I’ve been having a grand time participating in Persephone Reading Weekend which is being hosted by Claire and Verity (thank you so much for all of your hard work!). Thank you to everyone who helped me make a decision. I ended up selecting Someone At A Distance by Dorothy Whipple.
The story starts with introducing old Mrs. North who lives alone and is only visited by one of her children as the others don’t live nearby. Her son Avery is 43 and married to the nice and dependable Ellen. They have two children and although they try to visit Mrs. North as much as they can, it is never enough for her.
Mrs. North gets the idea of putting an ad for a companion and ends up with a French girl, Louise who will become indispensable to her. Louise is prickly, critical and finds fault with most things, but she provides companionship and that’s all that matters to Mrs. North.
I’m about half way through the novel and now things are really going to get complicated for the North family. Louise has decided to seduce Avery and let’s see if and how he falls for her.
I’m really loving this book. I love the way the author describes things, just simple and yet conveying such a perfect picture of a situation. For example, in this sentence Ellen North has gone to a hotel to visit some of the older residents that live there and as she makes her way to seeing everyone here is how she describes how she must act with the older ladies:
“The old ladies were like gentle briars in the path to Mrs. Brockington; you had to disentangle them very carefully, in case you hurt, not yourself, but them.”
Can’t you just picture her saying hi to everyone and sort of trying to end the conversations as gently as possible? Lovely.
Another thing that I’ve found quite funny about the book is that several times there have been mentions of age, Ellen is 42, and it is amusing to me to see how we now view women in their 40s. The media and Hollywood I think want us to think that the 40s are the new 30s or 20s but in this novel Ellen often references things with how wonderful that she can still run or etc. even though she is 42. Being that I’m 42 I guess I can say I’m glad I’m living in this day and age. Ha.
Anyway, I probably won’t finish my Persephone book this weekend but I promise to give you an update when I’m done. I’m off to run some errands but look forward to catching up on some blog reading later today.