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Vera

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  513 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
First published in 1921, Vera is a darkly comic story about Lucy Entwhistle and Everard Wemyss. Both have recently lost someone close to them as the first chapter opens. They meet and at once believe they have found a soul mate in each other. As their relationship progresses we come to understand more of each character's past. Most importantly we learn about Wemyss' late w ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2001 by Virago (first published 1921)
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Susan
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having read, and loved The Enchanted April by this author, I decided to read another of her books, and chose Vera....It couldn't have been more different......
This is a dark and disturbing story of how a lovely young woman is drawn into a nightmare situation which everyone, including the reader, can see is very wrong.
It's a classic example of how love is sometimes blind.
As the menace grows with every page it becomes hard not to dread the outcome

If I'd been given this book to read without knowing
...more
Sarah
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucy Entwhistle's beloved father has just died. She is still in shock when she meets Mr Wemyss in a chance encounter. He quickly moves in on Lucy and is suddenly attending to all her needs. He organises her Father's funeral, gives her the support she needs and manages to manipulate and dominate with his show of care and protection.

Wemyss is self-absorbed, childish and greatly troubled. He manages to hide his true character from Lucy and she is blinded in her growing love for her new saviour. Luc
...more
Eleanor
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific, chilling portrait of a controlling, bullying monster, the gentle innocent he marries and will probably destroy, and her only hope, all but extinguished by the end of the book - her aunt.

Such men still live amongst us, though fortunately there is more help available for their victims if they are able to escape the tyranny, than was the case back in 1920.

The psychology seems to me to be spot on, and as von Arnim was using her second husband as the model, she had experienced the
...more
Abbie | ab_reads
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Add Vera to the list of books that some naive (read: dumb) people think are love stories when in fact they are the furthest thing from it (other books on the list include Wuthering Heights and Lolita. It still blows my mind that people can think of Lolita as a love story and I haven't even read it yet). Elizabeth von Arnim's wit and, for lack of a better word, snark practically leap off the page of this novel that centres around one of the most dysfunctional relationships ever.
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When Lucy Entwhis
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Cphe
Had never heard of this novel before although I had read another book by the author which I enjoyed very much. This is the story of a very young Lucy Erstwhistle and her marriage to the manipulative and controlling Everard Wemyss who is many years her senior. Lucy had suffered a devastating loss and Everard had lost his wife Vera in very suspicious circumstances.

There were some very dark themes in this novel and I found it disturbing in places, the way Everard spoke to Lucy and viewed Lucy. This
...more
Daniela
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
As a big fan of Elizabeth von Arnim's light and uplifting novels (The Enchanted April being my favorite), I was very curious how she would handle this "exploration of sex and violence" as the description of the VMC edition summarizes Vera.
Now that I have read it, I think "sex and violence" is a bit lurid, but it left a deep impression on me nonetheless and I bow my head to von Arnim for creating this masterpiece.

In a nutshell, this is the story of Wemyss, a man in his forties who has just lost
...more
Sarah
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
As depressing as this book is, there's something so comforting in Von Arnim's clear, sweet authorial voice. She writes with such poignant simplicity, the truth just rings out. I adore her.
Liina Bachmann
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I started this with no specific expectations. Only with the premise that it inspired Daphne du Maurier to write "Rebecca" which I read earlier this year and quite enjoyed.
I can see where the inspiration came form but "Vera" is very much darker and more disturbing. When in "Rebecca" the terror came from the slightly unnatural and ghostly atmosphere, in "Vera" the sheer terror comes from the relationship between the young Lucy and her older husband Wemyss. It is text-book emotional abuse and sicke
...more
Karen
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1921 this is Elizabeth Von Arnim's darkest novel based on her own disastrous second marriage to Earl Russell.
Daphne du Maurier being inspired by this story when writing ' Rebecca' made me want to read this too.
Young Lucy Entwhistle and widower Everard Wemyss are both reeling from recent unhappiness when they first meet.
Wemyss tells Lucy early on about the death of his first wife 'Vera' who seems to have died by having a accident in their home 'The Willows'.
Naive Lucy starts se
...more
Mary
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vera of this novel has already died and was Mr Wemyss first wife.
It reminds me of Rebacca by Daphne Du Maurier.
This is a forceful study of the power of men in marriage, and the weakness of women when they love.
I loved it.
Nancy
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
This is little gem. A subtle black comedy/psychological study, it deals with the same situation as DuMaurier's Rebecca, but first and better.

Z
Von Arnim has painted an agonizingly graphic portrait of verbal abuse. She captures the steady and insidious way that the abuser (usually a man) creeps into a person's life and gradually begins to break down every fiber of her being without her realizing it. It is easy to see from outside: we want to grab the woman, shake her to awaken her from the fog she is in, and say, "Don't you see what is happening here?" But she will defend him because he has already sown the seeds of fear and control.

It
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Rachel K
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is easy to see why poor Vera defenestrated herself. However, it would have been better for all concerned if she had just killed Wemyss. Good lord.
Giulia (juliareadingdiary)
This is a very dark and turbid story which depicts, through the marriage between young Lucy Entwhistle and recently widowed Everard Wemyss, the psychological violence and oppression that a man is able inflict on women.

The writing style is quite peculiar, since it tends to be comic and caricatural, creating an even more distressing atmosphere. The first half of the novel introduces the three main characters (Lucy, Wemyss and Lucy's aunt, Miss Entwhistle), the circumstances under which they meet (
...more
Ann-Marie
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anglophilia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can listen to my podcast about this book:
https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/he...
(P)Ila
Letto subito dopo Rebecca la prima moglie, spinta dalla curiosità circa l'accusa di plagio intentata dalla Von Arnim contro la scrittrice inglese, Vera si è rivelata una buona lettura ma decisamente inferiore al capolavoro della Du Maurier.

