Author(s): Dorothy Whipple
The setting for this, the third novel by Dorothy Whipple Persephone have published, is Saunby Priory, a large house somewhere in England which has seen better times. We are shown the two Marwood girls, who are nearly grown-up, their father, the widower Major Marwood, and their aunt; then, as soon as their lives have been described, the Major proposes marriage to a woman much younger than himself - and many changes begin.'"The Priory" is the kind of book I really enjoy', wrote Salley Vickers in the "Spectator", 'funny, acutely observed, written in clear, melodious but unostentatious prose, it deserves renewed recognition as a minor classic. Whipple is not quite Jane Austen class but she understands as well as Austen the enormous effects of apparently minor social adjustments...Christine is a true heroine: vulnerable, valient, appealing, and the portrait of her selfless maternal preoccupation, done without sentiment and utterly credible, is one of the best I have ever come across. The final triumph of love over adversity is described with a benevolent panache which left me feeling heartened about human nature...A delightful, well-written and clever book'.
Born in 1893, DOROTHY WHIPPLE (nee Stirrup) had an intensely happy childhood in Blackburn as part of the large family of a local architect. Her close friend George Owen having been killed in the first week of the war, for three years she worked as secretary to Henry Whipple, an educational administrator who was a widower twenty-four years her senior and whom she married in 1917. Their life was mostly spent in Nottingham; here she wrote Young Anne (1927), the first of nine extremely successful novels which included Greenbanks (1932) and The Priory (1939). Almost all her books were Book Society Choices or Recommendations and two of them, They Knew Mr Knight (1934) and They were Sisters (1943), were made into films. She also wrote short stories and two volumes of memoirs. Someone at a Distance (1953) was her last novel. Returning in her last years to Blackburn, Dorothy Whipple died there in 1966.