Dorothy Whipple wrote Greenbanks in 1932 and it was reprinted by Persephone Books in 2011. It is the second of nine novels that were all well received at the time..................Greenbanks was chosen as The Book Society Choice for that summer. Although written in 1932 it is set in the years before, during and after the Great War.
Novelist Hugh Walpole wrote about Greenbanks at length in The Book Society Magazine.
‘To put it plainly, in Dorothy Whipple's picture of a quite ordinary family before and after the war there is some of the best creation of living men and women that we have had for a number of years in the English novel. She is a novelist of true importance.' He went on: ‘I believe Greenbanks will be remembered for a long time to come because of the characters of two people in it, the grandmother Louisa and the granddaughter Rachel. In them Dorothy Whipple has performed splendidly the great job of the novelist, which is to increase for us infinitely the population of the living world. Every character in this quiet book is alive. Louisa is an old woman rather muddle-headed, generous, sometimes irresponsible, always governed by the emotions of a loving, anxious heart, which is at the same time never sentimental, who has become as real to me as any of the ladies in Cranford. Rachel is alive from the first instant. She, perhaps, is more of an achievement than Louisa, for kindly dear old women are frequently successful in novels, but a child who is real and charming and quite natural, moving through those difficult years from 10 to 18, cannot be easy to create. This is a quiet and a true book. It is also a beautiful book.
The book starts "The house was called Greenbanks,but there was no green to be seen today; all the garden was deep in snow"
It is Christmas day in Edwardian England and 19 people had gathered round the expanded table
"The leaves which had been taken out one by one as the family diminished were all put back today to accommodate the returned Ashtons and the husbands, wives and children"
The main characters in the story are Louisa and her granddaughter Rachel who is 4 years old at the beginning and at University at the end. It is a story of a daughter stuck in an unhappy marriage, a favourite son sent off to Africa by his jealous brother, a "companion" whose life was changed years before and other family members.
It shows how attitudes changed due to the First World War and the difference in ideas of what was "proper" between generations.
A good story which I enjoyed immensely and I'll have a look to see which of her other books are in the library stock.
Carola Dunn's new book is "The Corpse at the Crystal Palace" and is also set in the 1920's but that is the only similarity. This is the 23rd in a series featuring Daisy Dalrymple and her husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. These are light crime set among the rich and titled with Nannies, Butlers and Chauffeurs.
It is 1928 and Daisy takes her young cousins, step-daughter Belinda, her twins and their nannies to visit the Crystal Palace, but when Nanny Gilpin doesn't return from the Ladies room things start to be very strange. There's a dead man dressed as a Nanny in the conveniences (The first public Ladies Convenience in London) and Nanny Gilpin is in a pond and can't remember what happened.
The first book in this long series is Death at Wentwater Court which introduces the main characters.
A light quick read but historically correct.
Thank you for comments yesterday.
(Painting of big back bedroom has begun. A commentary on progress may ensue!)