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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I first heard about this book from another blogger, who mentioned that the Bloomsbury Group would be reprinting four more books this summer, of which Mrs. Ames is one. EF Benson wrote dozens of novels, of which his Mapp and Lucia series is most famous. Mrs. Ames is very similar to Mapp and Lucia; it concerns the social life of the town of Riseborough and several ladies'...
Published on 9 Sep 2010 by Ellis Bell

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to scratch Mr Benson
Having been a big fan of E.F.Benson's Mapp & Lucia books I had hoped for more gentle fun with Mrs Ames.
But this wasnt fun .These characters were unpleasantand unkind, while actually dealing with quite difficult issues.The authors mockery of Mrs Ames who older than her silly husband, starts to colour her hair and feel concerned about her appearance as she ages is...
Published 3 months ago by Hillyfields


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 9 Sep 2010
This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
I first heard about this book from another blogger, who mentioned that the Bloomsbury Group would be reprinting four more books this summer, of which Mrs. Ames is one. EF Benson wrote dozens of novels, of which his Mapp and Lucia series is most famous. Mrs. Ames is very similar to Mapp and Lucia; it concerns the social life of the town of Riseborough and several ladies' attempts to be Queen Bee there. Mrs. Ames is the reigning queen of middle-upper class Riseborough, but her position is threatened by the arrival of Mrs. Evans.

The novel starts off a little shakily; at first I found it a little hard to get engaged by Benson's writing style. But as I continued reading, I found myself loving this witty satire, in which people split hairs over whether one lives in a "street" or "a road." Mrs. Evans's social ascendency over the town of Riseborough seems accidental, so it's no less funny when she has the upper hand over Mrs. Ames. One of my favorite characters in this book is Mrs. Altham, the middle-aged neighbor who equally aspires to the position of Queen Bee--but doesn't ever get there and says nasty things about people behind their backs. This might get old after a while if the author's tone hadn't been quite so satirical--often, the joke is on Mrs. Altham, which makes parts of the book such a joy to read. Reading this book makes me look forward to reading more of EF Benson's books--I've heard that the Mapp and Lucia series is especially good and so I think I'll try to track down copies of some of those books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sub Lucia, but umistakably Benson, 5 Jan 2011
This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
Re-read this over Christmas after buying the "new" Mapp and Lucia books and the Benson touch is certainly in evidence. The dalliance and infatuations of middle aged and youthful weak males actually answers one of my own reservations about Major Benjy's sexual elements. Unlike the genteel Lucia originals, early Benson did enjoy teasing the romantic inadequacies of his heroes. Sometimes a little overblown and victorian, but always insightful. Some interesting prototypes for lovers of the later Tilling novels to enjoy. One for Bensonophiles, but not, I would suggest, a first foray into the author's world. Start with Mapp and Lucia, then Miss Mapp, then the later Lucia novels and use Queen Lucia and Lucia in London as prequels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Lucia fans - but don't expect it to be as good!, 4 July 2011
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This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
As a devoted Luciaphile the idea of anything else by Benson was completely irresistible - and it may be I expected a little too much.
This book has the fascination of an early prototype for the Lucia novels: it takes place in Riseborough, and features a circle of folk who are wildly interested in each other's small doings and who plot to overthrow their social queen. However, the style is not quite so assured as the later nvels, and those who recognise a somewhat more stilted version of a story that appears in Lucia, may find vexing what would merely be amusing - if you didn't know. Also, despite what one of the reviews on the cover says, it is not remotely as light as the Lucia books. The two main female protagonists are confronting the hideous issue of ageing, and what lies ahead when beauty or husband's love has fled; and for one the answer is to cold-heartedly attempt to pinch the other's husband...
For all that I like it less, I think it presents rather more real people than do the Lucia novels, so it has substantial mertis which they can't claim. But I won't be coming back to this one to be cheered and amused again and again, though I am glad I read it ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small for a woman, but good looking for a toad, 7 Aug 2014
By 
Paying Guest (Westport, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
A delightful portrayal of village social competition, and as always with Benson, character types, such as the talkative: "She talked rather slowly, but without ever stopping of her own accord, so that she got as much into a given space of time as most people. Even if she was temporarily stopped by an interruption, she kept her mouth open, so as to be able to proceed at the earliest possible moment." (6) Very funny on hair: prominent bald man who combs his long side hair over the top, secured by an essential hat, which may be knocked off by a branch.
May be EF Benson's best, in that the intricacies of interior life and social issues--specifically, the Suffragette Movement-- intersect in Benson's usual witty and oppositional, contradictory way. Some is broad satire, here of Mrs Ames: "In appearance she was like a small, good-looking toad in half-mourning; or, to state the comparison with greater precision, she was small for a woman, but good-looking for a toad." Or, "For the next week, Mrs Altham was thoroughly in her element. She had something to conceal, and was in a delicious state of tension with the superficial desire to disclose her impersonation..."(126).
And Benson underlines profound human behavior, where great laws--kindness and generosity-- are principally concerned with apparent trivialities, "Indeed, it is chiefly in little things, because most of us are not concerned with great matters" (284). The author's wit takes certain religious history for granted, "Mr Ames' lumbago was of the Laodicean sort, neither hot nor cold."
Curiously, the NYT had this book exactly right,"An extraordinary study in comedy," while TLS condescends,"a clever little satire."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Ames, 6 Feb 2014
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
“… sometimes you wonder whether the people who know you best, really understand you.”

