Love's Shadow, Paperback Book

Love's Shadow Paperback

Part of the The Bloomsbury Group series

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Edith and Bruce Ottley live in a very new, very small, very white flat in Knightsbridge.

On the surface they are like every other respectable couple in Edwardian London and that is precisely why Edith is beginning to feel a little bored.

Excitement comes in the form of the dazzling and glamorous Hyacinth Verney, who doesn't understand why Edith is married to one of the greatest bores in society.

But then, Hyacinth doesn't really understand any of the courtships, jealousies and love affairs of their coterie: why the dashing Cecil Reeve insists on being so elusive, why her loyal friend Anne is so stubbornly content with being a spinster, and why she just can't seem to take her mind off love A wry, sparklingly observed comedy of manners, Love's Shadow brims with the sharp humour that so endeared Ada Leverson to Oscar Wilde, who called her the wittiest woman in the world.

Love's Shadow is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Hyacinth is young, beautiful and popular with her London social set. So why does she fall in love with Cecil, who is in love with Eugenia, on older, plain widow? And why does Eugenia want to marry Cecil's uncle, since she admits she doesn't love him any more than she loves Cecil? And how does Hyacinth's friend Edith stand her arrogant prig of a husband, Bruce? Actually, it seems that no one can stand Bruce.I had never heard of Leverson but the blurb on the back cover of Oscar Wilde calling her the wittiest woman in the world convinced me that I had to try this and I wasn't disappointed. This book moves quickly with short chapters, characters all bumping into each other and gossiping about what each has seen and heard and showing the ridiculous lengths people will go to attract their 'ideal' and the unhappiness that success can bring. Here's a brief dialogue between husband and wife:Bruce: "Odd. Very odd you should get it into your head that I should have any idea of leaving you. Is that why you're looking so cheerful-laughing so much?"Edith: "Am I laughing? I thought I was only smiling."

Review by

Love's Shadow was an interesting and farcial glimpse of a segment early Edwardian society. The plot, such as it is, revolves around the courtship, and later marriage, of beautiful Hyacinth Verney to intelligent and handsome Cecil Reeve, and includes many scenes of the marriage of Hyacinth's friend, Edith Ottley, to her husband Bruce. All of the characters, except for Edith, tend toward being too exaggerated, but Leverson manages to include scenes that bring most of them back from that edge. The exception is Bruce, a character that I couldn't stand and did not find at all funny. This marred by enjoyment of the book somewhat, and I didn't quite find it funny enough to overcome that. 6.5/10

Review by

If it weren't for Bruce Ottley, I would have given it 5 stars. It's light and very funny; in the vein of An Ideal Husband, even sharing the description of a certain piece of jewelry - I don't wonder that they (Leverson and Wilde) shared it on purpose. Bruce Ottley must be the most exasperating character ever drawn. If such a man exists I hope I never meet him. I'm liable to smother him to death in his sleep or poison his food without the least compunction. I was looking forward to reading the two sequels, but I'm not sure how much more of Mr. Ottley I can take. I will read them, however, and continue to hope that Bruce comes to a violent end.

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