The Woman in White 5: The Third Epoch (The Story Continued by Mrs. Catherick) - End
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This declaration from Fosco cracked me up; as he's narrating and obviously so impressed with his own cleverness, he says, "What a situation! I suggest it to the rising romance writers of England. I offer it, as totally new, to the worn-out dramatists of France." He's a great character too. Such a narcissist, such an actor. I loved when he was writing out the narrative and tossing the papers and quills behind him as he went.
I was a little concerned when it drifted off into the spy/espionage bits -- wasn't sure how that was going to work into the plot. But it made for such a good solution to Walter's dilemma and was played out well.
Like someone wrote in a review of this book -- why hadn't I ever heard of Collins before??
Now I'm itching to read some Dickens. It's been many years.
I do agree that Laura was quite one-dimensional and probably suffered in the narrative by not having authored any sections. I actually thought that Walter was going to propose to Marian rather than Laura...ah well, at least the great Fosco appreciated her fully!
I disagree that this book belittles women. A lot of the women Marian, Anne, Mrs. Michelson and even Laura I thought were very strong. Anne may have been afraid but after what she won't through I don't think that is meant to belittle her as much as make her mysterious at first and then allow us to believe her. Mrs. Michelson (and Fanny) may have made errors in judgement of other characters but they were very loyal and Mrs. Michelson stood up to Gylde, which takes courage. I don't think that I need to defend Marian but I think that people under appreciate Laura, she is quite young, torn away from her love and married to an abusive husband. I didn't think she was underdeveloped or belittled at all.
I think a large part of this book is that is empowers women and reflects the injustice in that society that women had to face. Due to the power that men have over women Laura's future was sacrificed by Mr. Fairlie when Marian obviously could have made better arrangements and both Anne and Laura were confined. I think a strong theme in this book is the legal power that Men had over women while women (like Marian) were in fact as able as men.
So yeah, my overall opinion: slow once you get to the third epoch, but a good message and overall empowering to women.
This turned out to be a much better book than I'd expected, and I can't believe I've finished already! I was a little confused with the spy parts myself, but it's not the most left-field plot twist I've ever seen.
For a bit of a laugh read the Wikipedia synopsis on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of it. As I remember, it was advertised as being "freely adapted" or some such. What were they thinking?
In terms of the end, the "Brotherhood" (mafia??) is too much - it reminded of The Moonstone's unlikely ending. It was a way to get the Count killed, I suppose, to allow for an ever-happy ending. Unnecessary in my opinion, especially since it gave Marian a true admirer!
Thoroughly enjoyed the book in the end, and glad I stuck through despite some lengthy passages.
I like the comments that have been left here, especially those about the women. I too loved Marion Halcombe. And I'm so glad that it ended so well, even though the mafia thing was a bit over the top as has been mentioned.
I wasn't bogged down in the third epoch. I was so interested in knowing how it would all come together that I found myself trying to find extra time to listen to my audiobook (i.e., doing extra chores). I had no idea which direction it would go and what the secret would be.
>13 theaelizabet: oh my, that musical sounds dreadful!