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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone…

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone Classics) (original 1932; edition 2009)

by Julia Strachey

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3451631,733 (3.33)91
Title:Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Persephone Classics)
Authors:Julia Strachey
Info:Persephone Books Ltd (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:persephone books, fiction, england, wedding, relationships

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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey (1932)


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This book, originally published in 1932, gives a glimpse into the life of an upper-class family on the eldest daughter's wedding day. As often happens at large gatherings such as weddings, estranged and distant family members get together and chaos ensues. At the heart of the story is that the bride and her ex-boyfriend may still have feelings for each other. It is the characters, as well as the author's descriptions and insights, that makes this book so enjoyable. ( )
  BooksForYears | Jun 22, 2016 |
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey; (2*)

I found this to be a bit disappointing. Yes, it was cleverly written. Yes, there are lovely bits of humor. Yes, I wanted to like it. I wanted to like it very much indeed, for this is my first disappointment in the many Persephone that I have read. I just wanted to reach into the book, pull the characters out one by one and stretch them before returning them to the story.
The story is about the family & friends of a young lady who is to marry that afternoon and is having second thoughts about it. She is thinking that perhaps she is making the mistake of her life. Characters meander in and out of the rooms of the house as they meander throughout the story. One old sweetheart attempts all the day through to find the courage to talk to the bride and tell her that he cares for her and to attempt her to bust up the marriage before it begins but he just cannot manage at all and when he does catch her alone just before the wedding, it is only to find her in a dither with spilled ink on the front of her wedding gown. You see, she has been in such a state that she has been tippling from the rum bottle the day long.
No, I can't say that I liked much about this one. The characters were flat and the story dull. But I hope when I come back to it one day my brain or the book will somehow have magically changed and I will find a substance in the book to accommodate me. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Dec 18, 2014 |
"A sardonic and beautifully written novella which was first published in 1932 by the Woolfs at the Hogarth Press: 'I think it astonishingly good . . . complete and sharp and individual' was Virginia Woolf's verdict about this eccentric mixture of Katherine Mansfield, Cold Comfort Farm and EM Forster. On a brisk English March day Dolly is getting ready to marry the Hon Owen Bigham. Waylaid by the sulking admirer who lost his chance with her, and astonishingly oblivious mother, and her own sinking dread, the bride-to-be struggles to reach the altar with the help of a bottle of rum."
~~back cover

I'm surprised I didn't like this book more than I did, as I like Katherine Mansfield, Cold Comfort Farm and EM Forster. But I found it rather silly -- Joseph (the sulking admirer) seems wet and unfocused; the action shifted often enough that I rather lost track of Mum's "astonishing oblivion", and I kept expecting Dolly to decamp from the wedding, Mum and the sulking admirer to take control of her own life. But given that the book was written in the 1930s, I'm probably judging it from my own chronological perspective.

Perhaps I was just distracted when I read it, and didn't give it enough attention. I shall have to go back and read it again. ( )
  Aspenhugger | Jan 6, 2014 |
I do love the Persephone Books series and who could resist this pretty Persephone Classic with the lady reading on the front? Contained with its pages is a charmingly witty little novella that you can read on a lazy afternoon.

The novella takes place over the course of just one afternoon that happens to be the day of Dolly’s wedding. She is having some last minute doubts in her bedroom as chaos reigns below. As she sits looking outside having a quiet drink, the family and friends are having quite a complex interplay of emotions downstairs. There’s Joseph, who loves Dolly – but does she really know? He hasn’t yet told her. Dolly’s mother, Mrs Thatcham, is overseeing the arrangement and rearrangement of the house to the weary servants. (Mrs Thatcham, hopefully unknowingly, has put all the guests in the same bedroom – oh if only the novel continued what confusion there would be!) Kitty, the loud sister, has opinions on everything, but is light-hearted and fun. The two younger boys, Robert and Tom, run in and out of the narrative wildly, arguing about whether is it suitable to wear green socks at a wedding.

It is the interaction between the characters that make this book fun. We move from Dolly and Joseph’s reflective musings to the humourous chaos that always happens before a big event. But behind the comedy, there are some sombre thoughts. Where is Mr Thatcham? What does Owen (Dolly’s new husband) make of this loud, busy family? Has Dolly made the right decision? Should Joseph reveal himself? Is Kitty being so loud to cover up that she’s the bridesmaid, not the bride? Why is Mrs Thatcham so contradictory – is she simply ruffled in the middle of the kerfuffle, or is there something more going on?

While you’re pondering all this, nothing really happens. The only real event is Mrs Thatcham insisting it’s such ‘cheerful weather’ when all the descriptions suggests it’s blowing an absolute gale. It’s really the theme of the story – everyone is pretending to be jovial and rambunctious, but there’s a lot of regret hidden underneath.

The prose is gorgeous in describing the characters to the point where I wanted to tell everyone downstairs to just be quiet! I really felt I was in the middle of the harem scarum. There are probably a lot of hidden meanings and themes in the way the characters acted, but I read for pleasure these days and I felt the novel worked just fine.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Dec 30, 2012 |
The first thing anyone who decides to pick up this short novella should know is that the only thing that is remotely "cheerful" about it is indeed the weather on the day during which all the action takes place. Thankfully, I had read a few reviews and knew this before I'd even purchased the audiobook version of this Persephone book originally published in 1932, so did not suffer disappointment in that sense and on the contrary, enjoyed discovering how Strachey had described the situation at hand. On this day of lovely weather, guests and family have converged at Mrs Thatcham's house to attend her daughter Dolly's wedding. There reigns a great confusion there as Mrs Thatcham tries to get everything in order before the ceremony while giving contradictory instructions to the servants. None of the people assembled seem to especially look forward to the wedding and hold various meaningless conversations, while Dolly herself takes an inordinate amount of time getting ready in her room, where we learn she has been slowly getting drunk, drinking straight out of a bottle of spirits. An interesting little story which I could easily see being performed as a play. ( )
2 vote Smiler69 | Oct 26, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julia Stracheyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Margolyes, MiriamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salas Rodríguez, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On March 5th Mrs Thatcham, a middle-class widow, married her eldest daughter, Dolly, who was twenty-three years old, to the Hon. Owen Bigham.
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"(...) Do, dearest Dolly, I implore you, enjoy yourself as hard as ever you can, while you are still so young and lovely...." "She is on the wrong tack in this last sentence. I must write and tell her," thought Dolly. "Neither youth nor loveliness makes people happy. It takes something utterly different to do that."
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"Today is Dolly Thatchum's wedding day, and her family is arriving with all the cheerfulness, chaos and grievances that accompany such gatherings. Trouble appears in the shape of Joseph, Dolly's former lover from the previous summer, who throws her feelings into turmoil. But Dolly's mother will not allow her carefully laid plans for her daughter's future to be threatened. As the clock ticks and the guests grow more and more restless, the bride-to-be must decide whether to run away with Joseph or settle into the humdrum security of married life."--Container.… (more)

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