Wednesday, March 20, 2013
But of course High Wages stands alone as a really good book, all comparisons aside. Whipple’s prose is direct and occasionally witty. Jane Carter is a smart girl, talented and determined to succeed. And the local dress shop is the perfect vantage point from which to view all the happenings throughout the village. It’s also a metaphor for the changes occurring all over Great Britain and the U.S.: the transition from drapery shops that sold only fabric to dress shops that specialized in the new ready-made clothing; the increased opportunities for working class folks and women especially, the social taboos that fell as hemlines rose. Whipple knew she was chronicling a time of great change but she does it with such subtlety you don’t even notice.
This was another long out-of-print book republished recently by Persephone Books of London. You can buy them directly from Persephone’s website or get them through larger library systems. My goal is to read at least five Persephone books this year and I’m already on my second one.
*I do understand that the DA producers don’t want to scare off their U.S. audience with Yorkshire accents or sheep’s head for luncheon.
(Book 8, 2013)