Armadale is one of my top three favorite Wilkie Collins’ books to date, the other two being The Woman in White and No Name. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate all of these books with a solid 9, if not close to the most perfect books that capture the imagination. Similar to The Woman in White this book was published in the 1860’s, and is Victorian fiction, but literature at its best, easy to read, entertaining and suspenseful. It’s similar to No Name in that the lead character’s name is important, and in this case Armadale is the name of two different men. While No Name‘s lead characters are women, male characters hold the leading roles in Armadale, except for a scheming female villain. And you really don’t know how things are going to turn out until the end.
This was written in Wilkie Collins’ signature style of using various character narratives and letters passed between characters as chapters throughout the book that provides new angles and perspectives. It has a death bed confession, a dream sequence, impersonation (which is also a theme in No Name), and I’ve told you about the villainous female character who is one of the many cunning characters who try to outwit each other to the end.
Armadale is English literature that is in the public domain, which means you can read or listen to it for free at Gutenberg.org or Librivox.org. This is one I highly recommend, so go to your quiet place and start ready or listening.