Sunday, 27 February 2011

High Wages: Initial Thoughts (Persephone Reading Weekend)

My first Whipple has proved to be an utterly charming read.  I'm 100 pages into the story and am absolutely captivated by Jane's independent mind, quiet determination and hunger for life.  Jane is almost nineteen and she is fortunate to secure a job as an assistant in a draper's shop in a market town in Lancashire.  There she makes friends with fellow assistant Maggie and her boyfriend Wilfrid, who works at the Free Library, and who develops a crush on Jane.  Wilfrid reintroduces Jane to the world of books and she finds her spirit and courage expanding through reading.  Jane also befriends Mrs Briggs, the wife of one of the partners of a cotton mill in the town, and we can see how the people around her are starting to shape her and open her up to a world that had previously appeared restricted.

I love the way Dorothy Whipple writes, the dialogue she uses and the dialects (which are not at all intrusive) that are sparingly interspersed.  She is skilled at painting a picture of a cotton mill town after the turn of the century and in portraying the different classes.  We are not only privy to Jane's thoughts but also to the thoughts of others in a higher social circle.

I can already tell that this book is going to be a favourite of mine.  It is evocative and entirely gripping.  I feel as though I am following Jane around during her morning duties or her ablutions at night.  I now finally understand the Whipple attraction and fully comprehend what other readers meant when they said that it was her writing style, rather than what actually occured, that captivated them.

I was hoping to have moved on to another Persephone today but I don't want to rush this beautiful book.  I want to savour it slowly and enjoy every minute that I spend in its company.  As the highly enjoyable Persephone Reading Weekend draws to a close I would like to thank all my fellow bloggers for such fantastic posts and recommendations.  And a special thank you to Claire and Verity for hosting yet another successful event.  It's been bliss!

Pop over to the Persephone Reading Weekend host blogs for interesting posts and fabulous competitions. Hosted by Claire and Verity.


Paperback Reader said...

Welcome to Team Whipple, Cristina! Thank you for your participation and enthusiasm this weekend.

Katherine said...

I loved this one when I read it last fall. Glad to see you enjoyed it, too. Whipple is one of my favorite authors!

Darlene said...

Oh yes, take your time with this one, Cristina! I remember actually pumping my fist in the air in triumph for Jane at one point. Dorothy Whipple has a brilliant way of writing women you really root for.

This weekend was bliss wasn't it!

Anonymous said...

This is such a fantastic book - I loved every page and didn't want it to end! Don't rush yourself!

Anonymous said...

I have kept seeing Whipple's name all over the posts this past weekend.

I am going to seek some out.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like such a wonderful book; I'm so happy I read about it here :)