I read this short novella for Wilkie in Winter. It was a bit fluffy and melodramatic so I was not surprised to learn from Helen at She Reads Novels that it was a novelization of a play written by Collins and Charles Dickens.
The story centers on Clara Burnham, a young woman with Second Sight who has reluctantly committed to marry an explorer named Richard Wardour. When the story begins Wardour has been gone quite a while and Clara, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Frank Aldersley. Just as Frank is about to undertake a voyage to the Arctic, Wardour returns, is rejected by Clara and promises to seek revenge on the man who stole her from him. When he learns that Frank is the man and that he is leaving the next day, Wardour manages to get himself hired on the same voyage and Clara’s worrying and terrible visions begin.
This was so short and lacking in plot and character development that it failed to hit that reading sweet spot for me. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours, but doesn’t come close to the brilliance of The Moonstone (which I read last year). I would probably only recommend this if you are a Collins die-hard or if you are looking for a short Victorian novel.
Now, on to The Woman in White!
Other thoughts on this book: