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Lettice Delmer

by Susan Miles

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Prato Cathedral, 15th century fresco

WITH A PUBLISHER'S NOTE AND PLOT SUMMARY
208pp
ISBN 9781903155219

Susan Miles's real name was Ursula Roberts, she was married to the Rector of St George's, Bloomsbury and was a published novelist and poet; in 1920 Harold Monro singled her out in Contemporary Poets as one of the fifty most important poets then writing.

Lettice Delmer, her only novel in verse, first published in 1958, is about the tragic drama of Lettice's short life from, roughly, 1912 when she is 18 to the late 1920s. It starts when she is the pampered daughter of the house living in Highgate; at the end, after many harrowing vicissitudes, Lettice finds spiritual redemption.

This is an unforgettable book which manages, in the tradition of other verse novels such as Eugene Onegin, Aurora Leigh or, more recently, Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate, to be grippingly readable. We cannot recommend it highly enough and believe it will be admired and enjoyed by people who would never normally dream of reading a novel in verse. A long extract was reprinted in the Guardian

To read more about Lettice Delmer go to the Persephone Forum.

Endpaper

The fabric is 'Plantation', a 1958 design by Lucienne Day. It is modernist, yet the squares of umber and grey have a timeless quality and are in keeping with the novel's 1920s setting. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/ Design © Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation

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