website statistics Queen Lucia: The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other. - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Queen Lucia: The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other.

Availability: Ready to download

"There's many things in this world that will depress you, and make you good for nothing, if you take them seriously, and that cheer you up if you don't."The most popular humor Book for individuals who wants to overcome depression.The novels feature humorous incidents in the lives of (mainly) upper-middle-class British characters in the 1920s and 1930s, many of whom do not "There's many things in this world that will depress you, and make you good for nothing, if you take them seriously, and that cheer you up if you don't."The most popular humor Book for individuals who wants to overcome depression.The novels feature humorous incidents in the lives of (mainly) upper-middle-class British characters in the 1920s and 1930s, many of whom do not work for a living, who vie for social prestige and one-upmanship in an atmosphere of extreme cultural snobbery. Several of them are set in the small seaside town of Tilling, closely based on Rye, East Sussex, where Benson lived for a number of years and (like Lucia) served as mayor. Lucia previously lived at Riseholme, based on Broadway, Worcestershire, from where she brought to Tilling her celebrated recipe for Lobster � la Riseholme.


Compare

"There's many things in this world that will depress you, and make you good for nothing, if you take them seriously, and that cheer you up if you don't."The most popular humor Book for individuals who wants to overcome depression.The novels feature humorous incidents in the lives of (mainly) upper-middle-class British characters in the 1920s and 1930s, many of whom do not "There's many things in this world that will depress you, and make you good for nothing, if you take them seriously, and that cheer you up if you don't."The most popular humor Book for individuals who wants to overcome depression.The novels feature humorous incidents in the lives of (mainly) upper-middle-class British characters in the 1920s and 1930s, many of whom do not work for a living, who vie for social prestige and one-upmanship in an atmosphere of extreme cultural snobbery. Several of them are set in the small seaside town of Tilling, closely based on Rye, East Sussex, where Benson lived for a number of years and (like Lucia) served as mayor. Lucia previously lived at Riseholme, based on Broadway, Worcestershire, from where she brought to Tilling her celebrated recipe for Lobster � la Riseholme.

30 review for Queen Lucia: The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other.

