Someone at a Distance
By Dorothy Whipple
The Short of It:
There’s nothing more tragic than a happy marriage, falling apart. BUT, given the subject matter, Someone at a Distance is wickedly good.
The Rest of It:
Ellen is the perfect housewife to Avery, and a doting mother to their two children Hugh and Anne. They live in a gorgeous house in a rural neighborhood just outside of London. Their lives are perfect, until Avery’s mother hires a French girl by the name of Louise to assist her with her day-to-day.
Louise is as venomous as they come. She’s conceited and has such grand ideas of what people think of her, that she considers herself much more than a personal assistant. No, she considers herself a member of the family and when she sets her sights on Avery, things go downhill quickly.
You would have said that there wasn’t a happier family anywhere. Yet disaster was sitting at the table in the form of the French girl. What a queer, chancy thing life was!
Someone at a Distance was a little slow in the beginning, but when Louise sinks her teeth into Avery the story picks up pace and I simply could not put it down. I cannot describe to you how evil Louise is. She’s probably one of the most well-written villains I’ve come across in quite a while. Perhaps her vile ways were accentuated given the calmness of dear Ellen, the wife, but it’s good storytelling nonetheless.
This is the third Persephone book I’ve read and I have to say, they are quite charming. I tend to read them in bits, here and there as they are just so pleasurable to read but once I got into this story I raced through it.
This would be a lovely book to curl-up with on a rainy day.
16 thoughts on “Review: Someone at a Distance”
I have never read a Persephone book, although I keep hearing they are worth reading.
Some of them have heavier topics but most are just pleasant reads. I just love how they are put together. High quality bindings, gorgeous cover art (if you go with the colored covers) and good writing. They make excellent gifts. I keep buying them for myself though.
Louise sounds like the kind of character I love to hate!
This looks excellent.
I own this one, but haven’t read it yet, so I only skimmed your review. And you know how much I like Whipple.
Oooh I love a truly nasty villain to hate!
Oh … it sounds deliciously horrible. I think I’ll have to read it!
I’ve never read one of these books but this one sure does sound good.
Your review has made me go ahead and order this one!! 😀
I’m becoming a fan of Persephone books myself. I was thinking that they publish mostly books from the early 20th century, but I’m not sure about that. Is this book contemporary? It sounds intriguing, and I jotted down the title.
> when Louise sinks her teeth into Avery the story picks up pace and I simply could not put it down. I cannot describe to you how evil Louise is. She’s probably one of the most well-written villains I’ve come across in quite a while.
I love a good villain 🙂
Wickedly good? I have got to pick this one up!
I was able to request a copy of this one from another library…thanks for the great review and I can’t wait to read it!
I really enjoyed this one, my first Persephone and I look forward to more Dorothy Whipple.