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Book Souk

A bazaar crowded with random offerings. William Gibson/Henrik Ibsen. Zafon, Murakami, Van Gogh. A table of well-thumbed Louisa May Alcott. Shiny Urban Fantasy and an aromatic clutter of cookbooks.

Wilkie Collins: Armadale

Armadale - Wilkie Collins, John Sutherland

No spoilers here. Just a reaction.


It's been years since I read The Moonstone and The Woman in White. It seemed like time to revisit the other two Wilkie Collins books that are most often recommended: Armadale and No Name, so I'd added them to my Book Jar. 


Last Sunday, I pulled out the slip for Armadale, and spend my entire week's work commute so deeply immersed that I nearly missed my stop on two occasions. As thoroughly melodramatic and convoluted as my childhood beloved, Dark Shadows, often having me pause with the same mixture of the desire to laugh and an absolute need to know what happens next.


Don't judge the book by its summaries. In the end, what I loved in this book was the spectrum of characters that Collins developed so firmly beyond stereotype (hmm... Collins....I'm only now wondering if Wilkie is why Dan Curtis chose that name for the Dark Shadows family). The plot overflows with impossibility, but the people are richly believable and fiercely human. Lydia Gwilt is particularly astonishing, a villainess so well-developed that you can't stop yourself sympathizing with her. 


If this sounds like your kind of book, you can currently download it for free on Kindle!