Queen Lucia

I confess, I am still occasionally guilty of being a book snob. I’ll read anything, any genre, any era, but at times I take a quiet pride in differing from the crowd. I’m only a very lukewarm fan of Harry Potter, for instance, and I have no intention of reading the Twilight series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer fulfilled my needs for sexy vampires, thank you very much.) So when I saw the Mapp and Lucia series making the rounds of the blogs recently, I thought I would try them, but I had a sneaking suspicion I wouldn’t like them much. I mean, everyone likes them. Not my style.

And thus are the mighty fallen. I read E.F. Benson’s Queen Lucia with huge enjoyment, with laughter, and with the sense that P.G. Wodehouse had somehow met Agatha Christie and produced a love-child. Each character was an absolute joy. I can’t decide if I love Daisy Quantock best, or Georgie and his toupet, or the magnificent diva Olga Braceley, or Queen Lucia herself, with her dreadful Italian and — worse, far worse — her baby-talk. I am thrilled to the marrow that the doings of small Riseholme are mine for another five books. Small goings-on, maybe, but full of wickedness and pleasure, generosity and greediness, love and ambition. It’s the world in a teacup. 

Have you read these books? Could you resist them? I can’t help thinking they’re utterly irresistible. Let me know what you thought if you’ve read them, and let me know which are your favorites!

(Incidentally — I note that Benson was hugely prolific, and wrote, in addition to his many novels, a number of well-respected ghost stories. I’ve now got those on my TBR list, too.)

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7 Responses to Queen Lucia

  1. Cliff Burns says:

    Nothing wrong with being a book snob–it just means you have discerning tastes. Stephanie Meyer’s series is silly and derivative; I’ve referred to it as “Buffy the Vampire Humper”.

    Dreadful crap. Better to investigate the work of the late James Crumley (passed away last week), a terrific, under-appreciated writer of great skill and power…

  2. Juxtabook says:

    I’ve read and quite enjoyed Queen Lucia too – the characters are mesmorising creatures – especially Georgie I think. However, though they are fun and often hilarious, because everything is so on the surface with them I feel slightly sick when I’ve finished a whole E F Benson (or Wodehouse). There’s no real substance and it is like eating sugar or cream with nothing else.

  3. Jenny says:

    Cliff — having been publicly shamed in the past for my book snobbishness, I’ll be sure to tell others in future that I have discerning tastes, and they can stuff it. James Crumley now on my to-be-investigated list.

    Oh, Juxtabook! Tell me you aren’t the sort of person who never eats junk food! No, there isn’t any substance. There isn’t even a plot, to speak of. It’s implausible, it’s superficial, and it’s totally charming. De sillibus nil nisi bonum.

  4. Juxtabook says:

    Sorry, that sounds a bit sour-faced of me! I enjoy a decent slab of chocolate of course, and they are very funny, but I just find a whole one a bit much if you see what I mean.

  5. Jenny says:

    Of course I do. Thankfully they are perfect to read in bits. Wodehouse especially, as many were written as short stories. But I read Queen Lucia straight through with no ill effects (barring the odd moment of nausea at the baby talk.) Of course, I was also reading Hardy to balance it…

  6. Teresa says:

    These are on my TBR—Eventually list. I think it was Elaine’s raving over at Random Jottings that piqued my interest, and now you’ve confirmed it.

  7. Elaine says:

    So glad that my ravings have sparked an interest in these gloriously wonderfully funny books that I have only just discovered. How I have missed them I do not know but just glad that they are a late joy


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