Book review – Lettice & Victoria by Susanna Johnston

Lettice & Victoria

I love to read, and devour books on a regular basis, and whilst I have a shelf dedicated to books I deem my faviourtes, its a collection that has taken years to accumulate as a favourite has to be a really special book in my eyes. Lettice & Victoria is one of these very special books, a rare gem that I didn’t want to finish and which will be going straight to my faviourte’s shelf.

The cover of Lettice & Victoria (which is really unusual) was the first thing that drew me to this book, it just feels nice to read. It starts with one of the main characters, Victoria, travelling back to Italy where she works as an amanuensis to an aging ‘man of letters’ called Laurence. Although the book doesn’t spend a lot of time describing the appearances of the characters or the surroundings, I found this extremely engaging. The unusual writing style is really special and I find every page very enticing.

After meeting Edgar, who turns out to be quite incidental in the overall scheme of things (which I felt just aided the imagery of the weakness of his personality), Victoria marries him and is transformed to ‘The Old Keep’ where her life completely changes. And so we are thrown into the competitive and eccentric world of Lettice, Archie and Harold. Lettice, the mother of poor old Edgar, and Victoria’s mother in law, isn’t one to be trifled with and she wages a quiet, scheming battle on Victoria, who always seems to come on top despite not trying.

Archie, an eccentric and aging writer becomes infatuated with Victoria, a scandal that Lettice finds increasingly hard to cope with. The intertwining relationships and dynamics are skillfully written, and I found myself grimacing in some parts at the blatant scheming from Lettice. There is a lot of elegant black humour in the book, and I loved the simplicity and importance placed on the process of writing letters.

I can not rave enough about this book, and keep telling everyone about it, Β it has a very firm place on my faviourte’s shelf and will be a book that I read again and again.

A massive thank you to Arcadia Books for sending me this delightful read.

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