The main office of this publisher and bookseller is piled high with lovingly restored reprints of unfairly neglected women writers, mainly from the interwar period. These beautiful objects are covered in identical plain eggshell blue, but each book’s endpapers comprise wonderful re-creations of patterns – wallpapers, fabrics, clothing or suchlike – contemporary with the book; but, more importantly, they make for fascinating reading. Some are by well-known names – Penelope Mortimer, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf – while others offer the chance to get to know quick-witted women who, by virtue of the time in which they lived, were not given the respect they might otherwise have gained in their own lifetimes. There’s William – an Englishman, Cicely Hamilton’s 1919 exploration of war; or Someone at a Distance (1953), in which Dorothy Whipple traces the effects of a man’s infidelity on his family. Persephone’s bestseller is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938) by Winifred Watson.
Persephone Books is number 91 in our list of the 100 best shops in London.