No Name by Wilkie Collins

No Name by Wilkie Collins was my lucky number 1 for the Classics Club Spin #6.

The official finish/posting date for this Spin is the 7th July and I can happily report that I finished this book with a month to spare! (Maybe I should put this ‘spare’ time to go use & finally finish Spin #5 – The Brothers Karamazov!!)

I read No Name with Melbourne on my Mind, who has not only finished the book, but also written her review. She makes a couple of fabulous character comments which made me laugh and nod my head in agreement. 

Captain Wragge lives firmly in the grey zones between right and wrong. 

Frank Clare is a jerky mcjerkface and I really wish it was possible to punch fictional characters in the face, because that’s what he deserves.

If you’d like to read the rest of her review please click on her name link above.

My edition of No Name, is prefaced by Wilkie with these words,

Here is one more book that depicts the struggle of a human creature, under those opposing influences of Good and Evil, which we have all felt, which we have all known.

To that end, Magdalen is one of the most frustrating fictional characters I’ve read for quite some time.

She is drawn sympathetically by Wilkie.
In the first scene we see all her good points through the eyes of the other characters; we can’t but help liking her. She’s a little headstrong and foolish in a Jo March/Marianne Dashwood kind of way – charming but silly.

However when she falls in love with the weak-kneed, opportunistic, self-centred Frank Clare we all reach a turning point in trusting Magdalen to make good choices.

Throughout the remainder of the book we watch her make bad situations worse, by her poor choices.

Wilkie shows us another way of managing their plight in the example of her sister, Norah. Like the Dashwood sister’s in Sense and Sensibility, we are shown two ways of coping with adversity.

Norah gets on with making a new life for herself, makes the best of the things and doesn’t complain. She is stoic, patient & forgiving.

Magdalen is a drama queen. She is vengeful, scheming & single-minded.

Despite all this, we still like Magdalen and feel sorry for her. Even as we are left wondering if her happy ending was a little bit more than she actually deserved!

There is much more to Wilkie than Moonstone and Woman in White. He wrote 19 novels altogether – years of reading pleasure ahead of me!

No Name also fulfills my Back to the Classics reading challenge & Chunksters reading challenge.


19 thoughts on “No Name by Wilkie Collins

  1. Good job, Brona! I finished my spin too. It must be easier finishing with a spin buddy though. I'll maybe try that approach next time. I've read The Woman in White but I've yet to read The Moonstone. Can you believe it?! I can't be considered a true Wilkie fan until I finish both, I'm sure. I enjoyed your review and will now add another Wilkie book to my TBR list!


  2. I have never read Wilkie Collins. Drama queens are always good to read about, exaggeratedly 'over the top' and act as though things are much worse than they really are. I even know a few 'drama queens'!Surpised that Collins wrote so many other novels than the Woman in White and Moonstone. I discoverd through reading many Zola books…that some of the ones I really enjoyed have laid low, under the reader's radar for so long! Great review and congrats on the spin!


  3. This will be my next Wilkie Collins – loved both The Moonstone and Woman in White! My spin book was The Bell Jar – finished over a month ago, but forgot today was the post date. I'd better get busy 😉


  4. I've been meaning to read something by Wilkie Collins for a long time. He keeps popping up in blog posts and conversations and book lists, so I guess that means it's time to move him to the top of the reading list. No Name sounds interesting so maybe I will start with that one. I just yesterday joined the Classic Club and I'm not yet familiar with the Spin thing but I will look into it and see what I need to do to participate. Right now I am sort of on a Tolstoy kick.


  5. I like both Jo March and Maryann Dashwood, so I'll have to put No Name on my list. I've yet to read anything by Wilkie.


  6. I usually love all Wilkie Collins…but this I now HAVE to read….it seems like a different fare from his \”Lady in White\” and \”The Moonstone\”!!


  7. I read Moonstone and LinW quite some time ago, but my memory tells me that they were more mystery, crime, thriller books whereas this one is definitely a drama or saga.


  8. Welcome to the classics club and thanks for stopping by. The spins are lots of fun and very social. Watch out for the next one – probably in a couple of months time. Tolstoy is not just a kick! His chunksters are a whole football match! Good luck 🙂


  9. Well now you've just got me all excited about Zola again Nancy! How am I going to read all these books (classics) & still stay on top of the new stuff for work!(Yes, I know, first world problem!)


  10. Ah, you were more sympathetic to Magdalen than I was. I did like her in the early stages as you say, but I really grew to dislike her intensely and so couldn't get up much concern as to whether she \”won\” in the end. Norah's more my kind of character – but then I always liked Elinor more than Marianne too…


  11. Yes, by the end, I wanted to give Magdalen a good shake (& Marianne too!) At least one feels that Jane Austen allows Marianne to learn from her mistakes and be guided by Elinor's more steady approach; I'm not sure that Magdalen learnt anything useful.


  12. I love the comparison of the two books (Austen and Collins) and it's a great one. I saw your comment on Fan Fictions review that I came back to read after finishing my own. I couldn't help but think of other Collins characters (from The Woman in White) but the Austen comparison with Marianne and Elinor is very astute. Thanks for sharing.


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