  1. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    Darlings, you simply must visit Riseholme. It's just the most precious 1920s English village that you ever could see. Delightful! Decadent! Devious! Demented! Delicious! Riseholme is ruled by its very own doyenne of style and taste and class, one Emmeline Lucia Lucas. She utterly commands the village, an ever-benevolent dictator over all things that truly matter. Her right-hand "man" is Georgie, a bachelor of means and of a certain age, a faithful lieutenant whose extensive time spent in Lucia's Darlings, you simply must visit Riseholme. It's just the most precious 1920s English village that you ever could see. Delightful! Decadent! Devious! Demented! Delicious! Riseholme is ruled by its very own doyenne of style and taste and class, one Emmeline Lucia Lucas. She utterly commands the village, an ever-benevolent dictator over all things that truly matter. Her right-hand "man" is Georgie, a bachelor of means and of a certain age, a faithful lieutenant whose extensive time spent in Lucia's home creates absolutely no tension whatsoever with Lucia's husband. Precious Georgie! With his embroidery and his watercolors and his lovely color-coordinated outfits and his cape - yes darlings, his cape! - and of course his monthly battles with hair-loss and graying. Fortunately he engages the services of hair dye and the comb-over, but shhh! We shall not speak of such things! Let us instead speak of more important matters, in quaint baby-talk or made-up "Italian" - much as Georgie and Lucia and her husband Peppino often converse! Some say the village of Riseholme worships social climbing and the highly irrelevant minutiae of Who Said What And To Whom And Oh No They Didn't Oh Yes They Did... and I say, worship away! We all have our own altars! Some say the village of Riseholme worships whatever the latest fad may be - an Indian Guru promising peaceful meditation one day, a Psychic Russian "Princess" promising drama with the dearly departed another day, a pill promising increased height on the third day... and I say, what is Life without Adventure! Even in charming Riseholme, one simply must have adventure! And garden parties! And champagne! But darlings, what is that on the horizon? Could it be... Revolution? Revelation! Perhaps it is time to dethrone Queen Lucia! Olga Bracely, that splendid opera singer hailing from Londontown, has arrived! She brings with her jolly "romps" and match-making and a complete lack of interest in social climbing and snobbery. She is a Real Celebrity, quite unlike that "Queen" Lucia. And whatever else could she bring? Could it be - no, we mustn't speculate - yes, we simply MUST - could she be bringing love into sweet Georgie's life? Is it possible that Georgie is falling in love... with a woman? Scandalous! Some may say that the pointed comic novel Queen Lucia is pure trifle, a dessert item, even a luxury when compared to more studied Classics of English Literature. Well I say we must make such Luxuries our Necessities! If something so spiky, so satirical, so scintillatingly silly could even be considered a "luxury". Such things are the Sugar and Spice of Life! And All That Is Nice! Darlings, your really must read it. It is simply Divine!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This book is my cure for the doldrums -- a comic masterpiece. Granted, it helps to be an anglophile and a bit of a misanthrope to boot, but the antics of the villagers of Riseholme, led (or dominated) by the immortal Lucia always make me realize just how absurdly delicious life can be. Once a Luciaphile, always a Luciaphile. It's a select but oddly inclusive group, I've found over the years. Most of my closest friends are Benson devotees. And those folks who aren't? Well, let's just say I don't This book is my cure for the doldrums -- a comic masterpiece. Granted, it helps to be an anglophile and a bit of a misanthrope to boot, but the antics of the villagers of Riseholme, led (or dominated) by the immortal Lucia always make me realize just how absurdly delicious life can be. Once a Luciaphile, always a Luciaphile. It's a select but oddly inclusive group, I've found over the years. Most of my closest friends are Benson devotees. And those folks who aren't? Well, let's just say I don't feel much of a connection to them. This book is, in the words of a recent New York Times op ed piece, a "deal breaker" for me. Every few years I reread the entire six-book Lucia saga over again. This first volume in the saga was as delightful as I remembered it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I really enjoyed this. Very funny, very entertaining, full of fantastically silly characters. It is a little dated in places, but mostly is great fun.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Here on GR, DaytimeRiot told me this: “I think the Mapp and Lucia series by E.F Benson is the best humorous literature Britain produced in the 20th century. They mock class in very different ways, but Benson's humor is far more subtle and understated: it lovingly, surgically eviscerates British village life like a diamond cutting glass. Benson is what Wodehouse could have been if Wodehouse had finally accepted adulthood.” I was intrigued! Wodehouse hadn’t worked for me so I thought I would give Be Here on GR, DaytimeRiot told me this: “I think the Mapp and Lucia series by E.F Benson is the best humorous literature Britain produced in the 20th century. They mock class in very different ways, but Benson's humor is far more subtle and understated: it lovingly, surgically eviscerates British village life like a diamond cutting glass. Benson is what Wodehouse could have been if Wodehouse had finally accepted adulthood.” I was intrigued! Wodehouse hadn’t worked for me so I thought I would give Benson a try. I began with the first in the series-- Queen Lucia. DaytimeRiot’s words fit the book to a T! Benson’s prose and humor are unique. They match each other. The writing is witty and clever. Words are sharp and precise, satire expressed through irony. Irony that shifts from being simple and good-natured to biting criticism depending upon the person speaking and that person’s mood. While I marvel at the author’s prose and smile at the humor, I have trouble with both the novel’s theme and its characters. The eponymous Lucia, pronounced Lu-ch-ia, lies at the center of the tale. A group of upper middle class friends circle around Lucia. It is the 1920s. In their village, Riseholme, Worcestershire, England, she is their “queen”. Her throne is threatened. Others try to usurp her power. It is this that the story circles around and it is this that we watch. What is it that preoccupies the villagers? A guru and a mystic that conducts seances. A world renown opera singer takes up residence in the town. Hearts pitter patter. Secrets are alternately revealed and hidden. Dinner parties are given. The characters’ lives are trivial and inconsequential. The characters are bloated with