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Love's Shadow (The Bloomsbury group) [Paperback]

Ada Leverson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Sep 2009
Edith and Bruce Ottley live in a very new, very small, very white flat in Knightsbridge. On the surface they are like every other respectable couple in Edwardian London and that is precisely why Edith is beginning to feel a little bored. Excitement comes in the form of the dazzling and glamorous Hyacinth Verney, who doesn't understand why Edith is married to one of the greatest bores in society. But then, Hyacinth doesn't really understand any of the courtships, jealousies and love affairs of their coterie: why the dashing Cecil Reeve insists on being so elusive, why her loyal friend Anne is so stubbornly content with being a spinster, and why she just can't seem to take her mind off love A wry, sparklingly observed comedy of manners, Love's Shadow brims with the sharp humour that so endeared Ada Leverson to Oscar Wilde, who called her the wittiest woman in the world. Love's Shadow is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Paperback Edition, First Printing edition (6 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408803828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408803820
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A perceptive, witty and wise portrayal of an ill assorted marriage and unrequited love ' randomjottings.typepad.com 'Saki meets Jane Austen in the delectable Edwardian comedies of Ada Leverson. A great discovery awaits her new readers' Barry Humphries

About the Author

Ada Leverson (1862-1933), the devoted friend of Oscar Wilde (who called her the wittiest woman in the world), wrote six timeless novels, each a classic comedy of manners. Love's Shadow, the first in the trilogy The Little Ottleys, is the perfect examples of her wit and style: no other English novelist has explored the world of marriage and married life with such feeling for its mysteries and absurdities.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great reprint title 1 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
This brilliant novel is the first in a trilogy called The Little Ottleys (perhaps more will be forthcoming from Bloomsbury?) and the Ottleys in question are Edith and Bruce, married for a few years. A recent review, charmingly and accurately, describes Bruce as Mr. Pooter without the charm - I think his character can be summed up by this:

'He often wrote letters beginning "Sir, I feel it my duty," to people on subjects that were no earthly concern of his.'

Edith is obviously fond of him, and parries his ridiculous jibes and moans with a light-hearted wit which is both very amusing to read and an act of supernatural tolerance. Bruce really is the most ghastly imaginable husband, obsessed with being granted his due 'reverence' - from his son, his parents, his wife, and more or less everyone else. And like most preposterous characters, he is exceedingly vain. A fabulously witty chapter (Chapter 27, fact fans) chronicles his report of a first foray into amateur dramatics. In later chapters he devotes most of his time and energy to the two lines he has been given, but Chp.27 is so cleverly structured, a vignette of his vanity, self-delusion, and inability to tell a story, that I wish I could reproduce it in full.

This marriage lends the trilogy its name, but Love's Shadow follows a flock of others, in an amusingly complex array of romantic entanglements, unrequited attachments, and refused proposals. (To set the tone, the union of Lady and Charles Cannon is explained peripherally thus:'Having become engaged to her through a slight misunderstanding in a country house, Sir Charles had not had the courage to explain away the mistake.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love's Shadow 19 Mar 2014
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
“Bruce spent a great deal of his time and energy in disapproving; generally of things and people that were no concern of his.”

This book was first published in 1908 and forms the first part of a trilogy (followed by Tenterhooks, and Love and Second Sight). It’s a bit hard to describe, apart from it being a slice of life (those in Society, of course) in the first years of the twentieth century. Edith and Bruce, married for three years and with a son Archie live in a small flat where Bruce, perenially late for work, convinced he is ill and being disparaged by everyone else who don’t show him the correct deference, wears the patience of Edith. Meanwhile Hyacinth believes she is madly in love with Cecil who is madly in love with the widowed Mrs Raymond, who is in love with someone else who doesn’t know she exists. These slices of life, seen as it were through the window of everybody’s drawing room offer a humorous view of the world as seen by the author. Ada Leverson must have been a wonderful observer of people, because even though these people are removed from our world by one hundred years, their ways are still recognisable even today. Absolutely wonderful, and I look forward to the next in the trilogy, Tenterhooks.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rediscovered gem.... 30 Aug 2009
By Elaine Simpson-long TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I had never heard of Ada Leverson until I stumbled across an old Virago edition of The Little Ottleys at a book sale, bought it, read it and loved it. This title is no longer available so I am delighted that the Bloomsbury Group have republished the first in this Trilogy, Love's Shadow. Bloomsbury asked readers for suggestions for this particular book niche and, as this was one I mentioned and my by line is on the back of the book, you can imagine how pleased I am that it is available once more. I am deeply honoured to find that above my by line is one from Dame Edna (aka Barry Humphries) who describes the story thus: 'Saki meets Jane Austen in the delectable comedies of Ada Leverson' and while Love's Shadow is certainly comic, there is also sadness and unrequited love.

Edith is married to the unutterably ghastly Bruce Ottley (Mr Pooter without the charm), who is pompous, and vain. She has a young, beautiful friend Hyacinth Verney who is in love with the elusive and dashing Cedric Reeve. He, in his turn, is fascinated and infatuated with an enigmatic widow some ten years older than him, Mrs Raymond, who spurns his attentions and insists that he marries Hyacinth. In turn, Hyacinth is loved by her guardian Lord Cannon, unhappily married to the redoubtable and self deluding Lady Cannon who had "a very exalted opinion of her own charms, virtues, brilliant gifts and, above all, of her sound sense. Fortunately for her, she had married a man of extraordinary amiability who had taken very possible precaution to prevent her discovering that in this opinion she was practically alone in the world".

There is also a hint that Bruce, who is furious at Hyacinth's marraige, may also be in love with her....

Still with me?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delight! 15 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written, funny and witty. Perfect example of how seriously good text doesn't need to be solemn or heavy or take itself seriously.
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