They Were Sisters is my second Dorothy Whipple book, the edition that I read is part of a reprinting by Persephone Books. It is on the surface, the story of a family, originally a father, 3 boys and 3 girls. The focus is on the three sisters Lucy, Vera, and Charlotte and how their lives unfold through the choices they make and the limited power of middle class women at the time.
Dorothy Whipple’s writing is evocative and provides a voice for these women that feels real and is enduring in the mind of the reader. The story of how a woman’s life was determined by the man she married is laid out plainly and powerfully. As a reader, the sense of powerlessness comes through clearly. Charlotte’s fate is sealed by her marriage to Geoffrey, an abusive bully. His abuse is made clear through its effects on Charlotte and her children without any physical violence occurring in the book. Lucy’s inability to help her sister or her sister’s children is heartbreaking.
At the same time, there are also themes of responsibility, love in many forms, and hope. Lucy is responsible for her sister’s care after the death of her mother and often thinks in terms of choices and repercussions. Charlotte loves too much and Vera seeks love in “all the wrong places”. The novel ends on a bright spark of hope for the future even as the nation stands at the brink of WWII . Highly recommended read!
Morse’s Greatest Mystery and Other Stories is a set of short stories, some more like vignettes. Many of them are set in the Morse universe. I enjoyed Morse’s Greatest Mystery as a lovely look into Morse’s character, a Morse holiday story if you will. There is also a quite funny Holmes and Watson story included. I am not a huge short story fan, however I found this to be a good read, especially as there are no more Morse books to be had.