More on Poor Miss Finch, Sorry


I didn’t have time to fully digest having finished Poor Miss Finch before I raced off that bragging post that I’d finished it. I was so eager to entice others to read it I didn’t take due time thinking more about it. That will teach me to be such a vulgar thing.

Even though this is a truly RIPPING YARN, what made it exceptional at the time was the fact no one had really written from a blind person’s perspective before, or at least not with the sort of detail and thought Collins did. The passages written after Lucilla regains her sight (okay, cat out of bag partially but there’s MUCH MORE to it) are wonders of insightful prose. Collins describes her challenges with things like depth perception, and in thinking about it doesn’t that make perfect sense? Lucilla has to close her eyes, at first, just to make her way across a room. Distance has no meaning for her as she’d never seen it before, or hadn’t since before she was one year old.

Writing was a challenge, too, though she could write when she was blind. She knew how to form characters but couldn’t recognize them when she saw them, much less make them by use of her sight. In another very moving scene Lucilla is shown a round and a square object, and asked “which is round?” She couldn’t say. She’d never SEEN the concepts of round and square before. Again, she had to close her eyes and feel them both to know the answer.

Throughout all these “tests” Lucilla felt completely humiliated and stupid that she couldn’t do these very basic things, and declared she wished she were blind again. Really moving stuff, written with so much empathy and attention to detail.

That’s an even more exceptional dimension to Poor Miss Finch, in case anyone wasn’t swayed by the great storyline. I recommend it very, very highly.

Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins – Pt. 2

Poormissfinch_3 I raced to the end of Poor Miss Finch this afternoon, galloping to the finish.

If you read my earlier post you’ll know this is a book about a young blind woman named Lucilla Finch. She’s engaged to a man, Oscar Dubourg, who’s turned blue from the chemical silver nitrate, a remedy he’s taking to cure his epilepsy. Lucilla has always expressed a horror of “dark people,” and doesn’t know her fiance is BLUE. He, in turn, is torn as to whether or not he should even tell her, relying instead on dumb luck she won’t find out while he’s thinking over the matter.

Her fiance’s twin brother, Nugent, arrives on the scene. He falls in love with Lucilla basically on first sight, then recommends a German eye specialist who can cure her. From there on things get really, truly wild. The battle is joined between the two twins, one turning on the other, until the eventual climax…

OH, no, I’m not telling you that! Suffice to say it was a book that left me breathless, and this is a genuine RIPPING YARN of a book.

So, that’s Book # 2 for me this year, Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins.  I’ll give it four of five BLUE STARS.

Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins

Poormissfinch_2 Is this book ever heating up.

Here’s the scenario:

An Italian widow comes to live with the Finch family, to be a companion to the blind daughter who was the product of Rev. Finch’s marriage to his first wife, a woman who promptly died after the birth of little Lucilla. Lucilla was born with her sight, but at one year of age was struck blind.

Lucilla does very well for herself using her other senses, and takes justifiable delight and pride in her independence, yet the Finches feel she needs a companion with whom to share her days.  For one thing, the second Mrs. Finch has FOURTEEN CHILDREN to care for, and can’t keep watch on them and Lucilla at the same time. Enter her companion, whose real purpose in the book is to be the narrator of Lucilla’s life.

Lucilla falls in love with Oscar Dubourg, after hearing his voice one day. Eventually he also falls in love with the beautiful blind girl, but after a head injury suffered during a robbery at his shop (he’s a gold/silversmith who creates lovely sculptures, vases, etc.) he develops epilepsy, a fact that threatens his marital plans with Lucilla. One day a specialist tells Oscar he can, in fact, be cured, but the price is high. Silver nitrate will cure his epilepsy, but it will also turn him a dark blueish black color. He thinks to himself, his bride will never see his true color and his secret can be kept. But, it’s also true Lucilla has a horror of “dark people,” and her chief delight  upon first meeting Oscar was in hearing he was even more fair than she…

Dum, dum, dummmm……

So, things are coming along nicely until the day Oscar’s twin brother, Nugent, arrives. Nugent is an artist who’s been away in America (WHY he’s been away I won’t tell you…), and he and Oscar are very close. Lucilla’s completely jealous of Nugent’s place in Oscar’s heart, and when Nugent meets Lucilla he’s struck by her beauty.  Upon seeing her he also feels compelled to tell her companion he knows an eye specialist who may be able to restore Lucilla’s sight.

So, Oscar’s posed to marry Lucilla, and Oscar’s bright blueish/black. His epilepsy is nearly cured, and Lucilla’s none the wiser as to his “new look.” Nugent’s on the scene, ready to send away for the doctor who may or may not restore Lucilla’s sight…


That’s where I’m at in the book right now, and I really won’t spoil the plot by telling you any more than this. I’m just thrilled by the plot of this book, and though I can imagine what MAY happen, I don’t know what WILL…

Wilkiecollins_1 Here’s to William Wilkie Collins and this very satisfying read. It has me biting my nails off in consternation and nervousness. He’s seldom let me down with his books in the past, and I have a feeling this one may be one of those I’ll be recommending. I do know I can’t wait to find how all this turns out.