The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
"She looked so irresistibly beautiful as she said those brave words that no man alive could have steeled his heart against her." In love with the beautiful heiress Laura Fairlie, the impoverished art teacher Walter Hartright finds his romantic desires thwarted by her previous engagement to Sir Percival Glyde. But all is not as it seems with Sir Percival, as becomes clear when he arrives with his eccentric friend Count Fosco. The mystery and intrigue are further deepened by the ghostly appearances of a woman in white, apparently harbouring a secret that concerns Sir Percival's past. A tale of love, madness, deceit and redemption, boasting sublime Gothic settings and pulse-quickening suspense, The Woman in White was the first best-selling Victorian sensation novel, sparking off a huge trend in the fiction of the time with its compulsive, fascinating narrative.