snobbery. They vie with each other for social prestige and supremacy, each trying to outdo the others, and not over anything that is important but instead over the silliest of things. The highest social prestige is awarded that person who knows the latest gossip, first. All characters, except for one, behave in this manner. I find such behavior wearing, trivial and boring. This counteracts the prose and the humor. The one character, (view spoiler)[Olga, the opera singer (hide spoiler)] , whom I like, plays too small a role in the story. Baby-talk annoys me. Lucia mistakenly thinks this is cute. Nadia May narrates the audiobook. I do not find her pronunciation terribly clear. Occasionally, she speaks too fast. She sounds very British, and this does fit the characters she is portraying. On the whole, the narration is pretty good, so I have given it three stars. I am glad to have tried E.F. Benson. While I like his writing per se, the book wore me down. Writing a good novel is difficult. Even if the writing is very good, I am still not always satisfied.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    What a horror of a main character, and what a charming book! Lucia is a pretentious, posing, preening, self-aggrandizing petty tyrant, who cannot bear to let anyone else share an inch of spotlight that she does not arrange and grant to them with royal magnanimity. And following her determined rivalry with old sparring partners and a spectacular newcomer was a delight. I can see why this was such a cult favorite of authors at the time. The characterization is wonderful. We all know, or have been What a horror of a main character, and what a charming book! Lucia is a pretentious, posing, preening, self-aggrandizing petty tyrant, who cannot bear to let anyone else share an inch of spotlight that she does not arrange and grant to them with royal magnanimity. And following her determined rivalry with old sparring partners and a spectacular newcomer was a delight. I can see why this was such a cult favorite of authors at the time. The characterization is wonderful. We all know, or have been at least in some small part, a Lucia. Or at least her somewhat fearful lieutenant with a toupee he is sure no one notices, the born follower Georgie. (Whose awakening to his own petty but amazing powers over his vain queen is fantastic.) Or maybe we’ve just been in the audience to privately enjoy it when a Lucia, self-proclaimed arbiter of culture, gets something spectacularly wrong publicly she has dubiously claimed to be an expert in. Or perhaps been lucky enough to be Olga, the kindhearted rival who never intended to be anything of the sort- but is because she’s about five times a better/more fun human than her rival, and so she becomes one naturally as people gravitate to her. The plot is busy nothings. But the people! They’ll knock you out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    My introduction to the world of E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels was via the BBC TV adaptation broadcast in the UK in late December 2014. E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels were also recommended to me on GoodReads. I am writing this review having just finished Queen Lucia, the first book in the Mapp and Lucia series. The novels, in chronological order, are: Queen Lucia (1920) Miss Mapp (1922) Lucia in London (1927) Mapp and Lucia (1931) Lucia's Progress (1935) (published in the US as Trouble for Luci My introduction to the world of E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels was via the BBC TV adaptation broadcast in the UK in late December 2014. E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels were also recommended to me on GoodReads. I am writing this review having just finished Queen Lucia, the first book in the Mapp and Lucia series. The novels, in chronological order, are: Queen Lucia (1920) Miss Mapp (1922) Lucia in London (1927) Mapp and Lucia (1931) Lucia's Progress (1935) (published in the US as Trouble for Lucia (1939)) There are also five other books based on the same characters written by other authors. In this first book in the series we are introduced to Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known by all as Lucia (due to her penchant for using Italian phrases), along with a host of other memorable characters. Whilst I am not convinced Queen Lucia should be taken at face value, it is a satire after all, it does give broad hints at the lifestyle of the idle rich in 1920's English society. For a book that was written almost a hundred years ago, it also feels remarkably fresh and readable. One character, the gullible Mrs Daisy Quantock, is prone to embrace some of the era's health crazes and as such we get a short but interesting exposition of the tenets of Christian Science, and then an amusing dalliance with yoga - taught by her personal guru; and then onto another splendid infatuation with spiritualism via the services of a Russian medium known as Princess Popoffski. The arrival of Mrs Quantock's Indian guru prompts Lucia to ensure she can utilise the guru's social currency in the competitive world of the village of Riseholme, a pretty Elizabethan village in Worcestershire, where Lucia vigorously guards her status as "Queen" despite occasional attempts from her subjects to overthrow her. Lucia’s dear friend Georgie Pillson (another fantastic character) both worships Lucia and occasionally works to subvert her power. I did a little research to try to establish the pronunciation of Riseholme (apparently based on Broadway in the Cotwsolds) and understand it is pronounced "rizzum", which sounds credible. E.F. Benson appears to simultaneously have affection for his Riseholme characters and hold them in mild contempt. None of the characters is especially likeable however their foibles and absurdities became more endearing as the book progressed, and their frequent humiliations become ever more amusing. This comedy of manners captures the social order of 1920s England for those fortunate few who had the money to spend their time enjoying dinner parties and other social events, painting, writing letters, giving music recitals, parading their social status and exchanging gossip, whilst their servants facilitated their lives of ease and comfort. This premise, in the skilled hands of E.F. Benson, is the foundation of some beguiling comedic moments as he nails the snobbery and competitiveness of village life, and especially Lucia's ludicrous affectations. I will admit that I was slightly bored during the first couple of introductory chapters, then my feelings changed to ambivalence, however by the final third I was enjoying every page. By the end of Queen Lucia I was thoroughly charmed and now appreciate how these books have inspired so much affection and devotion in their readers. I'm a convert and I look forward to reading the rest of E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels. 4/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melindam

