by Elizabeth von Arnim
‘She had the trust in him, he felt, of a child… He was proud and touched to know it, and it warmed him through and through to see how her face lit up whenever he appeared. Vera’s face hadn’t done that’
Lucy Entwhistle’s beloved father has just died; she is twenty-two and alone in the world. Leaning against her garden gate, dazed and unhappy, she is disturbed by the slightly sweaty presence of Mr. Wemyss, also in mourning – for his wife Vera, who has died in mysterious circumstances. Before Lucy can collect herself the middle-aged Mr. Wemyss has taken charge: of the funeral arrangements, of her kind aunt Dot, but most of all of Lucy herself – body and soul.
I picked this book mainly because of the title, we have a Vera of our own! A strong headed, independent border collie mix. Nothing like the women in this book! Well, aunt Dot was somewhat strong, but ultimately not enough.
In the introduction, by Xandra Hardie, she said ‘Vera roused a furore among those in England who knew the true identity of the author, and recognized the figure to whom she (Elizabeth) had been married, upon whose personality she based Everard Wemyss.’ It was Elizabeth’s second husband, Francis Russell, whom she married after the sudden death of her first husband. My interest was piqued!
The book was well written, kept my interest even though I thoroughly disliked the characters. Lucy was so weak and Weymss was so HORRID! I really had to finish it to see Weymss get his in the end. I was sorely disappointed. I was a little surprised at aunt Dot and would have gladly run Weymss over with a bus myself if given the opportunity! So I guess the book was a success in that it stirred up strong emotions in the reader and the characters, though unlikable, made a lasting impression! I’m looking forward to reading more by von Arnim.