Lucia in London

Oftentimes in a group I will choose to spend time with an acquaintance, even if we are not quite friends, rather than risk the unknown of the others. The same is usually true with book characters. Thus with my feelings yet unresolved about Queen Lucia, I set forth into Lucia in London.

Everyone from Riseholme is back to their old tricks, most especially Lucia. I was glad to see that Georgie and Daisy come into their own more here and refuse to be cowed; indeed, they seem more fleshed out when they are no longer under Lucia’s shadow.

By the middle of this book I found myself despising Lucia. Upon inheriting a house in London from her her husband’s aunt, she selfishly abandons her Riseholme friends and drags Peppino off to town for the season. To make matters worse, when then snubs them when she returns with her new cultured peers for a weekend. Riseholme, however, admirably ignores her in return, showing that they can manage themselves and their new museum without her very well.

Just as my mental rants were worst, however, Lucia’s London friends begin discussing her behavior and find it highly entertaining–in particular Adele and Lord Tony. They call themselves the Luciaphiles and are devoted to providing ways for her to triumph in a calculated social game that to her is a matter of life and death.  Just as in the first book we find ourselves interested in Riseholme because Olga Bracely sees it as such, here I began to see Lucia as entertaining only when everyone else seemed to think so. It seems an underhanded trick on Benson’s part, and I’m not sure whether I would be so forgiving towards Lucia otherwise.

I was most upset with her when she abandoned Peppino to go off for a weekend with her pretend lover, as he is one of my favorite characters merely because he hasn’t done anything to annoy me yet. Benson kept hinting at something bad to come, but thankfully Peppino eventually recovered from his illness. This more than anything else made Lucia see reason and come home, and also showed that though selfish, she actually is good at heart.

The series seem laced through with a unique type of spirituality—the first book had gurus, while here all the characters are concentrated on the planchette and Mrs. Quantock’s communication with the indescribable spirit Abfou. Through these means they express their hidden mental agendas, as when Lucia’s spirit Vittoria proves her superiority by predicting the museum fire.

I’m surprisingly looking forward to visiting Riseholme again, and can’t wait to meet the famous Miss Mapp.

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Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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