Wednesday, 31 August 2011

'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins (1868)

Synopsis: Rachel Verinder is bequeathed a yellow diamond on her 18th birthday. This might sound like a pretty nice gift but it's actually The Moonstone - which was looted from an Indian temple and is supposedly cursed. That very same night the diamond is stolen again and no-one in Rachel's household is beyond suspicion.

I believe this book is generally considered to be Collins' best work but I wouldn't go that far since I much prefer The Woman in White. I raced through that book in just a few days but The Moonstone took me a couple of weeks to finish. The Moonstone does have an intriguing plot, and the opening and closing sections of this book are great. Unfortunately the middle section lets the whole book down. This section often drags and gets quite tedious at times. Also, I found Rachel Verinder extremely irritating for some reason but I can't quite put my finger on why. The most likeable and sympathetic characters in this book for me were Gabriel Betteredge (with his very amusing Robinson Crusoe obsession), Ezra Jennings and Rosanna Spearman. Rosanna reminded me quite a bit of Victor Hugo's Eponine in Les Miserables. I wouldn't class this book as being a literary classic - at least not on the level of The Woman in White anyway - but overall the good sections in this book outweigh the not-so-good.

Rating: 3.5/5

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