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on 20 June 2015
Once you start reading Dorothy Whipple books, you're doomed to order the entire oeuvre, (expensive as it is, since clearly no one ever sells off a second had DW book!) She is so good on families, and how the characters within them interact. She's at her very best when writing about people's little weaknesses or hidden strengths, and how they echo down the years. It is her very readability that has done for her, I suspect. Perhaps too many critics have believed that books so very, very, readable can't be as 'good' as other writers. Try one. You'll instantly become an addict just like the rest of her fans, and never sell a Whipple second hand.
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on 8 September 2017
Great book. A past time and a good story.
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2001
Dorothy Whipple is, for me, the greatest rediscovery Persephone have made since they began reprinting unjustly forgotten books a couple of years ago. They knew Mr Knight is the story of the Blake family, and their gradual moral and financial downfall after they become involved with the financier, Mr Knight. The seduction begins on the first page, when Thomas Blake wakes with dissatisfaction at the fact that he must face another day in the engineering works his father sold- as he sees it, his inheritance has been denied him. He meets Mr Knight, and the financier advises him with investments. Gradually, most of the family are drawn into the fringes of Mr Knight's world. The advice he gives Thomas enables him to buy back the works, his daughter is able to realise her social ambitions, his son goes to a better school. Even his sensible wife, Celia, becomes entangled when she sees the prospect of buying the house she's always wanted. Their moral decline is subtly described, as Thomas becomes more entangled in Mr Knight's web. Dorothy Whipple shows how very easy it is to take the first step towards the precipice, and how long it can take to recover from the consequences.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2004
This book was recommended to me by a band of people, each of whom has opinions I deeply trust when it comes to books.
And I wasn't disappointed.
The Blake family live in an unspectacular house in an unspectacular road, and Thomas Blake has a... you guessed it, unspectacular job.
And then Mr. Knight, financier extraordinaire, comes onto the horizon, and helps the Blake family move up in the world - literally, into a fancier house, fancier road and fancier lifestyle. Thomas is delighted, but Celia, his wife, is less zealous. The reader, through the combined hints of Celia's doubts and Whipple's clever narrative, is rightly suspicious of Knight.
To see the changes in the Blake family is often sad, but Whipple enlivens this novel with wit throughout.
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on 27 January 2011
Dickens in 'Little Dorrit' showed how people fawn on the noxious Mr Merdle. Dorothy Whipple in 1934 showed people fawning on the odious Mr Knight. And some of us are still doing it! Mr Knight is not at all different from the present-day bankers who live in gross luxury, play games with other people's money and are driving the world into despair. It's not quite my favourite Dorothy Whipple novel, but what a clear sense of values she has and how little certain things have changed!
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on 5 April 2007
Dorothy Whipple was a wonderful author , I have read all her books and loved this one.

The book sets the scene for a forgotten era ,the genteel middle class family of the 40-50s, and the disgrace that goes with moving up the social scale whilst under the shady guidence of Mr Knight, its a gem,please read this and then try the rest of Whipples work, I promise you ,you wont be disappointed!!
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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2007
A chance meeting introduces Thomas to Mr Knight, successful businessman. The novel proceeds and very few pages into the story the sense of foreboding for the family benefiting from Mr Knight's advice is almost unbearable and it continues in that vein. I was waiting for the tragedy all the way through! It was quite a stressful read because, as usual I really empathised with the characters. I have to say, I much preferred The Priory. There was no formula and the story was finely crafted. Young Anne was a less involved novel than The Priory but nonetheless enjoyable for the fine writing. They Knew Mr Knight was really a story where the end was obvious all the way through - we were just wondering when the house of cards would crash around their ears. Even so, Dorothy Whipple's insight into mother's realisation of the less attractive sides of their children's characters, the loss mothers feel when their children move away from their sphere and the love between couples even through adversity, is incisive and beautifully told. Her glimpses of the pressures which men endure in our society as the "breadwinner" is also there although Thomas is not so fully drawn as Celia. I have to agree with the other reviewers that Dorothy Whipple is a writer who deserves to be reissued and discovered by a lot more readers. Please read something by Ms Whipple today - but please start with The Priory.
I've read a number of Dorothy Whipple's books. Please visit my other reviews.
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on 20 July 2009
It's neck and neck as to whether this is my absolutely favourite Dorothy Whipple, or should it be Someone at a Distance? Anyway, this is DW at her finest.
Mr Knight is the seductive financier who comes into the lives of a very ordinary Midlands family after a chance encounter on a train. And gradually, his influence corrupts their goodness. Even Celia, the mother - content with her happy family and her modest house and garden and so less enthralled by the powerful Mr K - even Celia has a weak spot, because the big old country house (bought with tainted money) is so exactly the right milieu for her and she loves it. (As ever, DW can describe a house or a room so that you can feel the fabrics of the sofa or curtains, see the colours, smell the flowers!)
Drip, drip, drip, Mr Knight and his lucre eat away at family relationships, honesty, everything that is good, and there is a terrible tension as you see it all disintegrating.
A brilliant read. If this review doesn't do it justice, it's because I've been up until 3am unable to put it down!
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on 19 March 2012
Although I enjoyed this slightly less than They Were Sisters, I found it almost as compelling and hard to put down. The reader knows Mr Knight is trouble almost as soon as he appears but gets sucked in with the family hoping their fortunes will change. All of the characters matter even minor players are lightly but compellingly drawn. I felt like cheering when Celia triumphs over adversity. Can't wait to read another Whipple.
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on 13 December 2013
The characters as ever in a Dorothy Whipple are engagingly brought to life and you just , quite simply, get involved in the story .
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