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Love's Shadow (Little Ottleys #1)

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
The heroine of Love's Shadowis the delightful Edith Ottley. She lives with her husband Brace and her two children in a very new, very small, very white flat in Knightsbridge. As we follow Edith's fortunes we enter the enchanting world of Edwardian London, bewitched by the courtships, jealousies and love affairs of Edith's coterie - Hyacinth, Eugenia, Charles and Cecil, Vin ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 1908)
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Feb 23, 2014 Uncle rated it really liked it
Ada Leverson’s name will likely already be known to readers. She is remembered now mostly as a constant and loyal friend to Oscar Wilde (who dubbed her “the Sphinx”). Yet Leverson was a well-known writer in her own right, contributing humorous and satirical pieces to Punch and The Yellow Book. In the early 1900s she wrote several comedic novels about Edwardian society, including Love’s Shadow (published in 1908).

In Love’s Shadow, everyone seems to be somewhat fascinated by Hyacinth Verney. Hyac
Alex Sarll
May 13, 2013 Alex Sarll rated it really liked it
"Tea? At three o'clock in the afternoon! I never heard of such a thing. You seem to have strangely Bohemian ideas in this house, Miss Yeo."

I was dimly aware of Ada Leverson as Wilde's 'Sphinx', one of the supporting characters in his great drama. But until I was in what turned out not to be HMV's closing down sale after all, and saw this going for pennies, it had never occurred to me that she'd left a trace beyond that. This was written almost a decade after Wilde's death, and at first I was won
Mar 24, 2010 jennifer rated it really liked it
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 t
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
Feb 28, 2014 Bree (AnotherLookBook) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Oscar Wilde & social comedies
A comedic novel about a group of genteel London folk and their various hopes and grievances when it comes to love. 1908.

Full review (and other reading recommendations!) at Another look book

Light and engaging, with nothing against it, only a great deal of wit in its favor. Yes, I'd say the Oscar Wilde comparison is well-founded. I liked it even more than I used to adore Wilde, in fact. I enjoyed the characters more; they felt like they went a little deeper. Much as I enjoy The Importance of Being
Georgiann Hennelly
Feb 09, 2010 Georgiann Hennelly rated it it was amazing
Hyacinth is young, beautiful and popular with her London social set. So why does she fall in love with Cecil, Cecil is in love with Eugenie an older, plain widow. Eugenie wants to marry Cecils uncle, whe she admitd she doesn,t anymore than she loves Cecil. Edith is Hyacinths friend who is married to Bruce an arrogant prig of a husband. Who nobody likes and everyone wonders how Edith can stand him.This book moves quickly with short chapters and characters all bumping into each other and gossiping ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Austenfan rated it really liked it
This Edwardian author sits comfortably on the Sake, Wilde, Wodehouse continuum. Ada Leverson writes sparkling, fast paced stories with lots of clever dialogue. She has a funny and surprising way of turning cliches on their ears. You can also listen to all the 'Little Ottleys' trilogy on Libivox for free, excellently read by Helen Taylor.
Aug 02, 2016 Emmett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fluff so light it felt as if I was reading the papery equivalent of whipped cream. The introduction touts Leverson as a wit but that didn't completely come through, even though there were a few lines that made one grin. Love's Shadow was a pale, less amusing and memorable sister of one of Wilde's comedies if they had been novels.
Viktoria Faust
Mar 31, 2017 Viktoria Faust rated it it was amazing
So funny! And great surprise for me.
Nicola Mansfield
Mar 16, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: I'm reading all the Bloomsbury Group books.

Summary: This is Edith Ottley's story, though I wouldn't call her the main character. Though it is through Edith that all the characters can be traced back (as in the six degrees of Kevin Bacon). Edith and Bruce Ottley are a young married couple with a two year old son. Bruce is hard to describe without making him sound like a chauvinistic brute. He is also a hypochondriac and would rather not work and be served upon day and night. T
Jan 22, 2013 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: anglophilia
This book from 1908 is billed as a "comedy of manners". It was written by Ada Leverson, who was a great friend of Oscar Wilde, and it shows the same type of wit. I have to say I found it all a bit too clever and brittle at the end.

