Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

( 5 )

Overview

One B. Wooster, recently returned from a very pleasurable sojourn in Cannes, finds himself at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. Bertie is more than familiar with the country house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman’s personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed.

On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs—a role for which he has ...

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Overview

One B. Wooster, recently returned from a very pleasurable sojourn in Cannes, finds himself at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. Bertie is more than familiar with the country house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman’s personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed.

On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs—a role for which he has no discernable talent and a situation he doesn’t much like. The root cause of this role reversal is love. Bertie, you see, has met one Georgiana Meadowes on the Côte d’Azur. However, Georgiana is spoken for. Orphaned at young age, she is the ward of the impoverished Sir Henry Hackwood. In order to help Sir Henry maintain his beloved Melbury Hall, Georgiana is engaged to marry a man of sufficient means, one Rupert Venables.

Meanwhile, Peregrine ‘Woody’ Beeching, one of Bertie’s oldest chums, is desperate to regain the trust of his fiancée Amelia, Sir Henry’s tennis-mad daughter, and has approached Bertie—well, Jeeves, actually—for help. 

But why would this necessitate Bertie having to pass himself off as a servant when he has never so much as made a cup of tea? Could it be that the ever loyal, Spinoza-loving Jeeves has something up his sleeve?

With the approval of the Wodehouse estate, acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks brings P.G. Wodehouse’s most beloved characters back to life in a hilarious affair of mix-ups and mishaps, a brilliantly conceived, seamlessly executed novel worthy of the master himself.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Christopher Buckley
This Faulks certainly knows his stuff when it comes to homaging, let me tell you. Dashed if most of the time I didn't think I was reading the echt thing. I don't know about you, but myself, the real joie in these J. & B. romans is the way Wodehouse—and his avatar-chappie, Faulks—plays the old English language like a clarinet.
Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
Reviewed by Peter Cannon. In an author’s note included with the galley of this homage to P.G. Wodehouse (1881–1975), Sebastian Faulks asserts that he’s “no expert,” that he’s “just a fan,” with a modesty becoming Bertie Wooster. Despite such protests, the Wodehouse estate chose well in authorizing him to pen the first new Jeeves and Wooster novel since 1974’s Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen. In addition to concocting an intricate farce complete with fresh metaphors and literary allusions worthy of the master himself, Faulks has varied the standard Wodehouse formula in ways both subtle and daring.At the start, Bertie explains how he has wound up working downstairs at a country house in Dorset one weekend, while Jeeves masquerades as Lord Etringham among the upstairs crowd. Faulks may well have taken inspiration for this scenario from Julian MacLaren-Ross’s “Good Lord, Jeeves,” a brief parody admired by Wodehouse himself, in which Jeeves is elevated to the peerage and a destitute Bertie willingly agrees to enter his service. Where Wodehouse only hinted, Faulks refers explicitly to serious events of the period, like Britain’s 1926 general strike. In chapter one, a fellow member of London’s Drones Club says to Bertie en route to a stint on the Piccadilly Line, “Surely even you, Bertie, are aware that there’s been a General Strike?” When a character later asks Jeeves if he’s related to a noted cricket player of that name, Jeeves discreetly indicates that his distant relative perished at the Battle of the Somme. In fact, Wodehouse, a keen cricketer, derived the name for his gentleman’s gentleman from one Percy Jeeves, a cricketer who was killed in action in that epic slaughter. Who better than Faulks, the author of Birdsong, a harrowing novel set during the Great War, to drop a reminder of the horror of the trenches into Wodehouse’s innocent world? In the original novels and stories, Bertie refers only in passing to his accomplishments as a sportsman. In a key chapter in this pastiche, Bertie plays in a cricket match that may baffle Americans unfamiliar with the game but serves to show him as a lovable, well-meaning bungler. Georgiana Meadowes, a low-level employee of a London publisher who joins the house party in Dorset, appreciates this endearing side of him. Astute Wodehouse fans will sense early on that Georgiana is not the typical predatory female who sets her eye on Bertie. Indeed, their relationship takes an especially poignant turn after they both play roles in a scene from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream as part of a village entertainment. As Faulks guides the reader through such familiar business as Jeeves disapproving of one of Bertie’s sartorial eccentricities (in this instance, growing sideburns) and organizing a betting syndicate among the house guests, he takes his story to a place that Wodehouse scrupulously avoided. The heartwarming denouement, which reveals how the godlike Jeeves has manipulated the action from behind the scenes, humanizes Bertie and Jeeves as Wodehouse never did. In my humble opinion, Faulks has outdone Wodehouse. (Nov.) Peter Cannon, PW’s senior reviews editor, is the author of Scream for Jeeves: A Parody.
From the Publisher
“Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer ever.” –Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“[Wodehouse is] a brilliantly funny writer—perhaps the most consistently funny the English language has yet produced.” –The London Times

“Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.” –Evelyn Waugh, author of Brideshead Revisited

