|Trade paperback, 721 pages|
Published 2004 (contents: 1864-66)
Acquired and read September 2012
by Wilkie Collins
With some five (I think) characters named Allan Armadale, this isn't the world's most straightforward novel. But then, what Wilkie Collins novel is? It's a solid, middleground Collins effort: this is no The Woman in White or The Moonstone, but at least it's not Heart and Science, either. Rather, this sits comfortably alongside No Name as a compelling mystery/thriller. It's got its odd elements-- the dream, the use of marriage laws, the ending-- but Lydia Gwilt is probably second only to Count Fosco in the pantheon of Collins villains (I'm always fascinated by how the Victorians depict female villainy), and I must admit to a sympathy for poor, put-upon Ozias Midwinter.