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Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Literary fiction

Lolly Willowes

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Sylvia Townsend Warner, on your first book!

by Sylvia Townsend Warner

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Quick take

A badass woman defying society and living her own truth

Why I love it

In April of 1926, a fledgling Book of the Month Club announced its first ever selection, Lolly Willowes. Written by debut author Sylvia Townsend Warner, the novel tells the story of an unmarried woman who refuses to live the life that her family and society expects her to live. A bold and beguiling story about personal freedom, uneasy friendships, and witchcraft, Lolly Willowes was selected despite the fact that its author was completely unknown at the time.

Warner went on to have a long and respected career. She published novels, short stories, and poetry collections until her death in 1978. When later asked about how it felt to have written Book of the Month’s very first selection, she said, 'œI was astonished, delighted and confident that any organization daring enough to pick an unknown author would be a valuable asset to contemporary literature.'

Over 90 years later, Lolly Willowes is considered a classic. In the spirit of bringing great books to great readers, we are proud to present to you this exclusive hardcover BOTM edition.

Read about how 'Lolly’ inspired our first Book of the Year award

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Member ratings (1,410)

  • Priscilla A.

    Edgewood, NM

    I found myself in this book from the 1920s. Other readers may not have such a personal experience, but Lolly and I have so little in common, really. Yet, I turned a page and looked into a mirror. 5 ⭐️

  • Katherine C.

    Omaha, NE

    Calling all witches! The prose was hard to follow and the build up was rather slow but my goodness, this was DELICIOUS! The devilish depiction of feminine rebellion was poetic and just plain fun. 5⭐️

  • Valerie M.

    West Chester, PA

    This novel abt a spinster embracing witchiness wasn't scary, but very evocative of the seasons & atmospheric. I liked how Laura “Lolly” Willowes stood up for herself & left a stuffy life. BOTM's 1st.

  • Miranda P.

    Brooklyn, NY

    Hard to believe how apropos this quick read is given it was written in the 1920s! Lolly’s story unfortunately still rings true for many modern women (minus living off of an allowance your whole life).

  • Alexis G.

    Lancaster, OH

    How have I never heard of this before?! With a beautifully written beginning that is reminiscent of early 20th century writing this one is classically written with wit & jauntiness you don’t often see

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