I first read The Moonstone as a teenager, after an adaptation of it had been on TV. I went on to read a few of Wilkie Collins’ other books, but this one has always been my favourite. I hope you enjoy your trip into a murky world of diamonds, thwarted passion, secrets and shaky ground.
It was said that when Wilkie Collins paused in the telling of his latest thriller, all of Victorian Britain held its breath. He was once told that his novels were read in “every back kitchen of England”. The remark was not meant as a compliment, but Wilkie Collins accepted it as such. He was a born storyteller and he wanted people, from all walks of life, to read his books. His literary models were Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas, Balzac and Dickens.
As a writer, he was a celebrity, paid enormous fees for his novels and friends with all the great literary men of his day. As a man, he was as mysterious as any of his books – secret mistresses and children, a double life that was kept from his public, dire health problems that turned him into a drug addict – all were a part of the life he hid from public gaze.
“The Moonstone is a page-turner, it catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular.” ― Carolyn Heilbrun, mystery writer
When Wilkie Collins sat down to write The Moonstone the detective novel did not exist as a literary form. His spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired this popular genre.
The Moonstone of the title is an enormous Hindu diamond that waxes and wanes in brilliance along with the light of the moon. When a young English woman inherits the Moonstone on her eighteenth birthday a period of turmoil, unhappiness, misunderstandings and ill-luck ensues. As the fate of the diamond is traced, the enthralling interplay of characters will hook you in.
This Literary Readers’ Guide is a real treat! In it I reveal intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. I identify the main characters and their roles, analyse the themes behind the story, and describe the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. Included are 8 thought-provoking discussion points, perfect for books clubs or just to get you thinking a bit harder yourself.
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