Sunday, February 3, 2013

Someone at a Distance

I loved this novel by Dorothy Whipple. Someone at a Distance kept me ruminating about the characters between readings, and it’s difficult for me to find literature (except for the classics) that keeps me engrossed for long. Like a delicious and irresistible meal, I knew that by racing through it I would reach the end all too soon. But I couldn’t help myself.

Dorothy Whipple is a terrific stylist, giving us a story as old as time about married love that falls apart when a single minded, ruthless female comes along. I found myself feeling deep affection for wife Ellen North when the French companion sets her cap for Ellen's husband, Avery. I could see the colors of the chintz chairs in this novel as well as Ellen's halo of soft brown hair. I even knew Avery very well until he surprised me down to my toes. And although paramour Louise was tasteless with her ambitious and cold one track mind, I enjoyed reading about all her French ways and thus, pondering anew the differences between the French and rest of the world.

Someone at a Distance is a Persephone Book selection, a wonderful British establishment that thankfully, has reprinted long forgotten yet marvelous books. If you haven't met Persephone yet, trawl around their website and select something good to read on these long cold winter nights:

Persephone Books are books to read tea with.


  1. Sounds like a very enjoyable read.

    I will have to add it to my list of must reads.


  2. I've been meaning to read this for ages, and your post has made me move it up the list! I do love Persephone Press too!

    Melusine x