The book is about two families and their interconnection through the meanderings of romantic love. Edith is married to Bruce Ottley, a tiresome bore who manages to blame his wife for every mistake he makes and whose life seems dominated by his envy of all those around
Aug 20, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: admirable, modern-lit
I am really enjoying Golden Age fiction, I have to say! It's probably my favourite time in history: so much hope, so much change, no wars yet to ruin it.

This was the story of a girl called Hyacinth, the boy she loves, the woman he loves, and her friends the Ottleys, who are a bit ... special. In other words, Edith puts up with her husband, Bruce, being what in modern parlance we'd call emotionally abusive. She lets him get away with murder. For some reason I see a lot of this in the hospital - s
Mar 31, 2010 Cori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I’ve received from the LT Early Reviewer’s program, and what a delight it was! Let’s start with the cover, which was a big pink bucket of awesome. It’s one in a series of covers that I want to eat like candy. I just love the little scene that the designer created, and it really sets the tone for this tasty little book. Leverson (who was close friends with Oscar Wilde — and it shows) lays out little scenes between the principal characters in the book. The dialogue is superb ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
It's London in 1908 and Edith Ottley is married to the one of the most self-centered, annoying and oblivious men in town. We never learn why she married him, but she has certainly learned to handle his tantrums, imaginary illnesses, financial foibles and constant string of half-truths with amazing grace and dignity. Usually she gets her own way in the end, and besides she dotes on her young son Archie. Edith's close friend, Hyacinth, is one of London's true beauties, and she is extremely wealthy ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Victoria rated it liked it
Overall, I found Love's Shadow to be quite entertaining. I wouldn't recommend it to those who like fast-paced novels filled with drama and action as it will probably be bore them.

Although, this book isn't what I typically read, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was. There is drama and conflict in the book, but it's more understated and less "in-your-face," which makes sense since it was written in 1908. The description on the back of the book is a little misleading since I expect
Mar 21, 2010 Dox rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson is a novel about the personalities of a group of social individuals in England sometime after the turn of the century. First published in 1908, it excludes the style and flavor of literary style at that time, with both pointed and subdued humor and cynicism about the personalities of the time.

It focuses mainly on Edith Ottley and her too-droll, and hypochondriac husband Bruce (whom the reader will come to wonder why anyone puts up with him, least of all, overly-tol
Jul 28, 2014 Kelly rated it it was ok
What an odd little book; no real plot to speak of--there's a half-hearted narrative about the romantic life of Hyacinth Verney, a glamorous young woman in Edwardian London, but it's thickly interspersed with short vignettes from the lives of the people around her. But her friends, relations, and acquaintances all seem to be insulated from her, and from one another.

