Recently Liz and I have read Wendy Jones’s books The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price… and The World is a Wedding and here are our views on them.
The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price… is set in in the small town of Narbeth, south-west Wales during 1926. Wilfred is the town’s undertaker, a rather ernest young man who having lost his mother at a young age is unschooled in the ways of the world, and lives with his Da, the grave-digger, in a harmonious yet messy household.
This is an appealing book in which Wendy Jones takes the reader from Wilfred’s spur-of-the-moment marriage proposal to Grace, who he hardly knows, her acceptance then his immediate regret. Then he finds true love for Flora, who is in mourning for the recent sudden death of her father and loss of her fiance back in World War One. There follows a string of moral dilemmas and some rather dark places. The story is interspersed with some funny episodes, for example Wilfred, in a move to improve himself, begins to work his way through a dictionary so we have many words beginning with the letter a.
There some Welsh words I had to google and, of course, the local rugby team would be singing Land of My Fathers. I left this book thinking what happens next. So if you, like me, read and enjoy this book I recommend the sequel where all the untied ends are knotted together. I won’t divulge it’s contents and spoil the story…Liz.
There is little I feel I can add to what Liz has written about The Thoughts and Happenings… so I thought that I’d write about both books in more general terms. I enjoyed this book despite some rather moving and sad events, which thankfully didn’t overshadow the lighter moments. I also finished it wanting to know what happens next.
The second book, The World is a Wedding, is split between Narbeth and London and touches on the suffragette movement which was still very active then. It was also the year of the miner’s and general strikes both of which must have affected many people at the time. All the characters are well imagined and believable, with attitudes, expectations and outlooks typical of the period and place. Wilfred has a motor hearse which I’m guessing was unusual for a small town undertaker then. He also ponders getting a radio which was the height of technology in 1926.
If I have one minor quibble it’s that I feel the two books would perhaps have been better written as one with some judicious editing. That apart I enjoyed them both and look forward to reading Wendy Jones‘s next novel…Flighty.
Happy reading, and have a good weekend!