Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Lolly Willowes cover

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner is one of a bunch of Virago books which have been languishing unread on a shelf for years, so when I saw that quite a few bloggers seemed to have read it recently I thought I should get around to it too.

I have to say that I didn’t love this book as much as I had expected to. It’s a book of two halves really. When her father dies Lolly Willowes has to move in with her brother and his wife and their family. She has been left money of her own but nobody expects her to strike out on her own and have an independent life. She’s one of those maiden aunts, handy for when the children need to be looked after, but otherwise unwanted.

After years of living her life to suit other people she eventually decides to move out to Great Mop, a rural village, where she’s able to learn more about nature and the plants and potions that have always attracted her. The book changes completely, just as Lolly did, and it seemed apt that I got to this point in the book on Halloween, as the village turns out to be full of witches.

You might be interested in reading this Guardian article about Sylvia Townsend Warner: the neglected writer.

4 thoughts on “Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

  1. I have seen this around too and thought it sounded good. Great Mop! Wouldn’t you love to live in a town named that! On second thought you might need one with that roof of yours!

  2. You know you are the first person I have come upon who has read this book and doesn’t gush about loving it. It is a nice tempering perspective so when I do get around to reading it I will be able to moderate my expectations a bit!

    • Stefanie,
      That’s the problem, some books are so fashionable that nobody wants to stick their head up and say – actually it’s just okay, but I’m quite happy to do so. On the other hand – maybe it is great but just doesn’t hit the spot for me. I’ll be interested in what you think of it when you get around to it!

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