Synopsis from Goodreads: Magdalen Vanstone and her sister Norah learn the true meaning of social stigma in Victorian England only after the traumatic discovery that their dearly loved parents, whose sudden deaths have left them orphans, were not married at the time of their birth. Disinherited by law and brutally ousted from Combe-Raven, the idyllic country estate which has been their peaceful home since childhood, the two young women are left to fend for themselves. While the submissive Norah follows a path of duty and hardship as a governess, her high-spirited and rebellious younger sister has made other decisions. Determined to regain her rightful inheritance at any cost, Magdalen uses her unconventional beauty and dramatic talent in recklessly pursuing her revenge. Aided by the audacious swindler Captain Wragge, she braves a series of trials leading up to the climactic test: can she trade herself in marriage to the man she loathes?Written in the early 1860s, between The Woman in White and The Moonstone, No Name was rejected as immoral by critics of its time, but is today regarded as a novel of outstanding social insight, showing Collins at the height of his powers.This was one of those books, like Gone With the Wind, were you just weren't quite sure if you were supposed to be cheering for the heroine or not. However, I do like Magdalene Vanstone better than Scarlette O'Hara.
At the beginning I liked Magdalen a lot... she reminded me of myself sometimes. Norah annoyed somewhat me at the beginning... I thought she was snobby. Miss Garth, their governess.... I never could decide if I liked her or not. Sometimes I was okay with her and other times she just annoyed me. In the end I liked Norah a lot and I love how it was because of her they were able to regain their fortune. Magdalen.... ahhhh! I don't know! By the time I was in the middle of the novel or so and her plots were getting thicker than cement I felt like she was totally spiraling out of control and I wasn't even sure if I should hope for her plot to succeed or not. Thankfully there was a great villain in Mrs. Lecount... the housekeeper of Noell Vanstone (who was also a villain but in a different sense). With Mrs. Lecount having her own schemes to counteract Magdalen's you weren't sure who to cheer for but you felt like you should be cheering for someone! It was stressful! When Magdalen falls.... and oh does she fall, some might think she should have stayed down but I was glad Collins had her repent and rise back up and get her own happy ending and I was also very glad that Norah got her own happy ending considering the trials she went through so well even though she stayed so good and pure.
Overall I thought this was a great book. I've never been disappointed with Wilkie Collins' work. I know he wrote more books still so I have still a ways to go before I finish all of his books but with No Name I've completed all of the ones on my Classics Club list so it may be awhile before I read the rest of his books. :( Until then I'll savor the ones I've read so far. :)
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