E F Benson’s books are some of the funniest ever written; but unlike P G Wodehouse, whose humour was always gentle, E F Benson’s humour is sharper, sometimes verging on the unkind but never quite being cruel. The Mapp and Lucia books are the type of books you never tire of, and read again and again. I was delighted to find this book (first published in 1912) by E F Benson, which I had not read before, and dived into it with great enjoyment.

Mrs Ames is considered the leader of everybody who is anybody in Riseborough, although her rule is disputed by Mrs Altham. But Mrs Ames knows she reigns supreme, and she has her methods to make sure that doesn’t change. When she decides to try some ‘London ways’ and invite individuals from married couples to one of her dinner parties, strange ideas start to be aroused in some people’s minds.

Another great read from a great writer; the story of Mrs Ames and her struggle, both as leader of the Riseborough society and in her personal life is a funny, sad, yet fully human one. I enjoyed all the characters of the small town, and thoroughly enjoyed this story. Great stuff.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to scratch Mr Benson, 6 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) (Paperback)
Having been a big fan of E.F.Benson's Mapp & Lucia books I had hoped for more gentle fun with Mrs Ames.
But this wasnt fun .These characters were unpleasantand unkind, while actually dealing with quite difficult issues.The authors mockery of Mrs Ames who older than her silly husband, starts to colour her hair and feel concerned about her appearance as she ages is cruel.The other "friends" and neighbours are no better..a really rather nasty bunch
At no time did Benson capture the light hearted push and shove that the other series makes so memorable,in which, for all their schemes, you do get the sense that they were all fond of each other.
No ...I didn't like it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Ames, 2 May 2014
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It was for my wife. I did not read it. I believe she liked it. Cheers, AC
It was for my wife. I did not read it. I believe she liked it. Cheers, AC
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5.0 out of 5 stars guilty pleasure, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: MRS AMES (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant observations and poking of fun.... the characters discomfort is our entertainment... such fun but so sad and so close to todays mad dysfunctional world .... can't put him down
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3.0 out of 5 stars very little iterest, 8 May 2013
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I am afraid I did not find this book very interesting and would not recommend it to anyone I am afraid to say
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super fine book!, 20 Jan 2012
By 
June E. Dahl (Halden, NORWAY) - See all my reviews
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Stumbled on this author and this book by accident!

What a wonderful style of writing this author has!

What a good understanding of real marital love and the human condition that this author possessed.

This is a fascinating portrayal of married love, and of many people who could are possibly very bored and seek some misbehavior and mischief to put and ingredient of excitement into their otherwise DULL everyday existence! No human is above "ennui" at times! We can all get bored with routine even tho'
routine is essential in life . There isn't any protection against boredom or any PERFECT existence! There is YING and YANG/ positive and negative.

Oh! the intelligence and wisdom of Mrs. Ames! She saved her own marriage and saved her husband's real happiness and was a heroine in the
truest sense of the word. She had real integrity and strength and was willing to sacrifice her own immediate feelings of pleasure, her ego for her ideals and eventually ,the happiness of her husband.

A beautiful novel!
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Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group)
Mrs Ames (The Bloomsbury Group) by E. F. Benson (Paperback - 5 July 2010)
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