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Contemporary Reviews - Queen Lucia E.F.Benson (Sketch by Patrick Hamill)
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THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Thursday, August 5, 1920
New Novels:  Queen Lucia.

  "I never knew," exclaimed Olga Bracely, the delightful prima donna to whom Mr. E.F. Benson introduces us in his new novel, QUEEN LUCIA 
(Hutchinson, 8s. 6d. Net) "how terribly interesting little things were!" Enlightenment had come to her after only a few weeks' sojourn in the 
precincts of Queen Lucia's court; but if she had been there long enough to get the true perspective she would never have alluded to "little" things at all - everything that happened in Riseholme being of stupendous importance to everybody.  The chief industry of this furiously busy little village, next to gossip, was Culture, as befitted the domain of a Sovereign who could play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata and speak some very pretty phrases out of an Italian grammar.  Culture, of course, is a process that should properly be applied to the whole man, body as well as mind; and when Daisy Quantock, dissatisfied with her experiments in Christian Science, determined to try a course of Yoga the ruler of Riseholme immediately extended her patronage to the saintly Brahmin instructor who had been so wonderfully "sent" to Daisy - or, in other words, had answered her advertisement.  It was obviously unfitting that Mrs. Quantock should monopolize the mystical health-giving properties of that sacred word "Om." Therefore, Queen Lucia, like the benevolent autocrat she was, decided to take possession of the "Guru" in order that her own fair hand might dispense him in generous doses to the community at large.  Everyone in Riseholme had begun to feel much younger, lighter, and more loving, when rather suddenly (in response, no doubt, to some new "call") the prophet departed, leaving his devoted pupils a legacy of fifteen empty brandy bottles - by way of compensation, perhaps, for the hundred pounds and collection of valuables which he had been inspired to take with him. Daisy Quantock found it possible, all things considered, to 
forgive the theft of her Guru; but she did not forget.  Such high-handed conduct stimulates the Bolshevist germ; and it needed only the advent of Olga Bracely, who really understood music and Italian, and was excellent company into the bargain, to produce horrible symptoms of disintegration at court.

Taken as pure farce, "Queen Lucia" is an altogether satisfying entertainment; full of humorous situations, sparkling with wholesome wit. 
The characters, too, are for the most part consistent and original (though one cannot fail to recognize the debt owed by Mrs. Weston to Miss Bates, and by Lady Ambermere to Lady Catherine de Burgh).  Indeed, it is the high quality and thoroughness of Mr. Benson's latest work that suggests our only criticism.  So very little restraint would have kept it within the limits of comedy and we do not feel that it gains in any way from the touches which incline to extravaganza.  Yet, after all, we are only saying that a very good thing might have been still better.

BOOK REVIEW DIGEST, 1920
Benson, Edward Frederic
"Queen Lucia." $2 (1 1/2c) Doran.  20-15389

 Riseholme was a strictly Elizabethan village, and "The Hurst," the Lucas's house, more Elizabethan than all the rest, was its social centre. 
Here Queen Lucia reigned.  For ten years she had been the undisputed ruler when the smoldering rivalry between herself and her neighbor, Mrs. Quantock, threatened open eruption.  Not content with having set the town's pace with her classic taste, Queen Lucia must also make herself the leader in each new fad discovered and introduced by Mrs. Quantock.  With the coming of the famous singer, social observances, rules and precedents are knocked into a cocked hat and one by one the bubbles, in which Mrs. Lucas saw her own greatness reflected, are pricked.  She no longer rules and social oblivion threatens to engulf her when Olga, in large-hearted pity, executes a series of maneuvers which reinstate a humbler and wiser queen in something of her former position.

The dismallest feature of all is that Mr. Benson's humour should have gone - not to the dogs, but to the cats.
 K.M.  [Ath. p.241.  Ag 20 '20. 700v]

  [Booklist 17:30.  O '20 -- no review]

Fantastic in the extreme, Mr. Benson's latest novel may be accepted more as a light and airy fantasy than as a contribution to the study of English social manners.  It is, in fact, a merry farce transferred from the lights of the stage to the printed pages of fiction and it bears further tribute to the ingenious qualities of Mr. Benson's humor.
E.F.E.  [Boston Transcript p6.  Jl 28 '20.  1150w]

A clever and amusing satire.
[Cath. World 112:549.  Ja '21. 170w]

The book is lacking in what we are constantly told is necessary for a good novel.  There is not much plot; there is no love interest; there is no climax.  But it is long since one has seen such a masterly bit of satire, such a piece of character-study as Lucia.
[Lit.D.  p101.  S 18 '20.  1400w]

The book is a great treat from beginning to end.
E.L. Pearson [Review 3:249.  S 22 '20.  480w]

Apart from its humor and comic sense of character, the narrative emphasizes Mr. Benson's versatility and his mature art.
[Springfield. Republican p11a.  S 12 '20.  400w]

Taken as pure farce, "Queen Lucia" is an altogether satisfying entertainment; full of humorous situations, sparkling with wholesome wit. 
The characters, too, are for the most part consistent and original.  So very little restraint would have kept it within the limits of comedy and 
we do not feel that it gains in any way from the touches which incline to extravaganza.
[The Times (London) Lit. Sup.  P502.  Ag 5 '20.  480w]

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