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March 2019



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Weekend Reading

There's nothing on television and no Test Match until Thursday and that means no knitting. So, I had plenty of reading time over the weekend.

A Proper Education for Girls, Elaine Di Rollo. *L This is a rollicking good read, which gets off to a promisingly gothick start. An enormous Victorian pile stuffed to the rafters with 'the collection' and elderly relatives. A bullying father, more than half mad. Twin sisters who've had an extraordinary education. A doctor with terrifying ideas on how to 'treat' female maladies like independence of spirit. Will both girls manage to escape? The publishers haven’t done the author any favours with the horrible cover. Ignore it; the book is good fun.

Delay of Execution, Hazel Holt *L
The trouble with the Sheila Malory mysteries is that I read them too quickly! In this one, Mrs Malory is appointed literary executor of an old friend. She plans to write a biography but discovers things about the late author which she thinks should not be printed. (Shades of Nicola Beauman and Elizabeth Taylor!) She is not the only one with an interest in suppressing the truth and the result is another murder for her to investigate.

Someone at A Distance, Dorothy Whipple *L
I could hardly put this book down. It starts with an unusually convincing description of happy, prosperous middle class family life. The sudden way in which it comes crashing down is brilliantly explained. It’s tougher stuff than you’d expect; the effect on the teenage daughter is heartbreaking, although she is as manipulative in her own way as the villainess of the piece. Odd Girl Out by Elizabeth Jane Howard (1972) has many similarities with this book.

These books all came from the library and if ever I see the Whipple on the sale trolley, I'll snap it up. How I regret now selling this lovely first edition of another of her books.

Still, I was hard up at the time. Oh, besieged? More work on the house has just started and there's a man downstairs.


I do agree about the di Rollo cover, and the Whipple is terrific.
I'm very impressed by Dorothy Whipple.
A Proper Education is a fast read!
They all sound so interesting. What a gorgeous dustwrapper on the Whipple!
I love Dorothy Whipple's books and I always get cross about Virago and their Whipple line. www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/apr/26/featuresreviews.guardianreview2

Edited at 2009-07-27 05:28 pm (UTC)
Indeed. Poor critical judgement there from la Callil.
Glad to hear you thought Someone at a Distance was good. It's on my TBR pile and we seem to like/dislike the same Persephones.

Did you sell They Were Sisters without having read it first? (I'm afraid I could never do that. Not if it was a book I chose myself.)

I rather like the cover of A Proper Education for Girls. Maybe it looks worse in real life, I believe someone else complained about it too (dgr or random jottings).
I *loved* Someone at a Distance.

Did you sell They Were Sisters without having read it first?
No! It was part of a cache of 1940s & 50s novels I was lucky enough to buy. I thought They were Sisters was terrific but I knew Persephone were bringing it out and thought it was better to sell first. If you sell books (to pay for more books, of course), you will always have these regrets and you can't keep everything.

I find the cover vulgar, messy, misleading. Cornflower also disliked it.
I'm reading They Were Sisters at the moment and can hardly put it down.
I was just the same and luckily I've picked up another old copy.
I'm glad to hear you got another copy, it was such a shame you'd had to sell your first copy. I think Santa's bringing me a copy of Someone at a Distance and a friend has lent me 2 other books by Dorothy Whipple, so I'm all set for the next few weeks. Are you on Girlsown by the way? I notice we've got some mutual Livejournal friends.
Dorothy Whipple is a great discovery.

Yes, I'm a Girlsowner; there's quite a few of us here. Also on the Abbey Forum but I don't take much part in that.