Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett

I am currently reading, 'Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation' by Andrew Lycett. Just a quick update to let you know that you can expect a full review along with photographs and paintings of Wilkie Collins, his family members and friends including Charles Dickens and various Pre-Raphaelite friends!  I am very excited to meet Mr. Collins and find out more about his life as a man and perhaps the best Victorian era writer of all things Gothic! This is the man who wrote, 'The Woman in White' and 'Moonstone' after all!


1868, and bestselling author Wilkie Collins is hard at work on a new detective novel, The Moonstone. But he is weighed down by a mountain of problems – his own sickness, the death of his mother, and, most pressing, the announcement by his live-in mistress that she has tired of his relationship with another woman and intends to marry someone else. His solution is to increase his industrial intake of opium and knuckle down to writing the book T. S. Eliot called the ‘greatest’ English detective novel.

Of Wilkie’s domestic difficulties, not a word to the outside world: indeed, like his great friend Charles Dickens, he took pains to keep secret any detail of his ménage. There’s no doubt that the arrangement was unusual and, for Wilkie, precarious, particularly since his own books focused on uncovering such deeply held family secrets. Indeed, he was the master of the Victorian sensation novel, fiction that left readers on the edge of their seats as mysteries and revelations abounded.

In this colourful investigative portrait, Andrew Lycett draws Wilkie Collins out from the shadow of Charles Dickens. Wilkie is revealed as a brilliant, witty, friendly, contrary and sensual man, deeply committed to his work. Here he is given his rightful place at the centre of the literary, artistic and historical movements of his age.

Part biography, part history, part intimate family saga, Wilkie Collins brings to life one of England's greatest writers against the backdrop of Victorian London and all its complexities. It is a truly sensational story.

UK Hardcover, 544 pages
Published September 12th 2013 by Hutchinson
Thank you to Random House UK for my complimentary book in exchange for  a fair and accurate review. Although, 'Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation' is already out in the United Kingdom, it is yet to be released in U.S. hardcover.  
 Lastly, I have seen the movie The Invisible Woman about the relationship between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan played by Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones based upon the book of the same name by Claire Tomalin. Wilkie Collins is included in this movie and some aspects of his life are depicted as well. I will be giving my review of this movie soon as well!  


Kevin Marsh said…
Wow, and interesting article. If it worked for Wilkie, then perhaps I should try opium before writing the next part of my novel!

Thank you for sharing.
Kimberly Eve said…
Ha ha, you might need opium when dealing with your Mr. Mac. I know I would ;)