“The funniest writer ever to put words on paper.” –actor Hugh Laurie

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, the feckless young master and his erudite gentleman's gentleman, creations of the great English humorist P.G. Wodehouse, are back, courtesy of his inspired fellow countryman and novelist Faulks (A Possible Life, 2012, etc.). This is the first Jeeves and Wooster novel in some 40 years. Faulks notes modestly that he has "tried to provide an echo" of the originals. He has done more than that. He has captured Bertie's voice, his innocent zest and his spirited banter with Jeeves to a fare-thee-well. This novel begins boldly with a role reversal--Bertie as servant waiting on Jeeves--but the real beginning is on the French Riviera, where Bertie meets a stunning beauty, Georgiana Meadowes. He's smitten, she's encouraging, but there's a problem. Orphaned early, Georgiana has been raised lovingly by her uncle, Sir Henry Hackwood, currently strapped for cash. To help him save the family home, Georgiana feels obliged to marry a fella with moola: Her fiance has been designated. Back in London, there's a further complication. Bertie's best friend Woody had been engaged to Sir Henry's daughter Amelia; a misunderstanding has caused the dear girl to break it off. Good egg that he is, Bertie sees his first order of business as reconciling Woody and Amelia. More misunderstandings ensue, resulting in Jeeves being mistaken for a peer of the realm by Sir Henry and invited to his home in deepest Dorset; to gain access to the premises, Bertie must willy-nilly become Jeeves' manservant and fraternize below stairs. The comic possibilities are legion, and Faulks exploits them all, with Bertie threatening to land in the proverbial soup at every turn. Meanwhile, Jeeves, always a fount of knowledge, proves himself also a master strategist of the mating game. Bertie, still in thrall to his former teacher's dictum ("Women are queer cattle"), needs nudging. A smackeroo on the lips from Georgiana during amateur theatricals does the trick. Faulks has risen to the challenge splendidly with this "homage" to Wodehouse. Jeeves and Wooster live again!
Library Journal
★ 10/15/2013
What ho, I see there's a new Jeeves and Wooster yarn on the shelves. Best fetch my glasses to read the small print. What's this, then? "An homage to P.G. Wodehouse by Sebastian Faulks." Isn't Faulks the bloke who wrote that World War I wheeze Birdshot, or was it Birdsong? Did that James Bond pastiche Devil May Care, as well? His new tale revolves around a girl, of course, but not of the Bond variety. In this instance, she's a chocolate-eyed beauty whose voice has the sound of a frisky brook cascading over the strings of a well-tuned harp. You know the effect. Georgiana Meadowes's father is having problems maintaining the old manse and, to gain funds, has betrothed her to another. To the rescue trots Bertie Wooster posing as Mr. Wilberforce, a gentleman's personal gentleman, in service to Jeeves, disguised as Lord Etringham. Many plans, as well as boobies, have to be hatched to keep this state of topsy-turviness afloat. All of them, according to Bertie, are foolproof. Of course, Jeeves is there to assure that they are so. VERDICT Let word go forth, from Mayfair to Herald Square, from Piccadilly to Kansas City: Jeeves and Wooster are back and in fine fettle. After sampling this tasty bonbon, Wodehouse fans and new readers will want to go back to the original series. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/13.]—Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250047595
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 213,062
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

SEBASTIAN FAULKS is the author of twelve novels, including A Week in December; A Possible Life; Human Traces; On Green Dolphin Street; Charlotte Gray, which was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett; and the classic Birdsong, which has sold more than three million copies and was recently adapted for television. In 2008, he was invited to write a James Bond novel, Devil May Care, to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming. He lives in London with his wife and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2013

    Though I've never really found that authors can truly "Do&q

    Though I've never really found that authors can truly "Do" another author, I found that Faulks did a grand job in his ode to P G Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster. I'm a big fan of the books and the BBC TV shows based on these novels, so I was thrilled to see the upcoming release of this book. Getting an advanced copy to read and review was a special added treat, and it did not disappoint.




    Bertie and Jeeves are at it again, off to save the day, causing more confusion than solutions but giving this reader a jovial masterpiece of a reading ride in the process! Bertie's old chum, Woody Beeching is in a pickle. His true love, Amelia, has put off their engagement because of his flirtatious actions with another woman. Off go Bertie and Jeeves to save the day. How, you might say. Well, it's all very simple you see, Bertie will become the manservant to Jeeves at the fair lady's house. Jeeves , as Lord Etringham has become very chummy with his host because of his mastery of picking winning horse races---and money was always in the need to keep their estates in the black. Many twists and turns later, and happy solutions were found all around. 




    I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the always strange lives of Bertie, the bumbling master, and his always humble genius manservant, Jeeves! The characters remained those I so fondly remember. Perhaps more adventures are waiting to tell themselves in our future---hope prevails!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2013

    Wonderfully realized Wodehouse homage! I started this book with

    Wonderfully realized Wodehouse homage! I started this book with a little surge of trepidation wondering if I was treading on 'Plum's' grave so to speak. I needn't have worried. It's very well written in the Wodehouse style. Plenty of breezy chit chat and quotes from Jeeves. I'd say Faulks did a truly awesome job of sounding like Wodehouse. I was a little concerned about the ending and how it would all work out and I think Faulks did a great job of making it sound plausible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Loved it!! Funny!!!!

    A tribute to P. G. Wodehouse - and it is enjoyable!!!! Highly recommended!!! Another great novel on the Nook is "The Partisan" by William Jarvis. This novel is based on actual events during World War II. Both books deserve A+++++

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    A good intro to the world of jeeves and now you can

    Go back and read the orginals still in print. Best read on a hot summer day wth a glass of ice tea. A lost world indeed and one that never was but fun anyway. not a long tale and you might prefer to borrow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

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