They Were Sisters – Dorothy Whipple

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..

17 responses to “They Were Sisters – Dorothy Whipple

  1. I’ve never read any Whipple. Which would you suggest I begin with?

    • A Bookshelf Monstrosity – Someone at a Distance seems to be a favourite and I loved it. Whichever you choose – happy reading! I look forward to hearing how you get on.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I loved this book – but I love anything by Whipple. Her characterisation is always perfect and I always feel as if I am in the room with them. I think that Someone at a Distance is my favourite.

  3. Bloomsburybell – I know what you mean about being in the room with the characters, there is something very comforting about her books even though everything is not always rosy. So far Someone at a Distance is my favourite too. I felt the full force of what was going without needing all the nitty gritty details which was quite refreshing!

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  4. I am right in the middle of Someone At A Distance and, like you, find myself thinking about which of her books I will read next. This is definitely a book that is on my mind even when not reading it…thinking nonstop about this world Whipple has created that I can’t shake.

  5. Book Psmith – how lovely to be ensconsed in Someone At A Distance! Can’t wait to read your thoughts.

  6. After reading this post and the comments I have this dilemma: Do I finish the four books I have already started before opening up my Pesephone copy of The Priory, or do I just go ahead and start it, bringing my in progress total to five? I guess if I choose the latter approach I will see which one of the five wins the challenge for my attention.

  7. Thomas – Now that is a dilemma! If I was being selfish I would say pick The Priory as I haven’t read it and would love to know what you think of it! But then having four books on the go already is pretty impressive.

    I’m going to keep an eye out and see what you decide. Whenever you do get to it – enjoy!

    Thank you for commenting.

  8. Isn’t Whipple wonderful! I was thrilled to find that a trip across the pond coincided with a book chat at Persephone for Someone at a Distance…it was one of the highlights of my trip.

    I’m looking forward to reading They Were Sisters and They Knew Mr Knight once I’ve read a couple of books on my nightstand.

  9. Darlene – how wonderful a book chat at Persephone would have been! I have visited the shop once and thought it was gorgeous – not great for the bank balance but hey…

    Happy reading – I look forward to your thoughts.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I haven’t read any Whipple either. I keep seeing her name mentioned, so really should get round to getting one of her books soon. Thanks for reminding me about her

  11. Jackie – You’re welcome! I wonder if you will enjoy her stories.. I look forward to checking out your thoughts.

  12. My first Whipple (Someone at a Distance) is sitting in a TBR pile waiting for it’s turn. After reading your post I really want to read it sooner rather than later. 🙂


  13. I’ve read 6 Whipples and They Were Sisters is my favourite one.

  14. Tiina – Someone at a Distance is a wonderful choice – I have a feeling you will love it – enjoy!

  15. I love Dorothy Whipple! She’s one of my favourite authors. I never can decide my absolute favourite – I’d have to read them all back to back if I were to decide. An interesting project for a lazy summer, I think.

    I’ve just found your blog and I will be coming back!

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