'Kitchen Scene in the Beverley Arms' 1929, FW Elwell © FW Elwell Estate/National Trust, Nunnington Hall
AFTERWORD BY DAVID CONVILLE
The setting for this, the third novel by Dorothy Whipple we 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.'
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Also available as a Persephone eBook
The endpapers are taken from 'Wychwood', a 1939 screen - printed satin furnishing fabric designed by Noldi Soland for Helios; the pattern has an appropriately rural simplicity.