Monday, 25 November 2013

" Lettice & Victoria " by Susanna Johnston

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Victoria is a young woman who, due to financial difficulties,  takes a job as a companion to an elderly academic in Northern Italy.  Isolated in the countryside, she becomes her master's eyes as she reads the blind man's correspondence to him as well as reading passages from his favourite books.  She also enjoys the visitors to the villa and even manages to fall for one particular guest, Edgar, an Englishman.
Although Victoria is hesitant to leave her employer and begin married life in England, she does not see any alternative.  

She is thrown into her her new husband's life in England and most particularly, his eccentric and highly strung Mother, Lettice. She is a difficult woman, demanding, interfering and protective of her family and friends.  Victoria is out of her depth at first and avoids her Mother-in-law at all costs.  However, a change in her circumstances mean that the two women are thrust even closer in proximity and cracks begin to show in both of their veneers. 
Lettice becomes enraged at Victoria's friendship with Archie, an old aquantence and she tries to keep them seperated at all costs.

This wonderful little book is more like a clever, character driven,  play.  Darkly humorous, cleverly written and extremely observational, this is a welcome change in contemporary literature, reading as something more along the lines of classic fiction.  It has a feel of The Royal Tenenbaums about it and for anyone who has ever felt the wrath of their Mother-in-law, is a perfect short novel with lots of snide comments and witty retorts.

Definitely ideal for readers who love a book steeped with strong, individual, quirky characters!

"Lettice & Victoria" will be published in hardback by Arcadia Books on 15th December 2013.

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