Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson


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Welcome to the charming world of Riseholme, where gossip reigns supreme, and social status is everything. In “Queen Lucia” by E. F. Benson, readers are transported to the idyllic English village of Riseholme, where the indomitable Lucia Lucas rules with grace, wit, and a touch of eccentricity. This delightful novel, available as a free ebook, offers a glimpse into the lives of its quirky inhabitants and the whimsical dramas that unfold in their midst.


“Queen Lucia” follows the adventures of Mrs. Emmeline Lucas, affectionately known as Lucia, as she presides over the small but exclusive society of Riseholme with impeccable style and panache. Lucia is a woman of discerning taste and unshakeable confidence, whose every move is carefully calculated to maintain her position as the undisputed queen of Riseholme.

The novel opens with the arrival of Olga Bracely, a glamorous opera singer whose presence threatens to upend the delicate social balance of Riseholme. Determined to maintain her status as the most fashionable woman in the village, Lucia sets out to befriend Olga and assert her dominance over her new rival.

As Lucia navigates the treacherous waters of Riseholme society, she must contend with a host of colorful characters, including her devoted husband, Peppino, the eccentric Georgie Pillson, and the gossip-mongering Daisy Quantock. Along the way, she faces numerous challenges and obstacles, from petty squabbles to outright sabotage, but she remains undaunted in her quest to maintain her position as the reigning queen of Riseholme.

As the novel unfolds, readers are treated to a delightful romp through the idiosyncrasies of English village life, from amateur theatricals and garden parties to spirited debates over the latest fashions and trends. Through it all, Lucia reigns supreme, charming and manipulating her way through the social scene with wit, cunning, and a healthy dose of self-delusion.


  1. Social Climbing and Status: “Queen Lucia” explores the themes of social climbing and status, as Lucia and her fellow villagers jockey for position within Riseholme society. From hosting lavish dinner parties to cultivating friendships with the right people, Lucia will stop at nothing to maintain her status as the most fashionable woman in the village.
  2. Gossip and Intrigue: Gossip plays a central role in the novel, as the residents of Riseholme eagerly spread rumors and speculation about their neighbors’ comings and goings. From whispered conversations in the tearoom to clandestine meetings in the garden, gossip fuels the drama and intrigue that pervade life in Riseholme.
  3. Eccentricity and Quirkiness: The characters of “Queen Lucia” are delightfully eccentric and quirky, each with their own unique personality traits and idiosyncrasies. From Lucia’s obsession with all things Italian to Georgie’s penchant for amateur theatricals, the residents of Riseholme are a colorful and memorable cast of characters.
  4. Friendship and Rivalry: Throughout the novel, Lucia must navigate the complex dynamics of friendship and rivalry, as she forms alliances with some villagers while feuding with others. From her close bond with Georgie to her tense relationship with Olga, Lucia’s friendships and rivalries shape the course of the story and highlight the complexities of human relationships.
  5. Self-Image and Self-Deception: At its core, “Queen Lucia” is a novel about self-image and self-deception, as Lucia grapples with her own insecurities and delusions of grandeur. Despite her outward confidence and poise, Lucia is plagued by doubts and fears, and her efforts to maintain her façade often lead to comic misunderstandings and misadventures.


“Queen Lucia” by E. F. Benson is a delightful and charming novel that offers a humorous and insightful glimpse into the foibles and follies of English village life. With its colorful cast of characters, witty dialogue, and clever social commentary, the novel is sure to entertain and delight readers of all ages. So, pour yourself a cup of tea, settle into your favorite armchair, and prepare to be whisked away to the enchanting world of Riseholme, where gossip reigns supreme, and eccentricity knows no bounds.

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