They Were Sisters
They Were Sisters is a compulsively readable but often harrowing novel by one of Persephone's best writers, who always manages to make the ordinary extraordinary,' writes Celia Brayfield. This, the fourth Dorothy Whipple novel republished, is, like the others, apparently gentle but has a very strong theme, in this case domestic violence. Three sisters marry very different men and the choices they make determine whether they will flourish, be tamed or be repressed. Lucy's husband is her beloved companion; Vera's husband bores her and she turns elsewhere; and Charlotte's husband is a bully who turns a high-spirited naive young girl into a deeply unhappy woman.
In the Independent on Sunday Charlie Lee-Potter commented that They Were Sisters 'exerts a menacing tone from start to finish. I eavesdropped on the lives of Lucy, Charlotte and Vera, compelled to go on but with a sense of simmering dread.' Salley Vickers in the Spectator described 'the sparkling achievements of this accomplished novelist, not the least of which is the ability - rarer today than it should be - simply to entertain.' And Elizabeth Day has called it 'a powerful portrayal of sisterly relationships and an emotionally coercive marriage.
The endpaper is 'Pattern of Anemones', a 1935 printed cotton crepe dress fabric manufactured by Calico Printers' Association, Manchester. It was thus manufactured in the part of the world in which Dorothy Whipple lived and wrote; and could have been worn by any of the three sisters but perhaps most especially by Vera.
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