By Elizabeth von Arnim

cover image of Vera

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A handsome stranger enters Lucy Entwhistle's life on the very day of her father's death. Everard Wemyss is mourning the recent loss of his wife, and he and Lucy are drawn together in their shared experience of grief. A remarkable bond forms between the despairing couple, the thought of separation proves intolerable, and they are quickly married and settled into Everard's isolated country home, The Willows. But everything about the mansion is shadowed with the specter of Vera, its previous mistress. As Everard gradually becomes increasingly overbearing and abusive, Lucy begins to wonder about the circumstances of Vera's "accidental" death.
This darkly comic novel by the author of Enchanted April is believed to have inspired the Daphne du Maurier classic Rebecca. Elizabeth von Arnim based Vera on her own ill-starred marriage to a member of the British aristocracy. Her 1921 novel offers a witty and compelling look at a sinister possibility of a marriage in which a self-absorbed bully can exploit a naïve young woman, and romantic delusions can keep a wife in thrall to her husband's tyranny.