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The Little Ottleys (Little Ottleys #1-3)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  58 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
An omnibus containing 'Love's Shadow', 'Tenterhooks' and 'Love at Second Sight'.
Paperback, 543 pages
Published October 2nd 1992 by Virago Press (first published January 1st 1962)
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Petra Eggs
Nov 03, 2011 Petra Eggs rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Oscar Wilde was a very great friend of Ada Leverson, went to all her parties and promoted her as the wittiest woman in London and the best writer in England. Presumably he did this out of friendship, because its hard to see what there is in the Little Ottleys that would lead anyone to think there was any real merit in this book.

Like Wilde and, later, Noel Coward, Leverson was all about slyly-observed little comedies of the peccadillos of the upper middle classes. With a good writer this sort of
Apr 08, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Carey
London, 1908. The pretty and delightful Edith Ottley is married to pompous Bruce. She adores her son, Archie and thinks herself content with her life in the very new, very concise, very white flat in Knightsbridge but often thought that if Hyacinth Verney wasn't a friend, life would be very dull. The beautiful and wealthy Hyacinth is in love with Cecil Reeve but it appears he is love with someone else. Is Hyacinth's heart destined to remain broken? As Edith ponders on Hyacinth's dilemma she find ...more
Aug 31, 2009 Maren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ada Leverson was the woman Oscar Wilde called "the wittiest woman I know" and "the Sphinx." Her triology of novels collected as The Little Ottleys by Virago Modern Classics is both funny and brutal, a comedy of manners in which the even the public face of the people portrayed has cracks which show through their witty conversation. A splendid discovery.
May 25, 2011 Will rated it really liked it
The trilogy of stories about the Ottleys and their friends and acquaintances is a delicious confection of ironic observation and springy dialogue. The dramatic irony in particular is subtle and complex and very funny.
Occasionally the epigrams don't quite work, but for the most part it is like reading a mixture of Austen, Wilde and Wodehouse.
Carey Combe
Apr 03, 2011 Carey Combe rated it really liked it
Wonderful from start to finish
Diana Sandberg
Jun 11, 2011 Diana Sandberg rated it really liked it
This is actually three shortish novels, published in one volume and I read them one after the other, so I’ll review them together. Leverson was a close friend of Oscar Wilde, who appears, thinly veiled, in these stories. The main characters, Edith and Bruce, are also based on her own married life; the stories are in fact essentially a portrait of marriage in upper-class pre-WWI London. Leverson’s touch is light, but the depiction is rather depressing.

Most of the people in the book are so empty-
Jan 11, 2009 Suburbangardener rated it really liked it
What a wonderful, wicked wit Ada Leverson was. I actually laughed out loud while reading this book. I was slightly irritated by the use of French in the third book as I don't speak French. (I kept wishing Landi would speak his native Italian instead so I could figure out what he was saying.) But that is a minor criticism of the work as a whole. I was awed by the wonderful character of Lady Conroy, who appears to be suffering from ADD long before the syndrome was named, as well as perimenopause. ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk, 2010
The Little Ottleys collects Leverson's three novels about the Ottleys and their circle of friends. I liked the first one best. The others, especially the last, incorporated a lot of exposition about the characters, which slowed things down. Granted, the expositions were wry and witty, but it felt excessive.

Leverson won me over with her description of Lady Cannon's style in chapter four -- her dress is "so tightly-fitting as to give her an appearance of being rather upholstered than clothed."
Jun 27, 2013 Anmiryam rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I remember loving these when I read them in the 1980s. I think I still have my copy on the shelves in Bryn Mawr (I certainly did for a long time), and it's driving me batty to not be able to go check and see for sure. Because, as absurd as it is, I want to know right now if I need to find a replacement copy now that I have the urge to read this again. How ridiculous is that?
Apr 05, 2011 Maia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of witty Brit writing a la Oscar Wilde
Recommended to Maia by: my mother
Shelves: 19th-c
fantastic--and very, very funny!
Madeleine Brook
Aug 04, 2011 Madeleine Brook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really very, very funny in an old-fashioned way. Though it's not terribly hopeful about marriage...
Nov 06, 2012 Janette rated it really liked it
Still love it, 20 years on, even if Bruce does remind me of my ex.....
Apr 02, 2011 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lauren
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Ada Leverson (1862-1933), the devoted friend of Oscar Wilde (who called her the wittiest woman in the world), wrote six timeless novels, each a classic comedy of manners. Love’s Shadow, the first in the trilogy The Little Ottleys, is the perfect examples of her wit and style: no other English novelist has explored the world of marriage and married life with such feeling for its mysteries and absur ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Little Ottleys (3 books)
  • Love's Shadow
  • Tenterhooks
  • Love at Second Sight

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