25 Dec 2010 – from Ali

It is lovely to be having a Persephone-fest now I’ve got up to my birthday and Christmas books in Mt TBR!

Whipple never disappoints, so adept is she at the tiny psychological moments and tipping points of family life. In this one, we find a perfectly nice woman who has the misfortune to have a weak husband and a strong enemy, whose life is effectively destroyed, even though she’s a kind and blameless figure (although sympathetically portrayed, she has a range of emotions and an interior life which stop her being a plaster saint), although Whipple’s strong sense of morality means that just deserts are never far away.  The villainess is wonderfully shallow and nasty and we long for her comeuppance, and there’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters – Mrs Beard in particular – and I needn’t have worried about the cat which is introduced early on.  Satisfying, page-turning and comforting in equal measure.