FIRST CHAPTER, FIRST PARAGRAPH: Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea! I’m also cheating a little bit this month by posting more than the single line that functions as the first paragraph.

Lately I’ve been really interested in what is published by New York Review Books, and I came across Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes in a bookstore. It’s about a single woman living at the beginning of the 20th century who decides, in middle age, to live alone, out of her brother’s house and away from polite society. John Updike’s blurb on the back reads “This is the witty, eerie, tender but firm life history of a middle-class Englishwoman who politely declines to make the expected connection with the opposite sex and becomes a witch instead.” Perfect for Halloween! 🎃

When her father died, Laura Willowes went to live in London with her elder brother and his family.

“Of course, ” said Caroline, “you will come to us.”

“But it will upset all your plans. It will give you so much trouble. Are you sure you really want me?”

“Oh dear, yes.”

Caroline spoke affectionately, but her thoughts were elsewhere.

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