“This was all splendid stuff for Luciaphils; it was amazing how at a first glance she recognized everybody. The gallery, too, was full of dears and darlings of a few weeks’ standing, and she completed a little diner party for next Tuesday long before she had made the circuit.” (Lucia in London by E. F. Benson)
I have one piece of advice for anyone contemplating a wedding in the distant or not-so-distant future: bring E.F. Benson’s Make Way for Lucia along. It is peppered with women without being girly, light and petty without tainting ones morals, and as classy a book as one could wish for. In fact, even if you aren’t getting married, consider yourself free to hunt down a copy of this delicious 1000 page escape into significant frivolity.
It is rare these days to find a book where the characters have not one redeeming feature, yet manage to absolutely engross the reader book after book. You may stick out your tongue at Lucia’s blatant social climbing, or feel sick at heart over Miss Mapp’s clear disregard of other’s emotions, but you will eat up everything these two say and soon get over any lingering moral qualms. I almost despair of the time when I have to return to reading modern novels with their sickly, huggable characters, who you would love to have over for afternoon tea and to talk over problems.
E.F. Benson has also done a wonderful job of creating suspense – quite a feat in a world consisting solely of societal advances and rebuttals. Miss Mapp and Lucia have remained stubbornly separate from each other so far, but I am about to embark on the next book, Mapp and Lucia, where they will not only meet, but move into the same town. I don’t know how I put the book down long enough to begin this post.
Beverage: This book calls for the champagne of teas, Darjeeling.
Reminds me of… Jeeves and Wooster for girls.