As it would happen, I've read a lot of Dickens and Collins this year as well as fictionalizations of both of their lives. I finished this up on the 17th, and I must say I enjoyed it more than the other Collins' I read this year (The Haunted Hotel).
I tried to break my reading down into the chapters as a serial reader of 1860 would have. I think that helped me in terms of the verbosity of the work. Its still not hard to see that Collins got paid by the word. I'd also be interested in seeing how the individual chapters paralleled with Collin's opium binges. I felt some chapters meandered and did not have much purpose, while others were so fast paced they had to be re-read to make sure I'd gotten all the information.
It was a good year end read for me, turned out to be my 100th book, which was my goal for the year. I was able to take my time with it. I'm just sad that more people don't seem to have finished it.