That said, the vignettes are sharply drawn --Leverson combines the keen social observations of Jane Austen, a Wodehouse-esque famili
Apr 13, 2010 Gricel rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
A close friend of Oscar Wilde's, Leverson's style and tone is similar to Wilde's biting, quick wit. Love's Shadow offers an engaging look at the ludicrous things we do for love. Like Wilde, Leverson offers a meddlesome cast of characters whose actions only serve to confuse one another. At the heart of the story are the Ottleys, Bruce and Edith, a very ordinary middle-class Edwardian couple wishing for a little more excitement in their very ordinary lives. Edith's friend, Hyacinth Verney has all ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Nell rated it did not like it
Read this on the strength of the Bas Bleu review--"Full of hilarious interactions and clever social commentary...a rescued classic!"--and Oscar Wilde's assesment of the autor as "the wittiest woman in the world." But I found the plot predictable and the characters tiresome or put-upon or both. It's true that I'm viewing it through a 21st-century lens and might find the same story set in an earlier time more palatable. After all, for most of history women's life work has been limited to searching ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Ellie rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a free advance copy of the book through Goodreads. (Thanks, Bloomsbury Press!) As is frequently the case, I was torn when it came to rating the book. I'd have given it 3 1/2 stars if that were an option. After a slow start, the book is entertaining and witty, and an interesting look into the lives of Edwardian London. The characters are privileged-class people, who have butlers, maids, nurses to look after babies. Therefore their lives are consumed with social status, whom to dine wit ...more
Octavia Spelman
May 09, 2010 Octavia Spelman rated it really liked it
Shelves: ir-project-list
I think the theme of this book is that love does not always last forever. Edith and Bruce who are an average couple just don't love each other the same anymore and struggle to realize what they want and if they have it. In the beginning of this book Bruce asks Edith how to spell raggett and Edith is not sure so she hesitates to answer. Before she gets the chance to say something, Bruce says, "With all the fuss about modern culture and higher education nowadays, girls are not even taught to spell ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
This short novel is set in Edwardian times, and centers around Edith. She is married to a rather insufferable husband, Bruce. Edith makes the most of their modest lifestyle, but delights in the exploits of her friend Hyacinth. While Hyacinth has her heart set on Cecil, much to her companion Anne Yeo's despair. In turn, Cecil is besotted with Eugenia, an older woman who finds Cecil amusing but certainly not a love match. When Eugenia meets Cecil's relative, sparks fly, and complications ensue. Wh ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Abigail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, cull
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 ...more
Mar 17, 2010 Joni rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won Love's Shadow: A Novel in a contest from Goodreads. The book says that it is the story of Edith and Bruce Ottley, but I found that it actually tells the story of several characters. One of these characters is named Hyacinth, and she actually seems to be the central character in this story. The note about the author states that this book was originally published in 1908, which explains some of the humor found within the story. It was an amusing story in which the characters' actions and wor ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Tiffany rated it really liked it
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 tw ...more
Mar 09, 2010 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-first-reads
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. It was a very easy and enjoyable read. I was, however, disappointed in the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and left me wanting more. As this is the first in the Little Ottley's series, I'm sure this was done on purpose, so the reader would want to go on to the next novel (which, of course, I do). I found this comedy of manners and romance, very much in the vein of Jane Austen (so I would recommended it to any avid Austen fan), but lacking some of Austen's in ...more
May 18, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-work
This was really funny. A cross between Oscar Wilde and the person at a party who gives you a running commentary with a bitchy turn of phrase on everyone else there. Every man in it seemed an idiot or arrogant or both and the characterizations were wonderful. The Ottley's, the young married couple who were the hero, I use that term very loosely, and the long suffering heroine steer their middle class course through relationship and partys and misunderstanding and love affairs. Easy to read, total ...more
Wesley Paine
Feb 15, 2010 Wesley Paine rated it liked it
The author's friendship with Oscar Wilde is obvious. She even quotes, or almost quotes him at one point, having a character say, "who was it who said....?" but getting it slightly wrong. Surprisingly, though, Leverson is a little harder on her characters than Wilde is. Or maybe it's that they're more real but equally ridiculous. At any rate, I came away with a slightly sour taste in my mouth. I enjoyed it but it doesn't make me want to rush out and find more of her work. She writes with acid mix ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Tamera rated it it was ok
There are features that I both enjoyed and disliked about Ada Leverson's "Love's Shadow" but I must admit that I found the overall book dull and without an interesting plot.

The only character that I actually liked was Anne Yeo, who was merely a side dish to the entree of Victorian married life and its curiosities. What I do appreciate is Leverson's humor and wit, it definitely is unique for its time period and there are many marital references that ring true today.

(I received a free copy of thi
Feb 21, 2010 Jo rated it it was ok
This one takes the abrupt-ending cake. There was absolutely no resolution. There are two more books, apparently. I don't plan on reading them, however, because I want to murder Bruce. The man needs to grow up, realize he doesn't know everything, and treat his wife like a human. Jerk. I don't think I can deal with him for two more books. I think it's pretty obvious that this is not a keeper for me. Luckily, it was a quick read, so I won't go so far as to say it was a waste of time.

I received a fr
Feb 10, 2010 Autumn rated it really liked it
I won this book and I am really glad I did. I liked it alot I thought it was very good. It was charming, funny, and witty. I love British Humour so this is why I loved this book. It seemed a bit scattered at time but it was an easy read which supprised me being that it was from 1908. I am so glad that they brought it back out I had never heard of this author so it exposed me to someone new and I have to say im a fan now so I am definatly going to read more of her stuff! I recomend this book high ...more
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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
More about Ada Leverson...

Other Books in the Series

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

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