October tbrI’ve got a single review today and it’s a bittersweet one, as it’s the last of the Dorothy Whipples published by Persephone, so now I’ve read them all. But I HAVE them all, so I can always re-read them! She’s such a good author, and this was another very involving read with an excellent heroine. Here goes …

Dorothy Whipple – “Because of the Lockwoods” (Persephone)

(25 December 2015 – from Ali)

The Hunters are socially inferior to the Lockwoods, mainly because Mr Hunter has had the misfortune to die, leaving a gentle, querulous wife and three young children. Mr Lockwood is compelled by his strong-minded wife to look after Mrs Hunter’s affairs, and does so unwillingly and with bad grace, all the while knowing that he has taken advantage of a missing document to give himself the opportunity to get one over on the family. Of course, he deludes himself into believing that this is his right, but with equal certainty, we know that that document is going to turn up at some stage …

Molly and Martin Hunter are forced into careers that they hate when they come of age, so as to support their mother, but Thea survives through to more years of schooling and even manages to get herself to France, although she pays the price by going with the dreadful Lockwood twins, taking on a teaching role and ending up in disgrace. Everything she and her siblings do is kept firmly in place by the social conventions until the socially ambitious Oliver Reade dares to try to move himself and them up in the world, mainly because he’s in love with Thea, who can’t see past his persistence to the kindness that lies beneath. Reade is a complex character, and all the more enjoyable for that.

Will Oliver win Thea over (or grind her down)? Will the dreadful Lockwoods get their comeuppance? Will the Hunters go under or be saved? There’s plenty of lovely detail about running a business and advancing oneself up the social strata while we find out in this long and satisfying novel – a good read.

This book will suit … anyone who loves a mid-century domestic novel, anyone with a weakness for a heroine who likes to study and make her own way in the world.

Watch this space for a mega-Book Confession which probably needs a post all of its own (oops).