Saturday, 9 April 2011

High Wages


I finished this beautiful Persephone book early last month as part of Persephone Reading Week and have been meaning to share my verdict for quite a while.  The plot and my initial thoughts on the novel are chronicled here.  This novel has been a perfect introduction to Dorothy Whipple and this is now one of my favourite Persephones.

It is a charming, heart-warming read with enough daily ruptures and minor occurrences to keep things interesting.  The main protagonist, Jane, is a worthy heroine - head-strong, independent, hungry for knowledge and graced with a kind heart.  The novel started off very cosily with Jane fortuitously securing a position at a draper's and we learn of her ambition to own her own clothing store.  The characters surrounding Jane are all realistically and skilfully drawn so that you feel as though you are right there with Jane.
 
Source
The book progresses through Jane's friendships and her ultimate independence but then it takes an unusual turn with an unexpected and complicated romance.  I wasn't too sure about Jane's choice (I can't say more or I'll ruin the surprise element) and I found myself feeling quite anxious for her and hoping that she would come to her senses.  There is also one character who appears a little creepy in the beginning but he improves as the novel progresses, although I think that Whipple was a bit harsh with him by inflicting quite an injury.  Whipple certainly manipulated my emotions towards the end, which just goes to show what a superb writer she is.

I find myself wanting to read more Whipple but I am without any other of her novels... I must try to remedy that.  I have a copy of Someone at a Distance in the UK (the beautiful Persephone Classics edition) but I fear that I shall be in for constant heart tugging with that one.  Any suggestions on what should be my next Whipple fix?

Dorothy Whipple


16 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

So happy to read you thoughts on the luttle treasure. Hope to read it soon:)

Darlene said...

Oh I had the same feelings about wanting to shake Jane and will her to hold on to her independance! Any story that gets me yelling at a character as I read along is a great experience though.

I have yet to read a bad Whipple so I don't think you can lose, Cristina. Someone at a Distance is fabulous but the character, Louise...well, I spent some time yelling at her too. What a so and so!

FleurFisher said...

Like Darlene, I wanted to shake Jane, but isn't it lovely to find an author who makes you care about her characters so?

Darlene said...

Really, I can spell....um, that should be 'independence'.

Mrs. B. said...

I love Dorothy Whipple. Though most people would say their favorite is Someone at a Distance, mine is They Were Sisters. I recommend you read that one next.

lyn said...

I agree with Mrs B, They Were Sisters is wonderful. Although, if you wanted to shake Jane (so did I) wait until you meet these sisters & their husbands! I can't wait for Persephone to reprint more Whipple.

Mystica said...

Sadly no Whipple on the horizon yet but it will come eventually!

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

I really want to read High Wages. In fact I'm going to try and visit the shop soon to buy a gift so I shall treat myself to it then.

StuckInABook said...

Of those I've read, Someone at a Distance is easily the best... I think you'd love it!

Rose said...

The only Whipple I've read was They Were Sisters which did make for a good read and great conversation with the book club girls.

verity said...

I think this is my favourite Whipple.

Karen K. said...

I've read The Priory and Someone at a Distance and I loved both. I have three more Persephone Whipples owned and unread, and another one, Because of the Lockwoods, on interlibrary loan (I've heard it's going to be reissued by Persephone next year). I can't decide if I should read it now or return it unread and stretch them out a little -- I might be very sad when I've finished them all.

motheretc said...

I haven't read any Whipple yet, and am itching to read this one. I need to get my hands on a copy! I also love the vintage Vogue cover!

Cristina (Rochester Reader) said...

Thank you for all your suggestions and helpful comments. It seems I really can't go wrong with Whipple so maybe it'll be 'Someone at a Distance' when I return to the UK as it's on my shelf over there. I think I'm going to have to start collecting Persephone Whipples from now on :-)

aliterarywayfarer said...

I just read High Wages, and it wasn't my favourite Whipple. In fact, I was quite disappointed. I really liked Jane, but I found the concluding romance disappointing.

Having said that, Whipple is one of my favourite authors, and I think you should definitely read another one of her works. I would recommend They Were Sisters or Because of the Lockwoods (they're my favourite Whipple's), but They Knew Mr. Knight and The Priory are both good, too.

mary said...

Greenbanks is coming soon and that's one of her best.