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on 28 July 2013
The Mapp and Lucia tales are always so much fun and this is the most well-known of the book series. It can be read without reference to the previous titles of Queen Lucia and Miss Mapp, and essentially it is about two strong personalities who try to out do each other in a battle of wills that only one can win. All the characters are beautifully drawn (eg Diva, Major Benjy, Georgie, the Wyses etc) and the minutiae of life in a small village wonderfully described. The scheming machinations of the two main characters, as well as their self-importance and pretentiousness, are perfectly captured but with affection rather than derision so although they would be insufferable women to know, you can't help liking them. An easy to read book that is well-written and a classic of its time and genre.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 March 2015
Shame on me... for only discovering this book because of a BBC mini-series. How did I never hear of this 20th century classic? Every bit as witty and nuanced as my favourite classics, this is readable, relatable and a read to relish (to continue the alliteration).

A comedy of manners, of gossip and of one-up-womanship, it concerns a small English village in the 1930s and its residents. And a new addition to the town who stirs up interest and tension as her rivalry with the current social Queen instantly starts a series of escalating comic escapades. Lucia refuses to allow Elizabeth Mapp, who rents her the home she stays in for the season, to dominate her from the offset, to the great delight of both her neighbours and us as readers.

There is a fantastic selection of characters to enjoy here, all minor and not as well-developed as Lucia and the controlling Miss Mapp but each adding to the close feel of the village and the small social world of Tilling. Pretensions are exposed, faux pas are gossiped about, and a huge amount of dinner parties are attended.

Adored this from start to finish, and may seek out the other titles in the series. Not as outrightly funny as Wodehouse, not as obviously witty as Austen, but still funny and witty in its own right. Just right for someone looking for a light read that will keep them smiling wryly and shaking their heads at some outrageously underhand females trying to win the social war.
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on 24 January 2013
I love this and all the others in the series. Brilliantly drawn characters in the most hilarious situations, a wonderful read.
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on 5 January 2017
I'm working my way through this series and this is the best one yet. Lucia rents Elizabeth's house for the late summer (with Georgie in tow of course) and the two commence battle over who should be the social Queen of Tilling. It's funny all the way through but the finale, involving a floating kitchen table and much-coveted recipe for lobster, is hilarious. As well as the return of favourite characters and the sharp social comedy, there is the portrayal of life between the wars, which is fascinating. Did people really go in for tableaux of Queen Elizabeth? How did they afford their lifestyles when they never appear to do anything to earn money? Why was it considered risque for Lucia and Georgie to stay at the same inn (separate rooms) but perfectly okay for Georgie to have a parlour maid living in his house? Enjoy. I did.
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on 30 April 2015
Of an age long gone and a distorted view of English society but full of charm and quirky characters. A short break in the cosy seaside town of Tilling culminates in a local power struggle between the established 'Queen Bee' (Miss Mapp) and an interloper who is determined to replace her (Emmeline 'Lucia' Lucas) aided by her dear friend ‘Georgie’ Pillson. Not for fans of 'in your face realism' and political correctness but many will consider that a major attraction. If you like the innocent escapism of Jane Austen you should enjoy the 'Mapp and Lucia' series of books. I haven't seen the recent TV remake but if you prefer to view rather than read, the classic 'Mapp & Lucia: The Complete Series [DVD] (1985-1986)' with Prunella Scales, Geraldine McEwan, and Nigel Hawthorne is a joy to behold.
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on 22 August 2014
The book and the 1980's TV interpretation are a must.
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on 31 January 2015
I absolutely loved it, though as with most things in life the pleasure depends on the individual .the rivalry, the snobbery, the tiny knife in the ribs all joined in a collection of incidents ,that maybe did not make one laugh uncontrollably but most definetely raised many a knowing smirk.
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on 1 September 2015
What a delightful read. Eccentric characters well drawn makes this a strongly character-driven piece. Exquisite rendering of social envy and insecurity in a group with limited horizons whose individuals are fearful of being excluded. Bliss.
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on 16 April 2016
I imagine you will either love or hate this book. I have just read it at great speed for my book group. Wonderful, very clever dialogue. What an amazing cameo of life in the past.
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on 27 October 2014
Why can I only get one chapter.iI thought I had bought a free book with just vat to pay what am I doing wrong.If I have to pay for each chapter it is hardly free
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