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.