Thursday Tea (January 7): The Woman in White

Thursday Tea Thursday Tea is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. To play along, all you need is some tea, a book, and the answers to these questions: what tea are you drinking (and do you like it)? What book are you reading (and do you like it)? Tell us a little about your tea and your book, and whether or not the two go together.

The book: I have a slightly-less-than-mortal fear of books published before 1920, so it was with some trepidation that I signed up to do Leila‘s The Woman in White readalong. But then I figured why the heck not join? It’s a popular book, people (including some of my favorite authors) love it, and if it sucks I’ll just stop reading it. But here’s a twist: it doesn’t suck. And I’m LOVING it!

I’m about 70 pages into it (somewhere in the middle of the first epoch, I think), and I’m having a great time. It’s so NOT what I was expecting– I always think of books written in the 1800s as being dry, boring, and overly wordy (hi, Mr Dickens). But The Woman in White could totally pass for a book written in the 20th/21st century if you excused some of the Victorian vocabulary. It’s not boring at all, and it’s even a little bit funny! That scene with the effeminate art lover- Mr Fairlie– was just so OVER THE TOP I couldn’t help but giggle.

The atmosphere is really great, too. It’s not really gothic, not totally, not yet, but it’s got that whole “soon things will get creepy and suspenseful” feel to it. (Just read the back of the book and that whole thing? Makes this a “sensation novel”. First time I think I’ve come across one of those.) And I love Marian Halcome, who’s a rather atypical Victorian heroine (I don’t see her fainting any time soon, if you know what I mean). I like how she’s described as graceful and yet ugly and she doesn’t wear stays (i.e. corsets) and she’s intelligent and not at all into Victorian propriety, though she does have manners and isn’t brutish. The other protagonist, Walter Hartright, is kinda boring me, but I think that’s because a) he tends to stay in the background, even in conversations with other characters, and b) he can’t hold a candle to the vibrancy of Marian. He does have some nice things to say, though it’s kinda obvious it’s actually Wilkie Collins saying them through his character.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I’ll save it for my review. Though I suppose you could think of this post as Review Part 1!

The tea: I had a lovely dirty chai from Satellite today. A dirty chai is, uh, chai with some shots of espresso in it. It sounds disgusting, but actually I find Satellite’s chai drinks overly sweet, and the espresso provides just enough bitterness to counteract that and make the whole thing delicious. Totally expensive, though.

Do they go together? Uh. Well, when I Googled “tea and coffee mixed together victorian” I didn’t get anything, so they probably didn’t have a dirty chai drink back in the Victorian era. (Or else my Google-fu is weaker than I thought.) On the other hand, I think a dirty chai would be something Marian would want to drink, if they did have them. But maybe I’m projecting!

What are you drinking/reading this Thursday?

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0 thoughts on “Thursday Tea (January 7): The Woman in White”

  1. I’m playing this week here.

    I’ve never heard of a dirty chai, but you’ve got me curious. I’ll have to try one some day.

    I have Woman in White on audio, and I’ve been putting it off, now I feel that I should really get to it soon.

    I love that you Googled the chai! Too funny.

  2. Stop picking on Mr Dicken – he trys hard!;)

    And Waletr is dull, but he is also heroic and later events might make any girl fall for him I suppose.

  3. Oh, I think Walter is way too snarky (when he’s not being Tortured About Thwarted Love) to be boring! But it’s so true that Marian is a scene stealer.

    Glad you’re enjoying it! And now I’ll have to make myself some tea…

  4. It seems that a lot of people really like this book! I have only read one Wilkie Collins but I think I’ll give The Moonstone a try, as I have that on my shelf.

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