Seppur accomunate da una trama simile, Vera non può gareggiare in termini di suspense e personaggi: anche qui la protagonista è una giovane ragazza che, dopo l'inaspettata morte dell'amato padre, cade frettolosamente nelle braccia di un uomo adulto anche lui r
...more
Bettie☯
to hunt down/ look into. Gutenberg most likely.

Description: First published in 1921, Vera is a darkly comic story about Lucy Entwhistle and Everard Wemyss. Both have recently lost someone close to them as the first chapter opens. They meet and at once believe they have found a soul mate in each other. As their relationship progresses we come to understand more of each character's past. Most importantly we learn about Wemyss' late wife, Vera. What at first appears to be a different and quirky rom
...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening lines:
When the doctor had gone, and the two women from the village he had been waiting for were upstairs shut in with her dead father, Lucy went out into the garden and stood leaning on the gate staring at the sea.
Thomas
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am beginning to think I don't really like von Arnim.
Loved THE ENCHANTED APRIL
Found LOVE interesting.
Was bored by ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN
Didn't finish THE CARAVANERS

I think I am done with her until the world runs out of good things to read.
Elena T. (Eleanor26th)
Ho scoperto la Von Armin solo da qualche anno ed è un’autrice che apprezzo moltissimo. E’ universalmente noto che il presente valse a Daphne Du Maurier un'accusa di plagio. Con il suo "Rebecca" i punti in comune indubbiamente si notano: dal titolo (che in entrambi è il nome della prima moglie del protagonista) alla trama ed il suo parziale svolgimento.  

Tuttavia, Vera, scritto nel 1921 - davvero sorprendente ed ironico, si legge rapidamente nonostante non sia al livello di altri lavori della Arm
...more
Stephanie
I loved this book. I'm fascinated by psychology and I agree with another reviewer who called the book a 'psychological study.' It is dark, yet is enjoyable to read and very cleverly and insightfully written. I love any book that gives insights into human nature and this certainly does.

Clearly Wemyss has a mental disorder which would be diagnosable today. I'm not a psychologist, but my amateur diagnosis would be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and probably Antisocial Disorder. Or maybe he is just
...more
Frank Spencer
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a shortish novel, and definitely worth the time to read if you help people who are in abusive relationships. The author, who H.G. Wells considered a strong thinker, provides good insight into the psychology of the person who is being controlling and abusive, as well as the person who is able to talk herself into continuing the relationship. You can hardly read a Dickens novel without running into suicide, and it is also present in this story as well. A father with a close relationship to ...more
Maryann
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
The book is described as dark, but it was fascinating rather than depressing. It is a novel about character, rather than plot, and does that so well. I must say I did find the ending sudden and frustrating, but maybe that echoes the themes of the book? This was the first Von Arnim I have read, but her other books have been on my to-be-read list for a while. Apparently Rebecca is based on this? May just read Rebecca next.
June Geiger
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can't imagine any book embodying classic narcissist behavior more brilliantly. A delightful cautionary tale for codependents!
Emma Robertson
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This darkly realistic portrayal of a controlling marriage still rings so true today. The way Elizabeth von Arnim writes draws you deeper and deeper into the story which gradually darkens your soul and hardens it for the worst before tantalizingly drawing you to it's conclusion.
Boris
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vera is a disguised thriller, set in the decorations of a Victorian / Edwardian novel. The conflict it explores, or rather exploits, is basically the same as in Meredith's The Egoist: a girl finds herself engaged to a perfectly selfish man. The reader follows the course of the engagement, almost certain that, like Clara Middleton, Lucy Entwhistle will sooner or later see through her fiancé and escape before it is too late. As the novel nears the end, and nothing happens, a sensation of vertigo g ...more
Ali
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the third Elizabeth Von Arnim novel I have read this year, and of the three it is the saddest and darkest. Apparently Elizabeth Von Arnim based the character of Everard Wemyss in this novel on her own second husband. That fact alone is enough to give me chills. On the day that Lucy Entwhistle's father dies she meets forty five year old Everard Wemyss apparently terribly bereaved himself, and in need of some human contact and someone to talk to. Lucy is instantly drawn to him, and places ...more
Justine
4,5 stars

"The books people read, - was there ever anything more revealing?"

First of all, I loved Elizabeth von Arnim's writing, so I know I'll read more books by her, and I may reread Vera one day - certainly when I forget my angriness while reading it!! It doesn't mean I didn't like this book; no, actually, I really, really liked it. If a book is capable of making me feel things, even if I am not overjoyed at the end of it, it is a good book, capable of reaching out to its readers - at least
...more
Núria
Lucy es una joven que se ha criado rodeada de intelectuales por más que ella no sea una y el señor Wemyss es un hombre ya maduro al que le gustan las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso. Los dos se conocen cuando acaban de perder a un ser querido, se comprenden, se consuelan en su tristeza, y finalmente se enamoran. Sólo que esto es sólo el principio. Se dice que para escribir el personaje de Wemyss, Elizabeth von Arnim se inspiró en su segundo marido y, aunque sólo se inspirara un poquitín en él ...more
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How did the ending make you feel? 1 1 Oct 13, 2018 09:02AM  
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Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia.

She had met von Arnim durin
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“He had the effect on her of a window being thrown open and fresh air and sunlight being let in” 22 likes
“A house,' said Wemyss, explaining its name to Lucy on the morning of their arrival, 'should always be named after whatever most insistently catches the eye.'

'Then oughtn't it to have been called The Cows?' asked Lucy; for the meadows round were strewn thickly as far as she could see with recumbent cows, and they caught her eye much more than the tossing bare willow branches.

'No,' said Wemyss, annoyed. 'It ought not have been called The Cows.”
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