"Neither youth nor loveliness makes people happy. It takes something utterly different to do that" are the wise thoughts of Dolly, protagonist in Julia Strachey's Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. For me that something seems to Persephone books, my love of which seems to know no bounds at the moment. Having recently read Miss Buncle's Book (read my review here ) my appetite for devouring more overlooked classics has been well and truly piqued.
I had read about Cheerful Weather for the Wedding in the Persephone catalogue (you can order this and the fabulous Persephone Bi-Annually magazine for FREE from the Persephone Books website). I liked the sound of it, the premise being that it follows a young bride on her wedding day, exploring her doubts, fears and the inevitable family nightmares that ensue when there are large gatherings.
Dolly is a frustratingly naïve young woman, flighty and irresponsible. Whilst reading Cheerful Weather for the Wedding I became more and more irate at her, although her hapless fiancé elicits little sympathy either. Infact, all the characters we meet in the book are riddled with annoying personality traits and as a family they hold little appeal!
Most of the humour within the book was too dry for my taste, although I can appreciate that it would appeal to some people. Whilst not my favourite Persephone title, I am glad I chose to try Cheerful Weather for the Wedding as it was an interesting read that pushed the boundaries of my usual reading material.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is a short read, only 119 pages in all, and is an observational work noting the complexities of family life over one momentous day. As such, it is well written, but constructed in a free-flowing style which reads almost as haphazard. Not the easiest of reads, it is however an interesting examination of relationships and life in 1930s Britain.
I bought my copy from Handpicked Books at Bird's Yard Sheffield, where there are always Persephone titles in stock alongside other classic and collectable books.