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Lucia in London
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Lucia Lucas (born Emmeline Smith) wished the world to know that the recent death of her husband's aunt, who was 83 years old and who had spent the last seven of them bed-ridden in a private lunatic asylum, was "a grievous blow". Suppressed were the facts that neither Lucia nor her husband had hitherto given much thought to the aunt, and the fact that when Lucia's husband last visited the aunt, seven years previously, she bit him. No, the world must be convinced that the death of "dear Aunt Amy" was not a "happy release", it was "a grievous blow", requiring the wearing of veils, the drawing of blinds, and stoically-born, inconsolable suffering.
So begins E F Benson's 1927 novel "Lucia In London", one of six in which the author chronicles the worlds of Riseholme and its social climbing leading resident, Lucia. I say "worlds" because we are presented with two worlds. There is the real world and the world of pretence. Most characters, especially Lucia live in both worlds. What they privately covet, the publically despise. What they really feel, for example at the death of an aunt, they suppress in order to pretend to something more publically admired.
Benson's chronicles are great fun. The pretence, the point scoring, the absurdity, are richly detailed. There's not much testosterone, but there's a chuckle at least in every sentence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2008
This is the second of the Lucia novels - there are, I think, six in total plus a further two written by Tom Holt. I would recommend each and every one of them, including those written by Holt. This novel, like the others, is sharply observed and a very funny comedy of manners. There is no cruelty in Benson's development of his characters - although we find them rather absurd and amusing, they remain endearing and surprisingly sympathetic.

I particularly like this book. In it, Lucia invades the "beau monde" as an irresistable force, tirelessly raising her profile amongst the titled classes, the most fashionable artists and thinkers and most notorious "cause celebres". The reaction amongst her friends in her home village of Riseholme to this relentless publicity seeking leads to one of my favourite scenes in the series.

Of course, once you have finished this book, you can then move on to the spendid "Miss Mapp" in preparation for the titanic meeting that is "Mapp and Lucia". This book, along with the others, has lifted my spirits many times over the years since I discovered it. Humourous, light hearted and beautifully written, these books remain a joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2011
As the title suggests, in Lucia in London Lucia and Pepino inherit a house in London after his aunt dies. Despite all her protestations of finding London dull and unimaginative compared to Riseholme, it doesn't take Lucia long to abandon the quiet village and move up to town where she is soon unashamedly engaged in worming her way into London society, assuming familiarity on the slightest of acquaintances and inviting herself to other people's dinner parties. However, Riseholme does not take kindly to being snubbed and retaliates with a flurry of activity in which Lucia is decidedly not involved. Unused to such independence on behalf of her subjects, Lucia must try to maintain her soveriegnty in Riseholme while battling her way to the top in London.

I think the reason that I enjoyed this book so much more than the first one, despite it being much the same to all intents and purposes, is the fact that it is the second book. A great deal of the fun and enjoyment of the Lucia books comes from knowing the characters and being able to predict exactly how they will behave in any given situation, then laughing at the inevitability of it all, and this sort of familiarity really needs more than one three hundred page book to be developed. Like Olga and her friends in Lucia in London, I have become a Luciaphil, and thoroughly enjoy watching Benson engineer situations in which I know Lucia will behave in a rude, crass manner and equally I know that everyone else will pretend not to notice because a. they're too polite and b. they're having just as much fun observing Lucia brazen out awkward social situations as I am. This obvious awareness of the silliness of events but genuine delight in them nonetheless is what makes this book so particularly enjoyable.

Although much of the action takes place in London, Riseholme is not neglected. I loved watching them scheming indignantly following Lucia's mocking of Riseholme and the spread of gossip is a wonder to behold. I felt like I got to know some of the Riseholmites better in this book, and I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time with them in the remaining four Lucia books.
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on 19 April 2015
Lucia's husband, Pepino, who I always thought was Italian but isn't, inherits a house in London and the temptation to extend her social skills is too much for the Queen of Riseholme to ignore. Lucia excels herself at social climbing and ingratiates herself into the world of high society whether high society wants her to or not. Unfortunately, she doesn't realise that, while admiring her meteoric rise among the capital's upper crust community, the true leaders of the (usually titled) pack look upon her as a form of entertainment in her own right and indulge her behaviour for their own amusement. Inviting her new London 'friends' down to sleepy Riseholme she ignores nay, snubs, her old friends who retaliate by snubbing her back. The Queen no longer. Naturally, all's well that ends well and Lucia is forced to admit that she's better off as a large fish in a small pond than a minnow in an ocean. She and Pepino return to their cosy Riseholme and her authority is quickly restored. More nonsense from a world where there aren't any poor people and even if there were they would all be deliriously happy. A fantasy land where the fate of a mulberry tree is a major talking point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2012
Lucia appears at times to be not fully in control of her social rising in the metropolis.
Nevertheless, the novel is as good as all of Mr. Benson's stories. A part of you hopes that Lucia will fail, though you know she will prevail.
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on 28 July 2013
This book focuses on Lucia's antics in London after she inherits a house there. Of course her irrepressible spirit and overbearing ways mean she is soon a force to be reckoned with in the society of the metropolis - although here she can't quite be the queen bee that she so longs to be. Another good prequel to Mapp and Lucia, although it probably is more of a stand-alone book than Queen Lucia and Miss Mapp which lead more naturally on to Mapp and Lucia and explain what went before with more relevance. Still a book that is great fun and one sure to appeal to Mapp and Lucia fans.
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on 2 January 2015
I love all the Mapp and Lucia books, so was delighted to see this CD, read by Miriam Margoyles. I have listened to it at least 6 times - she is one of the best readers I have ever heard. She switches effortlessly from one voice to another, and the various characters are so distinctive that I have difficulty remembering I am listening to a reading and not a dramatization. I can thoroughly recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys the books. I have received the other CDs for Christmas and am hoping they will be as good!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lucia Lucas (born Emmeline Smith) wished the world to know that the recent death of her husband's aunt, who was 83 years old and who had spent the last seven of them bed-ridden in a private lunatic asylum, was "a grievous blow". Suppressed were the facts that neither Lucia nor her husband had hitherto given much thought to the aunt, and the fact that when Lucia's husband last visited the aunt, seven years previously, she bit him. No, the world must be convinced that the death of "dear Aunt Amy" was not a "happy release", it was "a grievous blow", requiring the wearing of veils, the drawing of blinds, and stoically-born, inconsolable suffering.
So begins E F Benson's 1927 novel "Lucia In London", one of six in which the author chronicles the worlds of Riseholme and its social climbing leading resident, Lucia. I say "worlds" because we are presented with two worlds. There is the real world and the world of pretence. Most characters, especially Lucia live in both worlds. What they privately covet, the publically despise. What they really feel, for example at the death of an aunt, they suppress in order to pretend to something more publically admired.
Benson's chronicles are great fun. The pretence, the point scoring, the absurdity, are richly detailed. There's not much testosterone, but there's a chuckle at least in every sentence.
Benson's novels are suitable for reading aloud. What is consummate prose on the page becomes great art when read for Isis Audio Books by Geraldine McEwan. I have listened to her reading over and over again. Listening in the car, I have found the longest journey in outback Australia to be pure pleasure. Be warned, however, that your laughing might impede your driving competence.
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on 25 November 2014
i already have this in paperback form so i was delighted to find it in the kindle format.These novels by E.F.Benson are timeless and very funny .They are books one can go back to and read again and again.I love them
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on 4 July 2013
I love all the Lucia books and this one is as entertaining as the rest.
I'm trying to collect them all.
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