Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim is a 1921 novel based on her disastrous second marriage, to Frank Russell. It is a frightening analysis of the naivety of a young woman as she falls into the power of a pathologically narcissistic husband. In outline, the novel anticipates Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Lucy Entwhistle and Everard Wemyss are both reeling from recent unhappiness when they meet and swiftly fall in love. Lucy is Wemyss’s ‘sweet girl’, and to Lucy, Everard is the whole world. The only blot on Lucy’s happiness is the shadowy figure of Wemyss’s first wife, Vera, who died in mysterious circumstances. But it is not until the happy couple return home and begin their life of wedded bliss that Lucy really begins to wonder: what did happen to Vera?
‘She has a wild sense of comedy and a vision continually thwarted though it was of potential happiness’ Penelope Mortimer
‘[Her books are] a revelation in their wit and . . . dry, unsentimental treatment of the relationship between men and women’ Barbara Pym
‘A sinister thriller’ Independent