    A wickedly funny & entertaining read. "Mrs Lucas amused herself, in the intervals of her pursuit of Art for Art's sake, with being not only an ambassador but a monarch. Riseholme might perhaps according to the crude materialism of maps, be included in the kingdom of Great Britain, but in a more real and inward sense it formed a complete kingdom of its own, and its queen was undoubtedly Mrs Lucas, who ruled it with a secure autocracy pleasant to contemplate at a time when thrones were toppling A wickedly funny & entertaining read. "Mrs Lucas amused herself, in the intervals of her pursuit of Art for Art's sake, with being not only an ambassador but a monarch. Riseholme might perhaps according to the crude materialism of maps, be included in the kingdom of Great Britain, but in a more real and inward sense it formed a complete kingdom of its own, and its queen was undoubtedly Mrs Lucas, who ruled it with a secure autocracy pleasant to contemplate at a time when thrones were toppling, and imperial crowns whirling like dead leaves down the autumn winds. (...) Though essentially autocratic, her subjects were allowed and even encouraged to develop their own minds on their own lines, provided always that those lines met at the junction where she was station-master."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I read all of the Lucia books when I was 13 and thought they were so funny. I remember laughing out loud quite a bit. This time around I still enjoyed Queen Lucia, but not as much, and I'm not sure why. It was all very witty and amusing, but I found myself a little bored. Also, the silly factor, which I thought was so funny when I was younger, grated on me a bit. Maybe I'm just jaded now! Solid three stars for me this time. I read all of the Lucia books when I was 13 and thought they were so funny. I remember laughing out loud quite a bit. This time around I still enjoyed Queen Lucia, but not as much, and I'm not sure why. It was all very witty and amusing, but I found myself a little bored. Also, the silly factor, which I thought was so funny when I was younger, grated on me a bit. Maybe I'm just jaded now! Solid three stars for me this time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I’m not quite sure how I have managed to make it to my advanced age without ever having read any of E F Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books - but there it is. I am now delightedly anticipating the remaining books I have to look forward to. I actually read this first book in Volume one of the Wordsworth classics The Complete Mapp and Lucia – which contains the first three novels. I like to spread out such delicious treats however, so I have decided to read (and review) each book separately – although I I’m not quite sure how I have managed to make it to my advanced age without ever having read any of E F Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books - but there it is. I am now delightedly anticipating the remaining books I have to look forward to. I actually read this first book in Volume one of the Wordsworth classics The Complete Mapp and Lucia – which contains the first three novels. I like to spread out such delicious treats however, so I have decided to read (and review) each book separately – although I suspect I will be reading at least one of the next two books this month. In ‘Queen Lucia’ we are introduced to the rarefied atmosphere of Riseholme where no one seems to do anything very much; but read, listen to music, plan dinner parties, indulge in the latest fad of the moment, and speculate about their neighbours. “The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other.” The undisputed queen of Riseholme is Mrs Emmeline Lucas – otherwise known as Lucia, who lives in three Elizabethan cottages made into one, surrounded by her Shakespearean garden (beds named for Shakespearean characters). Nothing of a remotely social or artistic nature takes place is Riseholme without Lucia being at the heart of its inception and preparation. Always at her side is her husband Philip – or “Pepino” and her “gentleman-in-waiting” Georgie. Lucia is hilariously affected, she pretends to speak Italian – despite only knowing a few phrases, practises playing new pieces of music, then upon sitting down to play declares it to be the first time she has tried it. Using baby language with Georgie while plotting to retain her hold over Riseholme society, Lucia goes as far as to “steal” her neighbour Daisy Quantock’s “Guru” – in order to continue to hold sway. Moving Daisy’s Indian Guru into her spare room so he can hold his yoga classes in her house is just one of the ways Lucia connives to put herself at the centre of Riseholme society. “Throughout August, guruism reigned supreme over the cultured life of Riseholme, and the priestess and dispenser of its mysteries was Lucia. Never before had she ruled from so elate a pinnacle, nor wielded so secure a supremacy. None had access to the guru but through her: all his classes were held in the smoking- parlour and he meditated only in Hamlet or in the sequestered arbour at the end of the laburnum walk. Once he had meditated on the village green, but Lucia did not approve of that and had led him, still rapt, home by the hand.” Lucia’s reign is soon threatened however, when a professional singer and Italian speaking beauty sweeps into Riseholme, captivating all – especially Georgie. Olga Bracely’s presence leads to a couple of very unfortunate and highly embarrassing episodes for poor Lucia, which hardly endears the newcomer to her. Wonderfully satirical and hugely witty Queen Lucia is an absolute guaranteed literary pick-me-up. Many of the characters – in fact almost all of them are not really very likeable – however in a funny way that is definitely part of the charm. Lucia is fairly monstrous in her way, although not absolutely hateful. She is pretentious, snobbish and hypocritical, although also very slightly pitiful, there were moments I started to feel sorry for her. Georgie however is a comic delight, very vain and very camp he indulges Lucia in her pretensions, before being blinded by the light that is Olga Bracely. I adored the hilarious Daisy Quantock and her series of fads, having once been fascinated by Christian Science, she takes up yoga, and after losing her guru, embraces spiritualism, and which ever new fad Daisy endorses Lucia is soon to follow. Brilliantly comic, Queen Lucia makes me long to meet her rival Miss Mapp in the next instalment – which I may be doing, as early as next week.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    Queen Lucia, the first of Edward Frederic Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books, turns a 100 this year, and so I thought I should revisit. The stories centre around Emmeline Lucas (‘Lucia’) and Miss Elizabeth Mapp who battle for social supremacy in the village of Tilling (based on Rye where Benson himself lived). The first book, Queen Lucia, which introduces us to Lucia (the second introduces us to Miss Mapp) has a different setting—the village of Riseholme (from where Lucia moves to Tilling in book 4), Queen Lucia, the first of Edward Frederic Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books, turns a 100 this year, and so I thought I should revisit. The stories centre around Emmeline Lucas (‘Lucia’) and Miss Elizabeth Mapp who battle for social supremacy in the village of Tilling (based on Rye where Benson himself lived). The first book, Queen Lucia, which introduces us to Lucia (the second introduces us to Miss Mapp) has a different setting—the village of Riseholme (from where Lucia moves to Tilling in book 4), where Lucia is undisputed Queen of all things social—she organises garden parties, entertainments like tableaux, plays the piano and pronounces what music is the thing to be played (the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is a favourite), and generally directs the cultural life of the village. (Her husband Peppino/Philip, a former lawyer, has also published two volumes of poetry). Others, like her right-hand man Georgie Pillson, and neighbour Daisy Quantock (who takes up a new fad every other day) usually simply follow, for attempts at Bolshevism (seeds of which creep up in them every so often) are often crushed rather ruthlessly (but with flair) by the Queen. Others like Lady Ambermere must be kept in good humour of course, but Lucia manages to ‘direct’ her as well to fall in with her plans much of the time. But things begin to change for Lucia’s ‘perfect’ life in Riseholme when Olga Braceley, the prima donna first visits and then moves into Riseholme. Olga is a good-natured and good-hearted character who almost instantly wins Georgie Pillson’s heart (and loyalty), but her interactions with Lucia don’t quite turn out right, for while Olga doesn’t intend it, she accidentally exposes Lucia’s pretensions (her reputation as a judge of good music, or her and her husband Pepino’s ability to converse in Italian, for instance) one after another, almost taking her ‘kingdom’ from her. But her kind heart means she is more than ready to restore it as well. This was a fun read as always, and I found myself (like Olga) feeling a touch sorry for Lucia seeing all that she had created for herself slipping from right under her feet, even though Lucia can be rather spiteful (but even so, I find her more ‘likeable’ than Miss Mapp—by comparison, only of course). Daisy Quantock with her ever changing fads (which invariably end not just in disappointment but as cons) is a fun character—always excited when she picks up a new one, and then struggling to cover her tracks (or rather, the fiasco) when the inevitable happens; she is one of the few in Riseholme who attempt to rebel, yet there is little or no spite in her. Olga Braceley is perhaps my favourite in the book—she is fun, likeable, thoroughly straight-forward, and good-natured—trying to help and be kind to all, even Lucia who she knows has been nothing but rude and spiteful. She is also rather perceptive, able to see instantly what others don’t and able to bring others happiness rather than only accolades for herself. The other characters—Lady Ambemere with her mousy companion/assistant Miss Lyall and pug, Mrs Weston and Col. Boucher, ‘Piggie’ and Goosie Antrobus—are also fun, though some we get to see more of than others perhaps. (Benson’s The Freaks of Mayfair, by the way, had prototypes of some of these characters.) When I compare the two villages in these initial books, I find life at Riseholme far more interesting than at Tilling where there might be battles for social one-upmanship, card parties, and even visits by the Prince, but which are not anywhere as much fun as Daisy Quantock and her yoga ‘Guru’ holding classes or Sybil séances or her many other fads or even the tableaux that Lucia plans and holds—life seems richer here in some ways and more fun. Like Olga Bracely says at one point, ‘Oh, it's all so delicious!’…‘I never knew before how terribly interesting little things were. It's all wildly exciting, and there are fifty things going on just as exciting.’ Each connected episode is a great deal of fun, and one certainly laughs or has a smile on ones face as one watches things unfold, and even as Lucia gets more and more into trouble (mean of us perhaps), and each fad or pretension is burst. I thoroughly enjoyed my revisit, and am moving on to Mapp and Lucia (book 4) now (I just read Miss Mapp before this), to see how the meeting between the two formidable ladies plays out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roger Pettit

