Luckily, I had an hour's flight from Wellington to Auckland and then a four and a half hour flight from Auckland to Melbourne yesterday, and took advantage of the "please switch off your electronic devices" portions of the flight to finish The Moonstone.It took me a little while to get back into the swing of things, but ultimately, I loved it. It turned out that I remembered less of the plot than I thought I did at the half way point - I remembered that Franklin was partly to blame and that he was under the effects of opium at the time, but not who the ultimate culprit was. I'm fairly certain I gasped in surprise and confused the people sitting on either side of me on the plane...
I was highly suspicious of Ezra Jennings at first, but it wasn't long before his story gave me All The Feels. Sure, the whole "let's give Franklin opium again and see if he'll do exactly the same thing he did this time last year" plan was a wee bit contrivance-filled. I mean, what would they have done if they'd given Franklin the opium and he'd just taken a twelve hour nap?? But really, it's no more far fetched than Dickens and that case of spontaneous human combustion that he put into Bleak House!
My favourite thing, though, from the second half of the book was Sassy Betteridge. His queries in response to the way the house was to be set up for the experiment were fabulous, and I laughed throughout, particularly over the exploded buzzard, and who was to be responsible for making Franklin's room messy. Bless you, Wilkie, for creating such a magnificent character.
In summary, I loved pretty much every second of this read-along. It was a fantastic reminder for me of why I fell in love with Wilkie Collins' books way back in 2001, and I'm going to do my utmost to reread The Woman in White before the end of the year.
And finally, thanks to Ellie for organising the read-along!