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Vera

Vera by Elizabeth Von Arnim
By: (1866-1941)

Vera (1921) by Elizabeth von Arnim is a black comedy based on her disastrous second marriage to Earl Russell: a mordant analysis of the romantic delusions through which wives acquiesce in husbands' tyrannies. In outline the story of this utterly unromantic novel anticipates DuMaurier's Rebecca. Naive Lucy Entwhistle is swept into marriage by widower, Everard Wemyss. His mansion "The Willows" is pervaded by the spectre of his dead wife Vera, with whom Lucy becomes obsessed. ... Here the servants are partisan for both wives, and lose no opportunity to disrupt Everard's unctuous, oppressive household routines. An extraordinarily black vision of marriage, also continuously funny, the novel's power lies in the wit and economy of the usually prolix Von Arnim.

First Page:

VERA

BY THE AUTHOR OF "ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN"

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

1921

I

When the doctor had gone, and the two women from the village he had been waiting for were upstairs shut in with her dead father, Lucy went out into the garden and stood leaning on the gate staring at the sea.

Her father had died at nine o'clock that morning, and it was now twelve. The sun beat on her bare head; and the burnt up grass along the top of the cliff, and the dusty road that passed the gate, and the glittering sea, and the few white clouds hanging in the sky, all blazed and glared in an extremity of silent, motionless heat and light.

Into this emptiness Lucy stared, motionless herself, as if she had been carved in stone. There was not a sail on the sea, nor a line of distant smoke from any steamer, neither was there once the flash of a bird's wing brushing across the sky. Movement seemed smitten rigid. Sound seemed to have gone to sleep.

Lucy stood staring at the sea, her face as empty of expression as the bright blank world before her... Continue reading book >>


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