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Lolly Willowes (Kobo eBook)
First published in 1926, “Lolly Willowes” is Sylvia Townsend Warner’s satirical feminist comedy of manners. Set in the first part of the twentieth century, the novel concerns the aging spinster Laura Willowes who comes to live with her elder brother and his family in London following the death of her father. After many years of living in the shadow of her controlling family, Laura, while shopping for flowers, on a whim decides to break free and move to the English countryside. Her destination is the town of Great Mop in the Chiltern Hills northwest of London. Her escape from the duties her family imposes upon her is soon foiled when her nephew Titus decides to abandon the family business and moves to Great Mop to become a writer. What follows is a pact with the devil, the adoption of an emissary of Satan which comes in the form of a cat named Vinegar, and a turn towards the practice of witchcraft. In this fantastic turn of events we find a hilarious exposition of the lengths a woman must go to escape the burdens placed upon her by society at the turn of the twentieth century.