The Moonstone read-a-long has ended and this time I actually managed to stay in schedule and finish the book! Hoorays all around.
Here is my half-way-there, a bit spoilerish post. In the second half of the book the narrators were no longer as eccentric as Gabriel Betteredge (with his self-help book Robinson Crusoe) and Drusilla Clack ("Satan under the tea table!"), so naturally the first half of the book was a lot funnier and also a lot more quotable than the second half. Let me demonstrate through a visual:
It takes quite some time until the disappearance of the diamond actually comes to the focus, but in the end it does, and just as many have said, the ending of the book is quite satisfactory. I think those who expect pure mystery out of The Moonstone might be a bit disappointed because it almost feels like solving the riddle is second rate, after all the drama and schenanigans; also, I usually cannot guess a culprit when I read and I even try avoid doing it because I want to be surprised, but in The Moonstone, it was kind of obvious who went after the stone. To me, anyway. So, it wasn't very surprising in the end, but it sure was satisfying.
Ezra Jennings was probably the most interesting narrator in the second half of the book, I took him as a different kind of martyr than Ms Clack - he did trigger a lot of sympathy with the situation that he was in and that led to the actions that he took. From others' reviews and remarks I've concluded that Rachel Verinder is not a very popular girl and even though I can understand the negative emotions she brings out, I think she is a good character who doesn't allow people use her as a carpet, so to say. I symphatised with her, being so young, in such a mess, with no proper guidance. From what I remember, being 17-18 years old, I wasn't exactly a pillar of morality and mature decisions myself, is what I guess I'm trying to say here.
Having read The Woman in White earlier this year, I can't help but compare the two books, and I have to say I liked The Woman in White better. One of the reasons is that with The Woman in White, I had yet no idea of the awesomeness of Wilkie's (I think we have all adopted the first name relationship with him) writing, so the delight was genuine; in case of The Moonstone, I had way high expectations. Secondly, I think there was more solid bunch of hilarious/kickass characters in The Woman in White (Frederik "Don't Bully Me!" Fairlie, Count Fosco - the kind you love and hate at the same time, of course Marian "Petticoats for Life!" Halcombe, Professor Pesca, Fosco's wife... looks like you could list all the characters here).
But overall, I was highly entertained by the Moonstone and gave it good 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you Ellie for organising, I really loved the event!
I think it's really interesting that all of us (so far as I can tell) went into this expecting something more focussed on the mystery of the Moonstone and yet were all happy with what we got in the end.ReplyDelete
I agree with you about the second half being less quotable but I still really enjoyed the writing and I adored the ending. I wasn't convinced that I was going to love it when the whole "opium induced sleepwalking" thing was being revealed but I was back on board after the epilogue. Generally, I was surprised by how easy The Moonstone was to read for something written in the Victorian era. All in all, a very successful read-along :)
I haven't read The Woman in White but I'm looking forward to more Wilkie in my future - so glad you recommend it!
I absolutely agree - when reading Wilkie's works you would not guess it's written that long ago. I think as a simple mystery that book would have been so much more lacluster, but with Wilkie's touches of humour and wandering off to drama it becomes much bigger.Delete
I'm also looking forward to my next Wilkie book :)
I loved that the drama was first and foremost in this book, that's what made it so exciting to read. I agree with you that Woman in White is better, though.ReplyDelete
Yeah, somewhere in the middle of the book I even forgot that there was actually a huge diamond and a theft involved :pDelete
I like drama and shenanigans every once in a while! This is definitely going on my Classics Club list (and maybe The Woman in White as well) which I really must re-commit to in the new year :)ReplyDelete
Good call :) I wish you good luck with the Classics Club list for next year :)Delete
I enjoyed the drama and shenanigans, even though the villain's identity didn't come as much of a surprise to me. I'd had him pegged as smarmy from his first appearance. I loved poor Ezra Jennings, and even though the opium-sleepwalk-recreation was ridiculous, it was hilarious because of Betteredge's passive-aggressiveness. I found a lot of quotes from that part of the book, and they were all from him.ReplyDelete
I also guessed the crook - it was the kind of person that just makes you very wary in general. Betteredge was SO passive aggressive there when Jennings wanted to conduct his experiment, it was hilarious :)Delete
I'm still reading the book ... :) but I enjoyed your review and agree that it seems Wilkie's intention was to have some fun with the drama and the characters. I haven't read the Woman in White, but it's interesting to hear that the female characters in that book are very different from Rachel Verinder (who I find so annoying right now).ReplyDelete
You probably have finished the book by now. Yes, I'd say the array of female characters was a lot more interesting in The Woman in White and I'd definitely recommend to try at some point.Delete
Man, I'm still halfway through. This one just hasn't clicked for me! I loved The Woman in White, so who knows.ReplyDelete
I think The Woman in White was more solid overall, with The Moonstone I loved the first half so much but the second half started dragging a tiny bit.Delete
Ok, I know I'm a little bit behind...ReplyDelete
It makes me very happy that you enjoyed the book and the readalong. I thought it was a brilliant month. The first half definitely was more quotable and funnier, mostly because of all the setting up of back stories and characters. I did enjoy the second half though and the way it got back to being a mystery novel. I was shocked by the culprit (I may be the only one) and I'm actually pleased I was shocked, it made the ending really good and explosive (in a subtle, Wilkie is amazing kinda way). Ezra was a beaut and I did forgive Rachel all her sins.
Since finishing The Moonstone I think my enthusiasm for Wilkie has skyrocketed and now knows no bounds! Thank you so much for joining in and I'm thinking of doing another #readWilkie next year too...
It was a great event. Also probably the first time I actually stuck to the schedule - I remember having tried readalongs before and not finishing the book on time (or at all...)Delete
I've only read two Wilkies, so I'd be up for another #readWilkie if it's something I haven't read :))
Thanks again for organising the event, Ellie!