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Ada Leverson's second novel is a delightful and witty tangle of love and attraction at cross-purposes. Edith Ottley and Hyacinth Verney are two young Edwardian women, old schoolfriends, with love trouble on their hands. But it is trouble of a vastly differing nature. Edith is married to Bruce, a youngish Foreign Office clerk. Bruce is an extraordinary man, at least in his own estimation! Constantly upbraiding Edith peevishly about her lack of understanding of him, prey to hypochondria of all kinds, convinced of his own pre-eminence in all he undertakes, he is completely unaware of his family's and indeed the world's barely patient toleration of his foibles. Edith, for all that she finds him impossible, somehow loves him. Hyacinth is in a tricky situation. She is madly in love with a handsome young man-about-town, Cecil Reeve, who is himself fascinated by a glamorous widow, Eugenia Raymond, who enjoys his company but not in that way. When Eugenia agrees to marry none other than Cecil's uncle, Lord Selsey, the horrified Cecil is encouraged to fall back upon the adoration that Hyacinth provides. But Cecil and Eugenia's continuing proximity means that the scene is set for jealousy, misunderstanding and potential disaster, with hilarious results. Ada Leverson wrote three novels featuring Edith and Bruce Ottley, of which this is the first. Her deceptively light and seemingly frivolous style masks here a worldly and stylish investigation into the terms of true love, and the pursuit of love's shadow. This brilliant comedy was first published in 1908.
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