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BOOK REVIEW: Lady of The House by Grace R. Reynolds

Updated: Dec 21, 2021


Lady of the House book cover

The stunning debut collection of dark poetry invites us into the world of Lady, a 1950’s housewife stifled by the expectations of society and her husband to be content in the role of homemaker.


In the first part of the collection, titled Resent, we see her dark fantasies & intentions intrude on the everyday monotony of Lady’s life. We also feel her resentment at being forced out of the workforce at the end of WW2 & back into her domestic prison. Grace also includes recipes from the era, some of which have some unique and chilling ingredients.


The second part Descent shows the fantasies beginning to solidify into intent, with Lady starting to verbalize what had previously been silent thoughts, as she builds up to a violent act.


Part 3 Content looks at the aftermath of her actions, from the initial shock to acceptance and reveling in her newfound freedom.


Grace has crafted a special piece of work here - a story told through poems. The collection is dark, beautiful and heartfelt with a streak of black humor and bloody violence both imagined and real. Through it all, we feel the rising tide of Lady’s frustrations and desires which have been suppressed for too long.


Admittedly, I haven’t read a lot of poetry in the past, but having said that, this collection was a breath of fresh air. Each poem works on its own but is also a vital part of the overall narrative. There are recurring images such as the crimson color of blood and wine, eyes being gouged and poisoned meals. The prose has a sinuous quality, both beautiful and lurid as emotion, desperation and violence entwine while also building towards Lady’s eventual emancipation.


This is a collection I will revisit many times, a unique work that both beguiles and shocks and comes highly recommended.


5 skin flayed eyelids out of 5.


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