My over all reaction to this book is mixed. I see the very acute psychological insight of the author and I admire her elegant prose style. I did begin to find the novel to lose its interest about half way through. I . Whipple's handling of how the breakup of the marriage effected their children is brilliant.
I think the part of the novel I liked best was the depiction of the French parents of Louise. The question remains open as to how such loving parents could produce such a nasty daughter. I guess in the context of 1952 this novel could have be seen as a bit of a slam on the French.
I do totally commend Persephone Classics for the very high production values show in this edition. I see now why people love their books so much.
Here is what they say about the author on their webpage
Born in 1893, Dorothy Whipple (née Stirrup) had an intensely happy childhood in Blackburn as part of the large family of a local architect. Her close friend George Owen having been killed in the first week of the war, for three years she worked as secretary to Henry Whipple, an educational administrator who was a widower twenty-four years her senior and whom she married in 1917. Their life was mostly spent in Nottingham; here she wrote Young Anne (1927), the first of nine extremely successful novels which included Greenbanks (1932) and The Priory (1939). Almost all her books were Book Society Choices or Recommendations and two of them, They Knew Mr Knight (1934) and They were Sisters (1943), were made into films. She also wrote short stories and two volumes of memoirs. Someone at a Distance (1953) was her last novel. Returning in her last years to Blackburn, Dorothy Whipple died there in 1966.
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I am glad I read this book. I would suggest you try to get a library copy of this book because I do think some will get a bit bored with it as I did around mid-point.