I'll be honest, when I set out to read this book, I was only mildly interested in the man, Wilkie Collins. I've read a couple of his books and liked them. Discovered that he knew Dickens (don't care for him), which made me curious about relationships between "celebrities" of the day. In all, it was just a faint curiosity that sent me looking for a biography. A free one. Do you get my sense of apathy?
That's why I'm so high on this book. It ended up being so fascinating that I was reading it in every spare moment. Wilkie Collins was so, normal! In fact, there is more than a mention of many well known people of the time, and this book made them all seem very human. I think that's what I really enjoyed about this one.
A word of warning first- I had initially attributed this e-book to Project Gutenberg, but when I went back to it, it wasn't there, and I panicked. I finally found my original source, which turns out was archive.org. It is an OCR copy, which is badly formatted at first, with footnotes interrupting the flow of text. About two thirds of the way through it, any attempt at fixing the typos was abandoned. This is usually a deal breaker for me, but I had to keep reading, and I'm making it a (lifelong?) project to put it right.
The book says there is little known about Wilkie, but ironically goes on to tell you a great deal. There is so much confusion about his "love life" that it gives you the facts, but lets you draw your own conclusions, so if that is what you're after, yes, you may be let down. But if you are interested in his writing and stage plays and interactions with people, then it is all there.
One final thing. If you are a fan of Dickens, this is also a very worthwhile read. Because the two were so close, it is about a 60/40 split in biography. As I said, I had no interest in Dickens before reading this. He seemed like an imaginary person to me, I couldn't relate to him or his writing. After reading this, I was just as interested in him. Not that I'll rush to read any more of his stuff than I already have, but it did make me see "The Invisible Woman," about Dickens and his mistress. As for Collins, he is firmly on my to read list for the year.