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Virago Modern Classic Book Club: Lolly Willowes

Our Book of the Month for October is Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner


‘The novel sharply undercuts its genteel appearance to reveal a dark and visceral heart… An elegantly enchanting tale that transcends its era’ – Observer

Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. That secret – and her vocation – is witchcraft, and with her cat and a pact with the Devil, Lolly Willowes is finally free.

An instant success on its publication in 1926, Lolly Willowes is Sylvia Townsend Warner’s first and most magical novel. Deliciously wry and inviting, it was her piquant plea that single women find liberty and civility, a theme that would later be explored by Virginia Woolf in ‘A Room of One’s Own’.

You can buy a copy of Lolly Willowes in any good bookstore or online at WaterstonesThe Hive and AmazonPlus, you can enter our prize draw to win one of three copies of our beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition. Click here to enter.


‘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’ – John Updike

Join the #VMCBookClub conversation on Virago’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram, we love to hear what you think. Plus, click here to take a peek at what we’ve read so far this year.