Sitting on the train this morning I was thinking about Dorothy Whipple and wondering what it is about her books that makes them so readable and moreish. I had around 100 pages of They Were Sisters to go and the thought that it was dragging just a fraction had crept into my mind. At the same time I was already thinking about which of her books I could read next and when. I love the depth of the characters, the homlieness of the settings and the message of hope – that goodness will come through in the end.
They Were Sisters is the story of Lucy, Charlotte and Vera. Having lost their mother while still children, their personalities and family dynamics are established early and carried on into adulthood. Lucy the sensible carer, Vera the careless beauty and Charlotte who makes the mistake of marrying and bowing to a cruel and controlling man – Geoffrey. I cringed when reading about him and cringed even more when Charlotte could not stand up to him. In fact it is the choice of husband of each of the women that determines the course of their lives and the lives of their children.
This is the third of Dorothy Whipple’s books that I have read along with They Knew Mr Knight and Someone at a Distance which is my favourite and was my first Persephone. I discovered it while randomly reading a book blog a while ago and wish I could remember which one it was to thank them!
There has been a common theme of characters that are more innocent or good or weak, depending on how you look at it, being taken advantage of with awful results and then trying to rebuild their lives. I find the rebuilding phase of the stories very satisfying.
Overall I thought They Were Sisters was wonderful and I will miss not being part of their journey during mine tomorrow.
As for my next Dorothy Whipple read, I’m hoping to pick up The Priory from the library in a little while..