Open the door is a fantastic novel by Catherine Carswell which relates the story of Joanna Bannerman, a young woman seeking the freedom that has been denied to her by her religious upbringing. The story starts with her as a young girl - we meet her scatterbrained mother and siblings, and see how their haphazard, but otherwise reasonably normal life changes on the death of her father as Juley (the mother) becomes increasingly involved in evangelical circles. As Joanna grows up, the relationship with her mother becomes somewhat strained due to Joanna's apparent lack of spirituality. Joanna's world expands considerably when she attends Italian lessons and ends up getting married and moving to Florence. But this was not straightforward; Joanna has already lost the first man that she was engaged to when he decided that he was not in love with her - this loss continues to haunt Joanna. Her time in Florence is short-lived when she is suddenly widowed, and we follow her back to Glasgow where attends the Glasgow School of Art which really starts to broaden her horizons. She still seeks love, and this time embarking on an affair with a married man, much to Juley's horrow. I found it fascinating reading as I wasn't quite sure what would happen next to Joanna or quite how the book would resolve itself.
Virago have just published this once, with an original green cover. Isn't the hair of the woman on the front absolutely fantastic? The painting by the way is called "Ill omen", by Frances Macdonald and comes from the Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow University.