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Dorothy Whipple’s debut Young Anne is a Promising Novel

3rd June, 2018

Book review : Young Anne by Dorothy Whipple

I would always be thankful to Persephone books (and to my friend Michelle @bookmusings) for introducing me to the wonderful writer, Dorothy Whipple. I was swept off my feet with her Someone at a distance that revolves around a marriage being torn apart by the entry of a French woman. I loved it so much that it is one of the Books that crashed on me like a tidal wave.’ I remember having one of the longest book hangovers after reading the novel. Undoubtedly, I was thrilled to read her debut, Young Anne, which was republished recently.

In brief

Young Anne follows the life of Anne Pritchard from a young girl of five to a grown woman in her early twenties. We see all aspects of growing up – family, school, first love, first job and marriage. There is no suspense, no big surprises; just an ordinary life of a young girl and the circumstances that she endures.

Love

Love is a major theme in the novel – young love, unrequited love, love after marriage, love outside of marriage. Whipple delicately dissects all the different forms of love. The book is almost autobiographical with fictional sub plots which further deepened my interest in the book. I found a strong resemblance in the plot to Elizabeth Taylors, A Game of Hide and Seek, one of my all time favourite books. In spite of the similarity, the books are vastly different from one another. While Taylor offers an emotional tale of two lovers suffocated by their love, Whipple presents a simpler tale of a young girl and her indecisiveness when it comes to love.

Love

The novel definitely shows signs of being a debut. This novel and characters aren’t as well fleshed as the ones in Someone at a distance. I was a tad disappointed with the sketch of George, Anne’s first love, as I felt we needed to know him as a character in more depth when he reappears in the life of the married Anne. However, I loved Anne for how flawed she is. Being brought up with parents with whom she wasn’t very close to, she finds a friend and companion in the maid, Emily. Sometimes she ponders on why tasks like folding laundry are limited to her and not to her brothers, pale signs of a feminist awakening. We love Anne at her finest, get pangs of a motherly disappointment when she is naïve; but throughout the novel we find ourselves rooting for the best to befall Anne.

Final Verdict :

Whipple’s magic lies in her simple writing about life taut with the emotional complexities of her characters. I loved Young Anne. But Someone at a distance remains my favourite, which I found to be a heart wrenching tale of choices, a marriage and two women. I am looking forward to devouring the other novels by Whipple now that all her books are republished by Persephone. Whipple is every reader’s delight.

Title : Young Anne
Author : Dorothy Whipple
Publisher : Persephone
Publication: 2017 (originally 1927)
Language : English
Pages : 292
Rating : 4/5

Disclaimer : Much thanks to Persephone for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

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Young Anne
This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. Your passion is clear in this review. Well written! I haven’t heard of Dorothy Whipple before, but her writing is obviously gripping. It’s always nice to see debut novels being repushed. Do you know what the impitus was for Persephone to republish Young Anne?

    1. Persephone’s aim is to republish old and forgotten authors to re introduce them to readers. And Whipple was one of the first author they republished and she was a hit with the readers. Now all her novels have been republished (the last one to be printed was her debut, Young Anne, this year)

      1. That’s a great mission! I’ll certainly have to check out Persephone’s website. I bet there are a lot of great “lost treasures” on their website.

        Any idea why Persephone decided to end their reprinting of Whipple’s work with her debut? That feels a bit backwards to me.

        1. Persehone did not end its reprinting. It has published all the novels written by Whipple to date. The last novel republished by Persephone is her debut. So all novels of Whipple are in print now.

  2. What a beautiful picture! I have this on my wish list so I’m going to save your review until I’ve received and read it … it might be a while, but I’ll be back!

  3. There are so many books and writers I need to discover and read and discuss. Thanks to you, my task is much easier. I just need to check your posts! 😀

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