hard going in parts and I can forgive it!