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Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson

Queen Lucia (original 1920; edition 2010)

by E. F. Benson

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8222511,042 (3.96)170
Title:Queen Lucia
Authors:E. F. Benson
Info:Rough Draft Printing (2010), Paperback, 190 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, read, reread

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Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson (1920)

  1. 10
    Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (noveltea)
    noveltea: Lucia reminds me of a self-deluded version of Lucilla Marjoribanks

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Emmaline (Lucia) Lucas is the undisputed queen of Riseholme during the roaring 20’s, and everyone knows it. She and her husband, Peppino, are close, and her next closest friend and ally is Georgie; while some think they flirt, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but he is definitely her go-to friend and confidante. As the neighbourhood becomes wrapped up in an Indian guru after Lucia snags him away from Mrs. Quantock, Georgie’s tall, strapping sisters bicycle in for a month’s stay after sending their dog and things by train, turning poor Georgie into a mess with their dog, whom he is certain is vicious and their rambunctious ways. Just at about the same time, his friend, the opera singer Olga Barcely, married to a different Georgie, but who hasn’t changed her name, comes to town, and then such a commotion as people race to be the first to see her and have her over. When Olga unwittingly offends Lucia, things go far from well, and poor Georgie is caught in the middle, and in the meantime romances begin to blossom among some of the local singles.
This is a delightful novel about the goings on of a small English community and the splash a newcomer makes. Light, fun, humourous with some glimpses into human nature and a wonderfully surprising amount of grace and compassion from someone you might not expect it from (but which of the characters I won’t say). I hadn’t even heard of this series until one of my Shelfari friends said she was rereading it and that I really must try it. I am planning to read the rest of the Lucia novels, but no more than one per month so I can savour and enjoy them without getting tired of them. This wasn’t so stellar I’d give it five stars, and it lost another half star because of a few little things, such as the odd time Georgie and Lucia talk in baby talk (perhaps this was done more among friends in the 1920s, but since that was before my parents’ time, I have no idea.) ( )
1 vote Karin7 | Jan 26, 2016 |
Fabulous, just fabulous! Small town life in England in the 1920s - everyone trying to one-up each other. It was funny and has fantastic characters, which was just what a needed right now. Looking forward to the rest of the series. ( )
  japaul22 | Jun 8, 2014 |
I read this as it was recommended as similar to P.G. Wodehouse. I didn't find it similar except that it was set at a similar time (1910?) and dealt with the travails of the upper middle class. A town is run by a middle aged social tyrant. Slowly the village slips from her iron fist when a famous opera singer comes to live in their town and disrupts all of the power structures. Eventually all is righted and she resumes controls and the opera singer leaves. Sort of interesting but I find the characters irritating rather than engaging. I don't think I will read any more in this series. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson is a tongue in cheek satire aimed at the pretensions of the not quite ‘top-drawer” class. He sets his story in the fictional English village of Riseholm where society and etiquette are dictated by one woman, Emmeline Lucas, better known as Queen Lucia.

This book is light and amusing, but subtle it isn’t. The author misses no opportunity to mercilessly poke fun at these people and their desires to an upper class life of wit and elegance. It is when a rival to her throne moves into the village that the story takes off and each page of this character driven comedy will have the reader smiling, giggling or even snorting in delight.

I think the essence of this book rings a bell with people as these broadly drawn characters can be found amongst one’s social circle today. Every society must have its’ queen, and every queen must struggle to retain her throne. Queen Lucia is the first in a series of books, and judging by this first one, the rest of the series should prove delightful. ( )
5 vote DeltaQueen50 | Oct 2, 2013 |
Mrs Lucas (or Lucia to her friends due to her propensity for peppering her conversation with Italian) is the acknowledged leader of the cultural life of the small English village of Riseholme at the start of the 1920's. It might be, of course, that Lucia is a little bit less well-read that she makes out (could she have looked up her quotations in the Encyclopaedia rather than reading the actual book) and perhaps just a little bit less musical (is it possible that she doesn't play the second and third parts of the Moonlight Sonata because they are more difficult than the first, rather than because they are less pleasing to the ear as she suggests) but none of her accolytes would ever dare to suggest those things out loud. But after years of Lucia's autocratic rule, the idea of revolution starts to ferment in Riseholme, with two of her long-time friends and disciples, Georgie and Daisy Quantock, getting ideas above their station and rebelling against her rule. First there is the arrival of Daisy Quantock's guru, a real life Brahmin from Benares no less, who she has engaged to teach her yoga, and whom she has no intention of letting Lucia adopt as a novelty for her summer parties. And then there is the arrival of Olga Bracely, a famous opera singer, whose presence threatens to have disastrous consequences for Lucia's status as Queen Bee.

Lucia behaves appallingly at times, and the undercurrents of jealosies and resentments behind seemingly tranquil village life are laid bare for all to see, but for all that it is very funny with such a wonderful cast of characters. Georgie, a forty-something bachelor, is completely oblivious to the fact that the whole village knows that the reason he is 'busy indoors' one evening a month is that he is having his hair dyed. Mrs Quantock tries every fad under the sun in quick succcession, with yoga following quickly on the heels of Christian Science, abandoned when it failed to cure her cold. Nothing much happens, but it doesn't really need to, the little events of village life have enough drama to keep everyone entertained.

So a really fun read, which I'll be quickly following up with the next in the series. ( )
  SandDune | Aug 25, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. F. Bensonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Though the sun was hot on this July morning Mrs. Lucas preferred to cover the half-mile that lay between the station and her house on her own feet, and sent on her maid and her luggage in the fly that her husband had ordered to meet her.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552990752, Paperback)

Edward Frederic Benson (24 July 1867 – 29 February 1940) was an English novelist, biographer, memoirist and short story writer, known professionally as E.F. Benson. His friends called him Fred.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:50 -0400)

England between the wars was a paradise of calm and leisure for the very, very rich. Into this enclave is born Mrs. Emmeline Lucas - La Lucia, as she is known - a woman determined to lead a life quite different from the subdued formality of her class. With her cohort, Georgie Pillson, and her husband, Peppino, Lucia upends the greats of high society: the imperious Lady Ambermere and her equally imperious dog, Pug; the odious Piggy and Goosie Antrobus; the Christian Scientist Daisy Quantrock, with her penchant for the foreign; and all the rest of the small English town that the British rich call their country home. Beset on all sides by pretenders to her social throne, Lucia brings culture, fine arts, excitement, and intrigue into this cloistered realm.… (more)

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