Armadale: By Wilkie Collins

March 31, 2009
By Anjana Rao BRONZE, Elkridge, Maryland
Anjana Rao BRONZE, Elkridge, Maryland
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

‘She smiled with a terrible irony… “I shall be your widow,” she said, “in half-an hour!”’

With these words thrilling down my spine, I knew Armadale was a book that I had to read. Although a somewhat daunting, almost seven hundred page tome, I guarantee that this is a page turner. I love reading books of any length, but if they don’t keep moving, I quickly lose interest. Armadale will not let you down- it has all the quintessential parts of a mystery novel- murder, poison, multiple identities, bigamy plus more! To me, what was most remarkable about the book was the character development. Collins weaves details with action, making each character real without holding the story back. The story will make you feel for the villains and loathe the heroes at times. Once I picked up the book I couldn’t stop.

The story begins on the deathbed of Mr. Allan Armadale, who writes a dying confession meant only for his son to see at eighteen. Mr. Armadale warns his son to stay away from his namesake, and other less than savory characters, including the speaker of the above quote, a certain red haired temptress Miss. Lydia Gwilt (although she isn’t mentioned by name until some time later). What follows could be considered a string of eerie coincidences or fate. Collins leaves it up to the reader to decide. Until the very end, the story twists and turns and leaves you with something to think about. I highly recommend this book, and if you like it would also suggest The Woman in White, another fast-paced mystery novel by Collins.

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