I read this short novella for Wilkie in Winter. It was a bit fluffy and melodramatic so I was not surprised to learn from Helen at She Reads Novels that it was a novelization of a play written by Collins and Charles Dickens.
The story centers on Clara Burnham, a young woman with Second Sight who has reluctantly committed to marry an explorer named Richard Wardour. When the story begins Wardour has been gone quite a while and Clara, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Frank Aldersley. Just as Frank is about to undertake a voyage to the Arctic, Wardour returns, is rejected by Clara and promises to seek revenge on the man who stole her from him. When he learns that Frank is the man and that he is leaving the next day, Wardour manages to get himself hired on the same voyage and Clara’s worrying and terrible visions begin.
This was so short and lacking in plot and character development that it failed to hit that reading sweet spot for me. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours, but doesn’t come close to the brilliance of The Moonstone (which I read last year). I would probably only recommend this if you are a Collins die-hard or if you are looking for a short Victorian novel.
Now, on to The Woman in White!
Other thoughts on this book:
8 thoughts on “The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins”
Ever since reading The Woman in White I’m not sure if I want to go near another Collins – which is a shame because I loved The Moonstone too.
Hope you enjoy it more than I did.
You didn’t like The Woman in White?? I don’t think I’ve actually heard anyone ever say that. I did read it many, many years ago, but I remember next to nothing about it so I am reading it with a fresh brain.
I enjoyed this, but I agree that it was too short and undeveloped to come close to his longer novels. I wasn’t expecting too much from it, though, so I wasn’t disappointed. I love The Moonstone and The Woman in White!
I really wasn’t expecting much from it either and I did enjoy it. It is a nice bit of ‘entertainment’ reading. I would have loved more scenes set in the Arctic!
This does’t sound like one that I’ll be tempted to read, although the idea of a play co-written by Collins and Dickens does sound intriguing! I actually didn’t like the Moonstone that much (I felt like it was a bit too melodramatic for my taste), but I loved The Woman in White so I hope you enjoy that.
I thought parts of The Moonstone were weak, but I adored the narration by Gabriel Betteredge. He was a wonderful character and narrator! It looks like The Woman in White also has multiple narrators.
I will keep this in mind as a short Victorian story – they are so rare! but it’s not one I’m in a hurry to read. I’ve only read two books by Collins, The Moonstone (which I liked) and The Woman in White – I can’t remember anything about it, and I’m planning to re-read it this year.
Yes, they are! I appreciated that this was a slim novel. I am really looking forward to The Woman in White – I better get cracking as it is 700 pgs.
I’ve also heard that Armadale is good so I might give that a read at some point.