There's something quite appealing about this book. If books can have an ambience, then Foyle's Philavery has it. With its red cloth spine, red fabric bookmark, and odd garden graphic cover, the book whets one's appetite for the treasure of unusual words inside.
Most of the words within are words I've never seen and never shall again. I'm not sure whether I feel cheated or proud because of the handful of familiar words included in this collection. Though I'd met them before, it was nice renewing acquaintance with words like: lacrymose, monstrance,manumit, legerdemain, and phrenologist, a word remembered from Hound of the Baskervilles.
The book presents the words alphabetically as dictionaries are apt to do. With each word a definition and part of speech are included. Occasionally Foyle throws in a second definition, some history of the word, or even an example sentence. Oddly a pronunciation guide page is included at the beginning, but no respellings are included and precious few pronunciation clues.
Lovers of language will love this book. Most others will look at it with puzzlement. As for me, I was enthralled.