    These days, most of us (ahem, myself included) can only imagine what a lotus-eating life of indolence and leisure, with days spent eating, reading, playing cards and listening to music, must be like. But thanks to E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books, we have a good idea of what such an existence must have been like in provincial middle England in the 1920s and 1930s. I have been a fan of these books for years. They are surely amongst the funniest novels in the English language. They are gentle sa These days, most of us (ahem, myself included) can only imagine what a lotus-eating life of indolence and leisure, with days spent eating, reading, playing cards and listening to music, must be like. But thanks to E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books, we have a good idea of what such an existence must have been like in provincial middle England in the 1920s and 1930s. I have been a fan of these books for years. They are surely amongst the funniest novels in the English language. They are gentle satires on the pretensions of the idle rich. And they are very humorous indeed. "Queen Lucia" is the first book in the series and, in my view, is the best one. It introduces us to the fabulous Lucia (Emmeline Lucas), Georgie and the sundry other characters who provide a rich seam of comical pleasure throughout the series. This is a wonderful book, one which I return to on a regular basis or when I need a pick-me-up. I urge you to read it - and the other books in the series. (Incidentally, there are two additional books in this canon, written by Tom Holt. While not as good as those written by E.F. Benson, they are also well worth trying.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    3.5 “Hitum, Titum and Scrub” Don’t you just love discovering new books with charming characters. I’d never heard of Lucia, or indeed Benson, and it is with surprise that I entered the leisurely enclave of Risholme. Its inhabitants are a delight of caricature of wealthy England between the wars. The author offers us colourful characters, from Lucia, our social prima donna, to her cohort consisting of her husband Peppino and friend Georgie, ruling over the rest of the village. But of course pretende 3.5 “Hitum, Titum and Scrub” Don’t you just love discovering new books with charming characters. I’d never heard of Lucia, or indeed Benson, and it is with surprise that I entered the leisurely enclave of Risholme. Its inhabitants are a delight of caricature of wealthy England between the wars. The author offers us colourful characters, from Lucia, our social prima donna, to her cohort consisting of her husband Peppino and friend Georgie, ruling over the rest of the village. But of course pretenders to her crown keep popping up, intrigues abound, and a newcomer disturbs the power balance. This is a comedy of manners with many ludicrous scenes and dialogue that are very entertaining. However, Benson does also raise a very astute point about village life: "‘I never knew before how terribly interesting little things were. . . . Is it all of you who take such a tremendous interest in them that makes them so absorbing, or is it that they are absorbing in themselves . . . ?’ :O)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Emmeline (Lucia) Lucas wants nothing more than to rule over her friends and neighbours in the Elizabethan village of Riseholme. This novel is the first in a series featuring ‘Queen Lucia’ and introduces us to the characters and settings where the books are set. Published in 1920, the story begins with Lucia returning from London and looking forward to her pursuit of Art for Art’s sake. Riseholme is her own, personal fiefdom, where she reigns supreme with no poverty, discontent or upheaval. She i Emmeline (Lucia) Lucas wants nothing more than to rule over her friends and neighbours in the Elizabethan village of Riseholme. This novel is the first in a series featuring ‘Queen Lucia’ and introduces us to the characters and settings where the books are set. Published in 1920, the story begins with Lucia returning from London and looking forward to her pursuit of Art for Art’s sake. Riseholme is her own, personal fiefdom, where she reigns supreme with no poverty, discontent or upheaval. She is used to directing the life of her community; the culture and entertainment. However, change is in the air and her position is about to be threatened. This is a clever novel about social snobbery and one-upmanship. Lucia’s neighbours include her second in command, Georgie Pillson, the fad obsessed Mrs Daisy Quantock (her interests even during this one, short novel, include Christian Science, yoga and spiritualism) and visiting opera singer, Olga Bracely. Of course, this novel satirises the idle rich and the author captures that perfectly – that time between breakfast and lunch when the inhabitants of Riseholme duck in and out of shops, spying on neighbours, and hugging titbits of gossip to carry on to others, is wonderfully told. However, although I did enjoy this, I did find the characters a little wearing and I doubt I will read on. It is, though, a good portrait of the wealthy between the wars, and of the lack of privacy in a small, village community.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀

