Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks
|Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's not a parody and it's not pastiche. It stacks up well against the originals and makes a good humorous read. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: November 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Bertie Wooster had a glorious time in Cannes, not least because of the presence of Georgiana Meadowes. He wondered if she should be allowed out at all, such a hazard did she pose to male shipping - and that was before he'd experienced her driving. But, being a gentleman, Wooster's hands were tied: Georgiana is soon to become engaged to another. The two would meet again before too long as Wooster, along with his gentleman's gentleman, were invited to stay at the home of Georgiana's uncle - but, for reasons which you'll need to read for yourself, Jeeves was there as a member of the aristocracy and Wooster was his gentleman's gentleman. Confused? Oh, excellent!
Part of me wants to tell you to forget that you've read of Bertie and Jeeves before and enjoy the book for what it is - a good, well-written story - but that would be disingenuous. Had it not been for the availability of the characters (as authorised by the P G Wodehouse estate) I doubt that Sebastian Faulks would have written such a story, so - of necessity - we must visit the question of how the book stacks up against the originals.
I've always maintained that you didn't read P G Wodehouse for the plot. They were predictable but in the way that an excellent champagne is predictable. You knew that you would be on the edge of slapstick comedy with characters who were - for the most part - two-dimensional with most falling into stereotypes. Younger women were flibbertigibbets and their elders were dragons and this is the first real point of departure. Georgiana is beautiful, but she's also intelligent and caring. There's real depth in the character and you feel that she lives even when she's not on the page. Wooster too is less of the upper-class twit and prone to liveliness rather than buffoonery. I might even have liked him had we met and that's not something I've ever considered before.
There's more to the plot than in any of the originals - it's more subtle - and far from being predictable there's a twist at the end which I certainly wasn't expecting. Parts are far-fetched and you'll need to suspend disbelief on occasions - but, go on, do it - and you'll be rewarded with a story which is completely devoid of violence or sex and which is, in places, very funny. Faulks doesn't have a history of being a humorous writer but he certainly made me smile.
When I picked the book up I was worried on two counts. Would it be a miserable failure - a parody or a pastiche - and spoil my memory of the originals? And in doing so would it hurt the reputation of a modern writer whom I respect? Happily neither was a problem. It's a good read.
My favourite of the originals is Thank You, Jeeves. My favourite Sebastian Faulks book is A Week in December. If the idea of taking on characters from another author you might like to look at James Henry who rejuvenated DI Jack Frost after the death of R D Wingfield.
You can read more book reviews or buy Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks at Amazon.com.
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