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!
That line, hope is a dangerous thing, is one I hear in a James McMurtry song. He sings “stories”. Good review, I haven’t read this one.