Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson

On the surface, Edith and Bruce Ottley seem like the perfect Edwardian couple – respectable, presentable and well mannered. However, in reality, Edith begins to feel a little bored with her marriage since Bruce is a man with many eccentricities and absurdities. Edith’s husband seems to complain about everything and everyone and he thinks too well of himself. Luckily, Edith’s friend Hyacinth Verney is there to bring a little excitement into Edith’s dull life. Hyacinth is a beautiful and glamorous young woman whom everyone adores and admires. She appears to have the perfect life, except that the young woman is madly in love with someone who doesn’t show any interest in her. Hyacinth cannot really understand why the man of her dreams doesn’t seem to admire her like everyone else, thus she tries to do everything in order to win his attention. After many misunderstandings, heartaches and jealousies, Hyacinth and her beloved are finally united.

Love’s Shadow is a classic comedy of manners and it deals with the affairs of the heart and their consequences. Ada Leverson masterfully explores the different facets of love – the love between friends, unrequited love and being in love. Furthermore, her novel draws a lucid portrait of married life, while revealing all its oddities, enigmas and obscurities.

Love’s Shadow is packed with charm, wit, hilarious dialogue, eccentric characters and superb writing. Since the novel is set in the past and in England, it was the perfect book for me. I just loved everything about this book and I had to laugh many times while reading it. There are just so many witty remarks and funny characters in Ada Leverson’s novel that you can’t help but adore it! I liked all the characters except for Bruce Ottley since he is such a peculiar and unlikeable man! (However, I think that it was the author’s purpose to portray him that way). Bruce is so obnoxious and so full of himself – he never seems content and he always finds fault with everything and everyone. I can fully understand why Edith is bored with him, since Bruce is so annoying with his attitude and outrageous behaviour. He thinks of himself as a ‘man of the world’ when in reality, he is lazy, odd and ignorant. Furthermore, he treats his wife as if she were an object and a servant. Bruce thinks that Edith is not clever, but the truth is that she is more intelligent than he could ever be. However, Edith has to keep things to herself, because wives at that time couldn’t take the liberty of opposing their husbands. But she still gets her own way quite often, because she is clever enough to let Bruce believe that he’s in charge, when in reality, Edith has the upper hand when it comes to their marriage.

Love’s Shadow was a pure delight and an enjoyable read and I recommend it to everyone out there who likes to read books set in the past and to everyone who likes to read about gender roles.



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandy
    May 04, 2010 @ 14:30:18

    Edwardian wit! Love it! This is the perfect example of a book with a title and cover that absolutely gives no hint of wit. Lucky for us, you have given us a great review and head’s up!


  2. Aarti
    May 04, 2010 @ 17:21:33

    This sounds lovely! I think I need to gather ALL these Bloomsbury Group books to me and read them stat.


  3. Nymeth
    May 04, 2010 @ 19:02:01

    I had no idea gender was such a prominent theme in this one! This was on my wishlist already simply because it’s a Bloomsbury Group book, but now I kind of want it right now (as per usual after reading your reviews).


  4. iliana
    May 04, 2010 @ 21:36:17

    This sounds like a delight! I seriously need to get some of these books on my shelves. I don’t think I’ve seen them at any bookstore though so I guess I’ll have to do some online ordering.


  5. Claire (The Captive Reader)
    May 04, 2010 @ 22:47:08

    This sounds delightful! It was already on my TBR list (by virtue of being a Bloomsbury Group title) but now I’m even more eager to read it.


  6. Lua
    May 05, 2010 @ 05:26:15

    I love complex relationships between deep, well-portrait characters, especially when there is good dialogue! I even like not liking one of the characters 🙂

    And would you look at that cover? Who can resist it?


  7. Grad
    May 05, 2010 @ 19:26:36

    Yet another book I hadn’t heard about, but it sounds like something I need to get my hands on.


  8. Kathleen
    May 05, 2010 @ 22:57:10

    This might sound crazy but I think this would make a terrific movie.


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