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Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

by Julia Strachey
Persephone book no:

37 38 39


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A Well Full of Leaves
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PREFACE BY FRANCES PARTRIDGE
128pp
ISBN 9781903155271

'A very cute, clever, indeed rather remarkable acidulated story... I think it is astonishingly good - complete and sharp and individual.' (Virginia Woolf)

This slim, sardonic and beautifully written novella by a niece of Lytton Strachey's was first published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in 1932. In it, Dolly is getting ready to marry the Hon. Owen Bigham. Waylaid by the sulking admirer who lost his chance with her, an 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. The overall effect of the book is very funny in a Forsterian manner, with Dolly Thatcham being out of the same stable as Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with a View and both the mothers, Mrs Thatcham and Mrs Honeychurch, sharing many appalling similarities. According to the New York Times on its initial appearance, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding 'shows evidence of quite unusual humour, observation and insight'. In 2012 it was made into a film starring Felicity Jones. 

Also available as a Persephone Classic and a Persephone Audiobook read by Miriam Margolyes.

Endpaper

The endpapers are a 1932 design for a printed dress fabric by Madeleine Lawrence.

Picture Caption

Julia Strachey by Ray Strachey, painted c.1925-35 at the time she was writing Cheerful Weather for the Wedding © NPG


Read What Readers Say

‘The Tablet’

A domestic comedy with a distinctly Bloomsbury flavour - not least in its lofty sense of the ridiculous and occasionally acidulated black humour.

flick_reads via Instagram

This novella is such a delicious read… Fine language and well-drawn characters… In just 120 pages, Julia Strachey gives you a household of memorable characters… She also gives you lovely descriptions…. An hour or so of escapism left me wanting more from Julia Strachey.

Radhika’sReadingRetreat

‘Cheerful Weather for the Wedding’ is a funny and beautifully written novella focusing on a dysfunctional, miscellaneous group of people thrown together, and sizzles with acerbic observations and dramatic revelations. It was originally published by Hogarth Press, founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. The book is set during the course of a single day at the centre of which is the wedding of our protagonist, 23-year-old Dolly Thatcham. The wedding is set to take place in a church close to the Thatcham estate in the country. One of the striking features of this novella is that there is so much scope for the reader to read between the lines. Most of the characters don’t really reveal what’s exactly on their minds, preferring instead to drop subtle hints. Even in their conversations, the haziness of their feelings persists. All of which leaves a lot of room for us to figure it out ourselves. Julia Strachey’s writing in ‘Cheerful Weather’ is marvellous, brimming with evocative descriptions – whether it’s the heavily furnished rooms in the house, or the tumult of the characters’ emotions. There are generous doses of sly humour in the book. ‘Cheerful Weather’ feels sophisticated and assured as Strachey displays a flair for making nuanced observations on her varied set of characters. A distinct highlight is the novella’s razor sharp focus on the consequences of suppressed emotions and things left unsaid. It’s another gem from Persephone Books, well worth reading and re-reading.

‘The Bookseller’

As delightful and perceptive today as it no doubt was seventy years ago: on her wedding day a girl knows she is about to make a serious mistake.

Shena Mackay, ‘The Guardian’

A brilliant, bittersweet upstairs-downstairs comedy which has lost none of its surreal charm.

Categories: Bloomsbury Social Comedy Young Love

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