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The Queen of Hearts

Wilkie Collins

Book Overview: 

The elderly Brothers Owen, Morgan and Griffith live a quiet, retired life in the countryside, which is turned upside-down by Griffith's ward, the young Jessie Yelverton. Originally, her visit to them was to last only six weeks, but for a very certain reason, the gentlemen must find a way to prolong her visit and get Jessie to stay for ten more days. To make her stay, they promise to tell her an entertaining and exciting story each night.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I dare say. Forget all about it, my dear—forget all about it."

It was easier to give this advice than to make me follow it. For many nights after, I thought of nothing but the strange man who had kissed me and cried over me.

Who could he be? Somebody who loved me very much, and who was very sorry. My childish logic carried me to that length. But when I tried to think over all the grown-up gentlemen who loved me very much, I could never get on, to my own satisfaction, beyond my father and my Uncle George.


I was taken home on the appointed day to suffer the trial—a hard one even at my tender years—of witnessing my mother's passionate grief and my father's mute despair. I remember that the scene of our first meeting after Caroline's death was wisely and considerately shortened by my aunt, who took me out of the room. She seemed to have a confused desire to keep me from leaving he. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Although it took me months to finish reading this collection of short stories by Wilkie Collins, I still found most of it to be delightful. I just LOVED the framework of this book. Three old men are entertaining a young lady, Jessie Yelverton. (I believe one of the men is one of her guardians?)....more

Este libro lo compre en el Fondo de Cultura de la Ciudad de México, en uno de mis paseos por el eje central. Anteriormente una visita a México y específicamente a la zona del Palacio de Bellas Artes era un sinónimo de visitar librerías; primero de viejo, posteriormente las nuevas. Era una aventur...more

Griffith, a widower and retired lawyer, finds himself the sole legal guardian of Jessie, a spritly, young woman set on lighthearted adventure. According to her late father's will she must spend six weeks per year with her guardian if she is to gain full access to her inheritance. So she sets out...more

A remote castle in Wales inhabited by three older men is the last place on earth that a young, lively girl of 18 would want to spend time. And yet, when forced by circumstances to take up residence there for six weeks prior to coming of age, Jessie surprises them all by finding immense enjoyment...more


I’ve just finished reading The Queen of Hearts by Wilkie Collins. For this review, I want to talk about the structure of this book, without giving away any of the plots points of the stories themselves. Yes, stories (plural)—this book is ten short stories, included inside of a framing story.


I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Wilkie Collins’ writing!

In The Queen of Hearts, three elderly brothers host a young woman in their rambling old castle in South Wales, called The Glen Tower. The prescribed length of her stay is six weeks, but due to extenuating (spoilery) circumstances, the brother...more

I think he may have been paid by the word for this one. An excellent framing device, but much longer than necessary, and a very mixed collection of stories within it. One or two could have been excellent full length novels - Mr Dark is a funnier Sergeant Cuff - but some of them were just potboile...more

I must have read the description, really now. But when I got into the book and started recognizing parts of it as short stories I had read in some other collection of Collins', I was unaccountably annoyed. I probably resented rereading stories rather than having "new" material from an author who'...more

Interesting collection of 10 short stories, plus an extra one, equally interesting, that makes the frame of the other ten. The best stories, in my opinion, are the frequently antologized "The biter bit," plus "A plot in private life" and the frame story ("The Queen of Hearts").

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