Founded in 1996, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (aka LCRW) is
a renowned, although not widely known, small press magazine featuring
a mix of short fiction, poems, columns etc. Various stories from LCRW
have been included in Year’s Best and Best of the Rest anthologies,
which provides evidence of the quality of its content.
Editors Kelly Link and Gavin J Grant have now assembled what they think
is really the best stuff appeared in the magazine throughout the years
and I guess we must trust their judgement. So, here’s the material
in book form, producing an anthology, which hopefully should draw the
attention of more readers to LCWR itself.
If you’re a flexible reader (which I’m not) and an eclectic
reviewer (which I’m unsuccessfully trying to be) the volume represents
a feast, providing a variety of material apt to keep you pleasantly busy
during many nights or weekends.
Having little inclination to read poetry and little interest in non-fictional
stuff, I focused my attention to the stories. Again, there is a great
variety in the fiction’s tone and style, the genre most commonly
included being the so-called "slipstream".
As far as fiction is concerned here’s my personal "best of
the best" of LCWR.
To me Deborah Roggie’s "The Mushroom Duchess" stands
out as the most accomplished story in the whole book, a delightful, extraordinary
fantasy tale describing the activities of an old Duchess notorious for
her dangerous teas.
Unsurprisingly I enjoyed in the extreme the superb "What’s
sure to come" by Jeffrey Ford, an outstanding yarn telling a boy’s
family memories and wonderfully depicting the marvels and miseries of
Other very good stories are "Heartland" by Karen Joy Fowler,
a delicate, sad piece about a love delusion, "Pretending" by
Ray Vuckcevich, an atypical, modern ghost story with an undercurrent
of melancholy and despair and Sarah Monette’s exquisite "Three
Letters from the Queen of Elfland", a fantasy tale revolving around
love and duty and the pain that both bring about in a woman’s heart.
Two quite enjoyable stories are "Bay" by David Eric Nelson,
a cute, ghostly peace featuring a whining dog and a naked little boy,
and John Kessel’s "The red phone" a funny quickie told
in a bittersweet tone.
Is that all? Well, it should be enough to buy the book, but if you’re
one of those readers who want to make good use of their money, don’t
be discouraged, and rest assured that you’ll find in this book
much, much more than this review can tell.