    I'm sad because I didn't love this. Both women are so unpleasant. I do realize that they're supposed to be comic characters, but this just didn't work for me at this time. I'm going to watch the BBC series and see if that helps. I'm sad because I didn't love this. Both women are so unpleasant. I do realize that they're supposed to be comic characters, but this just didn't work for me at this time. I'm going to watch the BBC series and see if that helps.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    A lovely comic novel about middle-class people attempting to pass for upper class and rich people with too much money and time on their hands getting involved with charlatans in the form of: Indian gurus, Russian mediums, weird religions and fake cures. I kept hoping for someone with common sense, but only one came along, Olga, an opera singer from a poor background.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    4.5 stars Nadia May does a marvelous narration of this satire of the social maneuvers in English village life during the 1920s. If you like Gaskell's Cranford, you will probably enjoy this. 4.5 stars Nadia May does a marvelous narration of this satire of the social maneuvers in English village life during the 1920s. If you like Gaskell's Cranford, you will probably enjoy this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Writerlibrarian

    First novel in his Lucia series that has been praised since it was published. It's just an exquisite portrait of a society where pretentiousness, fake emotion, fake culture are the norm. A wonderful satirical view of a class of people that are still very much alive today. Human nature doesn't change that much. Best example the poor Mrs Quantock and her addiction to fads from yoga to medium to Christian diet and so on. There is no real plot but the incisive portraits of the people inhabiting this First novel in his Lucia series that has been praised since it was published. It's just an exquisite portrait of a society where pretentiousness, fake emotion, fake culture are the norm. A wonderful satirical view of a class of people that are still very much alive today. Human nature doesn't change that much. Best example the poor Mrs Quantock and her addiction to fads from yoga to medium to Christian diet and so on. There is no real plot but the incisive portraits of the people inhabiting this little quaint bourgeois village of Riseholme is very entertaining. The plotting of who's on top of the food chain and the sweet but hardly innocent artiste that moves to the village and runs to the ground Lucia's little castle offer quite a romp. These characters aren't bad, a little shallow, a little short in compassion but highly fun to read about or to listen to since Queen Lucia is available in audiobook at LibriVox (free to download)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    The first of half a dozen books in the Lucia series, a gentle (though hardly subtle) satire of English small country town life in the 1920s. The first volume introduces the handful of main characters, their milieu and pretensions - among the most absurdly memorable is the classification of formality of dress into "hightum, tightum and scrub" (fully formal dress, fancy dress for more ordinary occasions and relatively casual), the appropriate designation printed on party invitations on so on. Thoug The first of half a dozen books in the Lucia series, a gentle (though hardly subtle) satire of English small country town life in the 1920s. The first volume introduces the handful of main characters, their milieu and pretensions - among the most absurdly memorable is the classification of formality of dress into "hightum, tightum and scrub" (fully formal dress, fancy dress for more ordinary occasions and relatively casual), the appropriate designation printed on party invitations on so on. Though I was fairly certain the author had invented this preposterous terminology, a little Googling suggests the terms may actually have been in use in late Victorian England http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeslyn

    "The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other." Now these are my kind of people! Hilarious - life in "backwater" England with a flair unmatched...from yoga to opera to seances, the jockeying of the village's inhabitants to hold onto (or pilfer) their "next great thing" is well worth reading. Laughing loudly in public places while reading this... I'm re-reading Queen Lucia since I got my hands on the c "The hours of the morning between breakfast and lunch were the time which the inhabitants of Riseholme chiefly devoted to spying on each other." Now these are my kind of people! Hilarious - life in "backwater" England with a flair unmatched...from yoga to opera to seances, the jockeying of the village's inhabitants to hold onto (or pilfer) their "next great thing" is well worth reading. Laughing loudly in public places while reading this... I'm re-reading Queen Lucia since I got my hands on the complete collection under one cover ("Make Way for Lucia") from the library - 900+ pages is a lot to drag around, but I'm reminded how worthwhile and comically rewarding it is...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lizz

    I don’t write reviews. My word! Did I enjoy this! Mrs. Lucas and her husband are awful cultural poseurs of the first magnitude. They tsk London’s modernity and vulgarity and in their small town, they reign (let’s not withhold Mrs. Lucas her royal honours) SHE reigns, Queen Lucia. She who sets the appropriate tone for those who follow her parties and musical gatherings. She who began their interest in Italian and speaks casual, but never conversational Italian with her adoring husband. The readin I don’t write reviews. My word! Did I enjoy this! Mrs. Lucas and her husband are awful cultural poseurs of the first magnitude. They tsk London’s modernity and vulgarity and in their small town, they reign (let’s not withhold Mrs. Lucas her royal honours) SHE reigns, Queen Lucia. She who sets the appropriate tone for those who follow her parties and musical gatherings. She who began their interest in Italian and speaks casual, but never conversational Italian with her adoring husband. The readings of her husband’s prose poetry and Dante by candlelight. Did I forget their after dinner tableaux? How could I have? Then an opera singer of effortless class and true cultural knowledge of the first magnitude arrives: Olga Bracely. Poor Queen is insulted from the start and we readers learn quickly just how little Lucia understands about her friends, art, style and music. Yet sweet Olga never intends any ill will, making the reader love to be annoyed at Lucia’s tantrums. Of course there is so much more. An Indian yogi guru and a Russian princess spiritualist/medium. Georgie, Lucia’s best friend who defects to Olga’s camp because of... love??! The members of the town itself, eccentrics all. This feels like the precursor to Hyacinth Bucket. And I loved every second!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Queen Lucia is the comic period novel for those who shy away from the genre. It's perfect for anyone who's cynically observed Queen Bees at work in any era. Queen Lucia operates as a delicious satire on two levels: Yes, the novel paints a particularly stinging picture of the social climbing of the British upper middle classes in the period between the World Wars. Our protagonist, E.F. Benson's Emmeline Lucas -- referred to as Queen Lucia behind her back -- considers herself "high-priestess at eve Queen Lucia is the comic period novel for those who shy away from the genre. It's perfect for anyone who's cynically observed Queen Bees at work in any era. Queen Lucia operates as a delicious satire on two levels: Yes, the novel paints a particularly stinging picture of the social climbing of the British upper middle classes in the period between the World Wars. Our protagonist, E.F. Benson's Emmeline Lucas -- referred to as Queen Lucia behind her back -- considers herself "high-priestess at every altar of Art" and the small village of Riseholme's premiere social arbiter, imposing her iron will on all her neighbors. That Mrs. Lucas, whose Italian is virtually non-existent, insists that all of her friends and acquaintances refer to her as "Lucia," with the Italian pronunciation, gives the reader an early indication of just how pretentious Emmeline Lucas is. That Lucia sees herself as the pinnacle of refinement and exalted sensibility and her hamlet as the pre-eminent bastion of high art in England is part of the delicious joke. Like Lucifer in Paradise Lost, the competitive Lucia would rather rule in a Cotswold backwater than serve in London, which she constantly disparages. Will Lucia be able to prevail when a nationally renowned opera singer moves into Riseholme? If she doesn't, it won't be for lack of trying, by fair means or foul! While Queen Lucia ruthlessly ridicules the genteel social climbers of the 1920s, the novel also provides a scathing satire of Queen Bees of any period. Throughout the novel, you can see the beginnings of the current trend of suburbanites descending on idyllic rural parts and then transforming them into twee, Disneyfied versions of the original with no consideration for the locals. (Don't miss the send-up of Lucia's rarefied version of an Elizabethan cottage.) And Lucia's maneuvering to maintain her position as the arbiter of style and taste for Riseholme is hilarious. Scenes of the various residents of Riseholme kowtowing to those above them on the social hierarchy while condescending to those below could, with slight modifications, take place today in the Home Counties in England or the suburbs of Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois or California. Every upper-middle-class suburb, whether in the UK or America, contains social climbers who will boast about "traveling in the best society" and will try to dominate their social circles and one-up everyone else. Any woman who has ever served on a committee or sent their child to a private school will recognize modern-day Emmeline Lucases who have proved as competitive and infuriating as Lucia. Yet, however infuriating, pompous, domineering, and pretentious Lucia might be, her antics will keep you riveted to the last page. Nor will you be able to wait for the next novel, Lucia in London.

