Young Anne by Dorothy Whipple – review

Published by Persephone Books

Publication date – 19 April 2018

Source – review copy

Young Anne follows the life of Anne Pritchard from a young girl of five to a grown woman in her early twenties. The story shows Anne’s early years, her time at school, falling in love and her first job. There are highs and lows dealt with compassionately and with a deftness of hand that makes the story feel all the more true. This is a story about a life. There are no great reveals, action scenes or taut moments. It could be said that nothing much happens but Dorothy Whipple wrote in such a way that she made the reader invested in the characters. She wrote about growing up, about finding your feet, about first love and relationship issues in such an engaging, often lively, way that the reader can’t help but be drawn into the story. Anne’s life has a similar arc to Dorothy’s and the tone of the novel shows that sometime Anne and Dorothy  are almost one person. This sense of connection between creator and creation adds a weight to the story, making the reader all the more invested in the story.

Anne starts out as a simple character but as the story progresses the reader sees a more complex persona, one who is coming to terms with the changes in her circumstances. She doesn’t have a particularly loving upbringing, with a strict father and a rather uninterested mother. The love she finds in the family maid, Emily, who remains a constant throughout the novel. We see that Anne has flashes of frustration at her position in society, for example she wonders at one point why she must be the one to fold laundry and pick up after her brothers, why it was perceived as women’s work, as it was at that time. Later there are moments of quiet, understated romance, of expressions of feelings that could almost pass the young protagonist by, but which are told by an older, perhaps wiser woman in a way that shows the underlying intentions of the person behind those acts. They have weight to the story, one which becomes more apparent as the tale progresses.

Anne is not always a likeable character. There are times when her actions show her naivety, an impetuous nature that has laid dormant for a long time. It is as she gets older that we see more growth from Anne, and the pains that go with it.

There are flashes of humour throughout, with some standout lines of prose that hint at the strength of work that could still be expected after this debut novel. Some of the text is so brilliant in its simplicity of manner that it requires an immediate re-reading to take in the insight and wit at work, and which resonate still today.

The story is filled with simple, yet not simplistic prose, a character study of people and of a time which are still relevant and interesting today. Young Anne was my first foray into the writing of Dorothy Whipple.  It will not be my last.

Highly recommended.

 

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. I love Dorothy Whipple’s writing, and this sounds like the sort of story that would suit her very well. Do look out for her other books – they are a joy to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      She had a lovely way of writing. I’ve got Someone at a Distance to keep me going but I think I’ll have to get her others too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz says:

    I am currently reading and loving Whipple’s Because of the Lockwoods. Next on my shelf is Greenbanks. I have a feeling I will be working my way through all her books!

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I think I may be going to do the same! I have Someone at a Distance to read at some point. I hope you love them all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz says:

        I have just finished the Lockwoods – oh my, an incredible read. Will post properly about it some time, but now I am off to order all the rest from the library…! 🙂

        Like

      2. janetemson says:

        Hope the library has them in stock for you 🙂 (and I’ll add the Lockwoods to my must get list!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Liz says:

        I have been able to reserve They Knew Mr Knight and Someone At A Distance (and I already have Greenbanks), so not bad. 🙂

        Like

  3. Mary Horlock says:

    I have not read this one but now I shall – thank you for the review!

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I do hope you like it 🙂

      Like

  4. This sounds like a really thoughtful book. I’d never heard of Whipple before.

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I hadn’t heard of her until recently. It is a thoughtful book, I’ll be interested to see what her other books are like.

      Like

  5. heavenali says:

    Very much looking forward to this. I do love Dorothy Whipple’s storytelling.

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I think you will love it 🙂

      Like

  6. A ‘new’ Whipple to read – such exciting news! Loved this post ☺

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you! My first Whipple and I’m glad I started at the beginning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. High Wages and Someone At A Distance my faves – but she doesn’t put a foot wrong!

        Like

      2. janetemson says:

        I’ll add High Wages to my list. I must make time to read Someone at a Distance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This sounds wonderful! I have Someone at a Distance in the TBR, I really must break my Whipple duck.

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I have that one too. If you fancy a buddy read let me know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure! I was thinking of reading it for Jessie’s mini Persephone readathon https://dwellinpossibilityblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/announcing-the-mini-persephone-readathon/ if that suits 🙂

        Like

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