Events unfold in 1850 in the UK. Young artist from London Walter Harthright, thanks to the acquaintance of his friend, Professor Peski from Italy, is getting a job as a drawing teacher in Limmeridge in Coumuerlende.
Before leaving, Hartright goes to the suburbs of London to say goodbye to his sister and mother. He came home late on the hot, deserted streets and accidentally met an unusual woman – she was completely dressed in white. Then they walk together. When Walter started talking about his future trip and named the city in which to settle, an unfamiliar woman became agitated. She remembers the recently deceased Mrs. Fairley, the mistress of Limmeridge. Hartright catches a woman in a white cab. As soon as she disappeared from sight another stroller approached. The two who sat in it asked Walter about that same woman. As it turned out, later she escaped from a madhouse.
Upon his arrival in Limmeridge, Walter first gets acquainted with the locals. It was the brunette Marian Golcombe, the daughter of Mrs. Fairley, her half-sister on the maternal side of Laura Fairley, their uncle Frederick Fairley – the most terrible selfish and bachelor. It was he who suggested the place to Hartright. Walter shared with Marian the story of a stranger who was very interested in her and, thanks to the surviving letters of her mother, managed to find out that it was none other than Anna Katerik. Little Anna had much in common with Laura, which is why Mrs Fairley was
Even after so many years, Walter notes a striking similarity between them. Walter and Merian do not share their discovery with anyone. In the meantime, between the teacher and the student, Walter and Laura, feelings are burning. They do not tell each other about their love. They were from completely different backgrounds. Laura is financially secure, had a large inheritance and came from a noble family. In addition, she was already engaged to the young man whom her father had picked up. He was Baronet Percival. When Worcesley heard this name, he immediately remembered that he had already heard it from a woman in white. Then Hartright again meets Anna Caterik, this time in the cemetery, where she removes the grave of Mrs. Fairley.
Cateric tells Walter that it was the future fiancé of Laura who sent her to a madhouse and exposes him to the wilderness of hell. The day before, she had written it in an anonymous letter to Laura. Hartright says goodbye to Laura and the rest of the inhabitants of Limmeridge, dejected returns home to London, and then goes on a quest for adventure in Central America, along with an archaeological expedition.
When Lom’s fiancé arrives in Limmeridge, Marian asks him for an explanation about Anna. He gives her a letter from Anna’s mother-she must prove that all that happened was agreed with her and directed solely for the benefit of her daughter. Until the very end, Marian and Laura hope that the wedding for some reason does not take place, but this does not happen. Percival Glide and Laura Fairlie get married and leave to celebrate their honeymoon in Italy. Six months later, when they returned to England, they settled in Glade’s estate in Blakeoker Park. Marian Golcombe also comes to them. Together with the newlyweds, another couple come to England – a couple of Fosco. Countess Fosco accounted for Laura’s aunt. In her youth she was obstinate and ambitious, but now literally looks to her husband in the mouth. The fat Count Fosco is a very polite and polite man, he constantly compliments his wife and most of all he likes white mice, everywhere carrying them with him in a large cage. It is felt that he is a strong-willed and strong man.
Once, while walking near the house, Laura meets Anna Katerik. Anna once again asks Laura to be careful with her husband – he better not trust, he’s a traitor. Sir Percival needs money, he tries to persuade Laura to sign something without reading it. When she refuses, the husband begins to threaten her. Count Fosco amortizes the conflict. All of this charisma and courtesy of Sir Percival, with the help of which he achieved Laura, have now disappeared without a trace, giving way to rudeness and ridicule. He suspects his wife that she is betraying him with the teacher-artist. Count and Countess in every possible way do not give Marian somehow establish a connection with the attorney of the two Fairly.
Once they even gave drink to the attorney Marian, who was supposed to send the letter. Marian suspects that a conspiracy against Laura is maturing, and eavesdrops on what Percival and Count Fosco are talking about. She claims her suspicions, but she can not prevent the threat: she once listened to the conversation all night, and the next morning she fell ill with a severe cold. Referring to Marian’s disease, Count Fosco orders to carry the patient deep into the castle. Laura says that she went and deceived her, inviting her to visit Uncle Fairly. In London, Laura was taken to a lunatic asylum by presenting her as a former patient, Anna Katerik. At the same time in London, at the estate of her aunt, the fake lady Glide dies. Now Percival Glajda nothing prevents to get richness of the wife.
Recovered, Marian tries to understand what happened. She finds and frees Laura – she is now morally destroyed by the betrayal of a loved one and having lost her property and money. Walter returns from the journey. He visits the grave of Laura, and meets Marian there. Next to her stood Laura, looking one into one like Anna Caterik. Walter removes one common apartment for all three. Together with Marian, they help Laura to get back on its feet. Walter intends to return Laura her life and her money. It was obvious that Percival was afraid of discovering a secret, and that is why he hid Anna in a madhouse. But what was that secret? He goes to Anna’s mother. Despite the fact that Mrs. Caterik hates Percival and wishes him a speedy death, she refuses to help Walter. Then he overhears Mrs. Caterick’s conversation with Mr. Wansborough,
From the conversation it turns out that Glade’s parents were never officially married, it follows that he has no rights to be titled and to possess land. A long time ago, Glide had once got into the vestry and forged a record with the help of Mrs. Caterik. When her husband accused them of contact, Glide did not make excuses: he was afraid that the real goals of their meetings might open. Later he more than once financed Mrs. Katerik. He hated Anna because the girl dared to follow in the footsteps of her mother, declaring that she also knew the secret of Glade. Because of this, she found herself in a madhouse, where whatever they said would be considered void. Percival feels a threat from Walter and, not knowing that there is a duplicate, decides to burn the book of records. The whole church lights up, and in this fire he dies himself.
Count Fosco is hiding from justice. Once Walter visits the theater in the company of Professor Sands. There they meet the count. Walter notices how nervous the count is at the sight of the professor. However, Sands does not recognize him. Then Walter realizes that, perhaps, the Earl, like Sand, is a member of the same secret society. Then it is clear what the count was afraid of – the penalty for his apostasy, because he betrayed the whole brotherhood. Walter turns to the Sand for help. He sends a letter to the professor, which contains his full exposure and threat that if Walter does not return at a certain hour the next day, then he can not escape revenge. Securing himself as far as possible, Walter meets with Count Fosco and forces him to fix on paper what they, along with Glide, committed fraud. The Count complacently and enthusiastically spends this scribble all night,
Here it is, the problem with the dates: the death certificate was signed earlier than the letter of Frederick Fairley with the invitation to visit was sent. Based on these two documents, Walter proves that Laura is alive, and Anna Katerik’s body lies in the grave. The tombstone is being changed. The last request of Anna Katerik is accomplished: she is buried next to the beloved Mrs. Fairly.
Laura and Walter get married, life gradually flows into the right direction. Walter plunges into work. While passing the Seine River in Paris, he sees the body of Count Fosco being pulled out of the water. This is definitely suicide: before his death, the earl cut a piece of leather on his hand, where there was a brand of secret society. When Walter comes to London, he finds neither Laura, nor her little son, nor Marian. Instead of them lies a note: in it the wife asks not to worry and to come to Limmeridge. So he meets Laura and Marian. After his uncle died, his family estate was inherited by Laura. Her half-year-old kid is now one of the most generous babies in England.