A group read with a bunch of Pantaloonless Buddies.
A young painter Walter Hartright unexpectedly received a good job offer. On his way home from his mother place he encountered a mysterious woman dressed in white walking alone who asked him for directions - in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere, mind you. The guy though that he would never see her again especially in his new place of employment where he taught a young woman painting. He fell in love with her - way beyond his social standing. It does not help much that her late father had a wish of her marring his friend. The latter has a very dark secret known to the Woman in White. We came full circle.
From the very beginning I have to say that it was entirely my fault I only rated the book with 3 stars. I expected a mystery similar to Moonstone written by the same author. Instead I found it to be a drama with some elements of mystery, horror, and Gothic.
On the positive side the book is quite easy to read for a Victorian novel. The villains were unexpectedly flashed out with some good sides in them and I found one of them to be the best character overall. From the good guys/girls side Marian Halcombe was as strong woman as it was possible in the time the book was written.
On the negative side Wilkie Collins is not exactly get-to-the-point kind of guy. The novel could be easily trimmed by one third at least without losing anything at all.
The main heroine and Walter Hartright's love interest suffers from a severe case of A Very Special Snowflake Syndrome. I have yet to see another equally useless character - male or female - in the literature; she has not done anything even remotely meaningful in the full length of the novel. According to Darwin's Evolution Theory she simply should not have survived.
In conclusion I would like to stress again that this is not a bad book, but not what I expected from it. I like Moonstone which I mentioned above much more.