The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is one of my favorite books. The format of this story is a collection of diary entries, letters, and testimonies given by various characters in the book. Walter Hartright, a poor artist, was offered a job in Limmeridge House, and his life completely changed. To prove his story and find the truth about secrets and tragedies, he gathered these accounts surrounding him, the mysterious woman in white, and two sisters.

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It has elements reminiscent of Jane Austen with romance to both break your heart and fill it with joy. It has elements that remind me of Wuthering Heights with a dark atmosphere, fear, and mystery arising from a loveless marriage. This mystery grows into that like an Agatha Christie novel involving a secrets, an insane asylum, and a girl who may or may not be a ghost.

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"Darker and darker, he said; farther and farther yet. Death takes the good, the beautiful, and the young - and spares me. The Pestilence that wastes, the Arrow that strikes, the Sea that drowns, the Grave the closes over Love and Hope, are steps of my journey, and take me nearer and nearer to the End."

The book has themes of identity, as identity is confused, changed, disguised, and hidden constantly. There is always a mystery to uncover about who someone really is. It deals with the idea that judgement will always come to those who act, so one must always prepare. And what would a 19th century book be without conflict between duty and love?

It is considered to be the first sensationalist AND the first mystery novel, so it’s an important book in literary history. Somehow, a lot of people have never heard about it. This book is more than just thrilling or well-written. It’s innovative in its time, thought-provoking, and has been a classic nearly ever since it was published in Charles Dickens’ periodical and was wildly popular.

"The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared. Sympathies that lie too deep for words, too deep almost for thoughts, are touched, at such times, by other charms than those which the senses feel and which the resources of expression can realise. The mystery which underlies the beauty of women is never raised above the reach of all expression until it has claimed kindred with the deeper mystery in our own souls."

I hope you will give this book a chance the next time you're looking for a book to read! It's a bit lengthy, but it's an unforgettable book.