  22. 4 out of 5

    F.R.

    It’s such a pencil-thin line this novel treads, so it’s no small accomplishment that it makes it from the first to the last page while scarcely a foot put wrong. At the centre of the book’s world is the title character, Lucia, queen of all she surveys. She’s a vain, pretentious, snobbish, selfish, passive-aggressive, over-bearing lady who reacts with extra-ordinary rudeness when she doesn’t get her own way. The book acknowledges all these flaws, it advertises them, blows them up large so that th It’s such a pencil-thin line this novel treads, so it’s no small accomplishment that it makes it from the first to the last page while scarcely a foot put wrong. At the centre of the book’s world is the title character, Lucia, queen of all she surveys. She’s a vain, pretentious, snobbish, selfish, passive-aggressive, over-bearing lady who reacts with extra-ordinary rudeness when she doesn’t get her own way. The book acknowledges all these flaws, it advertises them, blows them up large so that the reader can get a good look at every single one. Without a doubt it’s mocking Lucia and it wants us to join in the mockery, as she really is quite dreadful – but, and this is the incredible part, it also likes Lucia and wants the reader to like her too. And it’s there that the book gives itself such a hard and daunting challenge. This isn’t one of those cases where there’s a heart of gold lurking deep inside an unpromising exterior; there’s little generosity of spirit in Lucia to counter-act her many personality flaws. Yet this novel does – amazingly – manage to make the reader quite like her. It gets us to view her through the prism of those who are devoted to her, through the eyes of those she publically doesn’t like yet who still do her good turns. She may indeed be a vain, pretentious, snobbish, selfish, passive-aggressive, over-bearing lady who reacts with extra-ordinary rudeness when she doesn’t get her own way, but she is the glue who holds her world together, one who believes in it absolutely and feels she is spreading joy and culture wherever she goes. She’s a product of her world, the embodiment of it, and even though there is pettiness and back-biting to her character, there is no genuine malice. The opera-singer who moves to this little village which holds this novel’s full attention, thinks she is buying a house in a little backwater where nothing much ever happens. By the end though she is amazed and delighted by how exciting and dramatic the small things which do happen are. This is a book about small things, about little dramas, about conflicts that take place with a smile and absolutely no vulgar scenes. I’m sure some will be bored by it and others frustrated, but once I was in I found an utterly beguiling book: one which pokes quiet fun at its characters whilst affectionately nurturing them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hana

    I'm finding it hard to warm up to Queen Lucia. I've known several women like Lucia and I've always avoided them like the plague, though like the plague they are often hard to escape! I'm putting this aside for a day when I'm in a better mood and it's not 100 degrees and humid (Lucia probably wouldn't have broken a sweat). I wrote that in summer and now it's winter and I still have no desire to spend more time with Lucia, so I'm putting this on my DNF list. I'm finding it hard to warm up to Queen Lucia. I've known several women like Lucia and I've always avoided them like the plague, though like the plague they are often hard to escape! I'm putting this aside for a day when I'm in a better mood and it's not 100 degrees and humid (Lucia probably wouldn't have broken a sweat). I wrote that in summer and now it's winter and I still have no desire to spend more time with Lucia, so I'm putting this on my DNF list.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)

    If I'd read this first, I doubt I'd have gone on to discover Benson's masterpiece 'Mapp and Lucia'; but doing it out of sequence after having loved Mapp and Lucia so deeply made this a pretty disappointing read too - catch 22. Some funny situations and dialogue, and it was interesting to see the characters of Lucia and (gay-gay-flamingly-gay) Georgie in inchoate form. But this did not fit together into a memorable whole. Read Mapp and Lucia instead! If I'd read this first, I doubt I'd have gone on to discover Benson's masterpiece 'Mapp and Lucia'; but doing it out of sequence after having loved Mapp and Lucia so deeply made this a pretty disappointing read too - catch 22. Some funny situations and dialogue, and it was interesting to see the characters of Lucia and (gay-gay-flamingly-gay) Georgie in inchoate form. But this did not fit together into a memorable whole. Read Mapp and Lucia instead!

