Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

3069345  I saw a tweet about Dorothy Whipple from @Persephonebooks and realized that I had never read anything by her.  I picked up Someone at a Distance to rectify that situation.

This plot seems at first straightforward, the story of  the breakdown of a marriage and its far-reaching impacts.  The strength lies in the authenticity of the voices.  This was such an immersive novel.  I was pulled into the lives of Ellen and Avery and their children and of course the manipulative and cunning Louise with her long-suffering parents.   The characters are so well written that they stand as real people and the world built in the novel flows seamlessly around the reader.  The character of Ellen stands out to me as similar to one of Barbara Pym’s “Excellent Women” as she picks herself up and soldiers on with the business of family and life.  The line acknowledging  that hope is a dangerous thing was  particularly  perceptive. Themes of familial love, entitlement, forgiveness, and regret are all wrapped up in this extraordinarily well written novel.  Highly recommended read!

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