Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre/Theme: British Women’s Fiction, pre-WW2, the Middle Class, Family Dynamics
Type/Source: Tradeback, Library (ILL Omaha NE, 3 week loan)
What It’s About: “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 naïve young girl into a deeply unhappy woman.” (From the online catalog.)
She understood as never before that God helps those who help themselves. It was not, as she used to interpret it, that God will only, he can only help those who help themselves. It was true of human help too.
I’ve had this book on my tbr for awhile now. Since I first discovered Persephone and thus discovered Whipple. Compelling. Comforting. Real. I have a friend I tried to arm wrestle to send this to me and I promised I would send it back to her unharmed, unmarked, as pristine as I found it but she wouldn’t part with it. Couldn’t take the risk. (I don’t blame her!)
Then/When I decided to check the Interlibrary Loan option at my library and wa la! They could get a copy! Unfortunately, it came in with 3 other books on 14 day loan that I had requested for TOB. SO I had to read those first, giving me only 1 week to finish this before it’s due date. But committed I was, emboldened to finish on time! AND, I was daring myself to read it with enjoyment in mind and not just to be done with it.
I gave myself a 65 page daily read consumption requirement — having a weekend helped a lot. And I finished it a day early; two days actually, if by due date, I have til end of day to return? I’m so proud of myself.
I did enjoy it, I wanted to sit and read. I managed to read through exciting television blasting in the room, I read in the car as a passenger, I read in 10 minute breaks here and there and I read while eating lunch. I know, I know, most readers do these things but I was on a mission and I enjoyed it so much.
Her vanity extended beyond the grave. Oddly enough, she was younger by several years than people had thought.
Lucy was the glue, the worry wart, the person who selflessly cared for everyone else. They married off the youngest sister — no, they “didn’t stop” Charlotte from being besotted to a jerk; she wouldn’t be told he was not a good catch. The pretty sister married someone who she thought she could walk all over and burn his money. Lucy married someone she could be friends with, that she was comfortable with and was a decent guy overall, if not the most impressive. (He could be … insensitive and unsupportive in voice but allowed Lucy to be Lucy and supported her decisions in action.)
Let the train-wrecks reach their doomed conclusions. Lucy could only pick up the pieces.
Immense forces of evil were at work in the world, but the well-disposed, those who wished for good were passive.
At the start of the 4th quarter… I mean, at about 75%, I realized that this is TOO OVER THE TOP! I mean come on. How could these 3 be sisters? of the same mother and father and environment, yadayadayada. They were SOOOOOO different from each other and they didn’t TALK to each other?
I don’t have sisters. I would assume that sisters would share more hardships and advice. Maybe not. “The Times!” Heck, I don’t know. Private business was private business. But I think DW went a bit to the extreme to capture everything that can go wrong in a marriage, all fault to everyone. Mainly, she just wanted to shine a light on the hardships and trapped feelings and realities of women, methinks, to not realize their strengths, to subsume to the society expectations and patriarchy. But, again, YOWZA. And sadly, SADLY, we still see these situations.
It was a fascinating look into the internal monologue of bad decisions. And love, there is still love and hope in this story.
Rating: Four slices of pie and extra real whipped cream. The only pie mentioned was pork pie. Because British.
“I can’t write fiction. Fiction seems trivial. Fact is too terrible.”From DW’s diary while attempting to write this novel.
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