  25. 4 out of 5

    A.J.

    Emmeline Lucas - you may call her Lucia (pronounced loo-CHEE-ah, of course) - rules the upper-class social roost of the small English town of Riseholme in the care-free time between world wars. Not everyone is perfectly content with this pecking order though and some yearn for the chance to upend her domination. This book sort of plays out like Dangerous Liaisons... well, except minus the liaisons for the most... and nothing is really dangerous... and the ending is happily tied up... but still! I Emmeline Lucas - you may call her Lucia (pronounced loo-CHEE-ah, of course) - rules the upper-class social roost of the small English town of Riseholme in the care-free time between world wars. Not everyone is perfectly content with this pecking order though and some yearn for the chance to upend her domination. This book sort of plays out like Dangerous Liaisons... well, except minus the liaisons for the most... and nothing is really dangerous... and the ending is happily tied up... but still! In this book all the lively characters are women or effeminate men, and the other men are left to be more or less genial background decor (the manly women do luck out though with some choice scenes). But that's not a criticism, just an observation, because oh what characters! I really enjoyed this book, and the narration by Nadia May (aka Wanda McCaddon) was very good. PS - The creator of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced bouquet, of course) had to have been a fan of Lucia. Hyacinth is like a middle-class and even more ridiculous version of her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I can't remember why I downloaded this book from the Guttenberg Project, I must have read about it somewhere, but I'd had it for ages before I got around to reading it. It was surprisingly good, about a small village community where one very snobby lady, who thinks rather a lot of herself, likes to rule the roost. This is the story of how her plans to always be at the centre of things can sometimes become somewhat unstuck. It's full of interesting and quirky characters, some of whom I really liked, I can't remember why I downloaded this book from the Guttenberg Project, I must have read about it somewhere, but I'd had it for ages before I got around to reading it. It was surprisingly good, about a small village community where one very snobby lady, who thinks rather a lot of herself, likes to rule the roost. This is the story of how her plans to always be at the centre of things can sometimes become somewhat unstuck. It's full of interesting and quirky characters, some of whom I really liked, some of whom were not so likeable. This was a fun read, and I was pleased to learn that there are several more installments in the series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    I'm not sure I can explain why Lucia is so amusing. She's a pretentious social climber, and in real life she'd annoy the hell out of anyone. I suppose the appeal lies in how far removed the novel is from any reality I've ever known: married well-off couples who putter about getting into trouble but don't need to worry about money, or health, or children, or anything meaningful. That, and an emphasis on real estate. The Lucia novels are as unreal as his ghost stories, but just as firmly rooted in I'm not sure I can explain why Lucia is so amusing. She's a pretentious social climber, and in real life she'd annoy the hell out of anyone. I suppose the appeal lies in how far removed the novel is from any reality I've ever known: married well-off couples who putter about getting into trouble but don't need to worry about money, or health, or children, or anything meaningful. That, and an emphasis on real estate. The Lucia novels are as unreal as his ghost stories, but just as firmly rooted in the mundane, albeit a different mundane than I ever deal with.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    At first I loved getting to know Lucia and her Italian phrases and Shakespearean gardens, but eventually all the social maneuvering became, as Georgie would say, "tarsome." I like the way things worked out and the ending was brilliant. I think I would like to try out a sequel eventually, but first I need a long break from reading about parties. Reading about them isn't as bad as going to them, but still. At first I loved getting to know Lucia and her Italian phrases and Shakespearean gardens, but eventually all the social maneuvering became, as Georgie would say, "tarsome." I like the way things worked out and the ending was brilliant. I think I would like to try out a sequel eventually, but first I need a long break from reading about parties. Reading about them isn't as bad as going to them, but still.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    Revisit. Emmeline Lucas (Lucia), the ‘queen’ of all things social and cultural in Riseholme finds her authority challenged quite suddenly when the prima donna Olga Bracely moves there, for not only are her ‘subjects’ changing their allegiances, some are also rebelling openly. Her gentleman-in-waiting, Georgie too, seems to be switching sides. Not that one can blame them, though, since Olga is certainly the much nicer of the two, is far more talented, and knows how to have genuine (unpretentious) Revisit. Emmeline Lucas (Lucia), the ‘queen’ of all things social and cultural in Riseholme finds her authority challenged quite suddenly when the prima donna Olga Bracely moves there, for not only are her ‘subjects’ changing their allegiances, some are also rebelling openly. Her gentleman-in-waiting, Georgie too, seems to be switching sides. Not that one can blame them, though, since Olga is certainly the much nicer of the two, is far more talented, and knows how to have genuine (unpretentious) good fun. Their antics and little games of social one-upmanship are entertaining and great fun. Molto Bene :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    What fun! Written in 1920 and set in fictional Riseholme (but based on Rye or Hastings? Jen will confirm ;-) in South England; starring the delightful Lucia and her BFF George. Who embroiders. He was a hoot. They all are! Don't tell my mother-in-law, but Mrs Quantock reminds me of her. And the lozenges she begins consuming at the end of the book will surely make her grow 2-6". The many testimonials say; it must be so! Good news: There are more of these and there are also British telly adaptations ( What fun! Written in 1920 and set in fictional Riseholme (but based on Rye or Hastings? Jen will confirm ;-) in South England; starring the delightful Lucia and her BFF George. Who embroiders. He was a hoot. They all are! Don't tell my mother-in-law, but Mrs Quantock reminds me of her. And the lozenges she begins consuming at the end of the book will surely make her grow 2-6". The many testimonials say; it must be so! Good news: There are more of these and there are also British telly adaptations (Mapp and Lucia). Much more of this in my future. Hooray!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.