Meet Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia, the undisputed social leader of the town of Riseholme, and her husband Phillip, writer of prose poems. Risholme is also home to Georgie Pillson, who plays duets with Lucia and collects bibelots, Daisy Quantock, who has discovered an Indian Guru who will teach her meditation, Olga Bracely, the operatic soprano, and Signor Cortese composer of operas.
es of these prose-poems had been published, not of course in the hard business-like establishment of London, but at "Ye Sign of ye Daffodil," on the village green, where type was set up by hand, and very little, but that of the best, was printed. The press had only been recently started at Mr Lucas's expense, but it had put forth a reprint of Shakespeare's sonnets already, as well as his own poems. They were printed in blunt type on thick yellowish paper, the edges of which seemed as if they had been cut by the forefinger of an impatient reader, so ragged and irregular were they, and they were bound in vellum, the titles of these two slim flowers of poetry, "Flotsam" and "Jetsam," were printed in black letter type and the covers were further adorned with a sort of embossed seal and with antique looking tapes so that you could tie it all up with two bows when you had finished with Mr Lucas's "Flotsam" for the time being, and turned to untie the "Jetsam."
Today the prose-poem of "Loneliness" had not been
E. F. Benson's genius was to create an array of characters, all of whom (with one exception) are completely ghastly people - and yet at the same time are entirely sympathetic. A wonderful read.
The first in Benson's delicious series on English village society, full of finely drawn, colorful characters and their petty social triumphs and jealousies in an idyllic world where everyone has plenty of money and position is all. Hilarious all through, but Georgie's Christmas party is especially fun reading.
Queen Lucia is the first in E.F. Benson's set of six Mapp & Lucia books, which introduces you to the world of Riseholme, and its self-proclaimed queen, Emile Lucas (known to her friends as Lucia).
The book, and indeed the set, take you on a journey through 1920's and 30's high society, along with its false politeness, cutting sarcasm and short lived fads.
I found the book starts off rather slow, with E.F. Benson providing the descriptive canvas that the rest of the book builds on. This makes the rest of the book much more enjoyable in my mind, and is well worth investment, so don't let it put you off.
Mapp & Lucia is arguably E.F. Benson's best work, and certainly his most reknown. The whole set are thoroughly enjoyable and I found myself reading jumping from one book to the next instantly.
As I mentioned, there are six books, but only two available on ManyBooks, due to copyright issues with Gutenberg Australia. However:
**You can get the rest of the books directly from gutenberg.net.au free.**