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Sunday, March 30, 2014


A remarkable and very accurate replication of PG Wodehouse style. (Review by Keith Millar)

There is no doubt that Sebastian Faulks is a very accomplished and gifted novelist.

He has written a number of best-sellers and has been the recipient of many awards. Including been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to literature. He has been called one of the most impressive novelists of his generation.

However I find that some of his works, as brilliant as they may be, are profound, intense and sometimes rather dark and disturbing.

So it was with absolute pleasure and delight that I read his latest offering, which is a homage to the late great PG Wodehouse, called Jeeves and the Wedding Bells. It is a wonderfully bright, happy and very funny book which captures the essence and spirit of Wodehouse’s stories perfectly.

PG Wodehouse was a prolific English humourist who wrote over 90 books in a career which spanned seven decades. He is probably best remembered for his Jeeves stories which featured the bumbling but always well-meaning Bertie Wooster and his quintessential gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves. Bertie is always getting into scrapes, often of a romantic nature, and Jeeves has to use guile and a superior intellect to rescue him.

Set in the 1920’s, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells follows the tried and tested Wodehouse formula. It features stately country houses, eccentric upper classes, mistaken identity, love lost and found, a village cricket match and a country fete. The plot is gloriously convoluted and thoroughly entertaining and witty throughout.

The story starts with Bertie taking a spring break in the South of France There he meets the beautiful Georgiana Meadows and falls hopelessly in love (as usual). When he returns to London he and Jeeves are asked by an old friend, Peregrine ‘Woody’ Beeching, to travel to the country house of Sir Henry Hackwood to help him revive his failing engagement to Sir Henry’s daughter, the lovely Amelia.

Then things get complicated. Jeeves is mistaken for Lord Etringham by Sir Henry and is invited to stay in the main house Consequently Bertie has to stay with the servants “below stairs”.

By an amazing coincidence, it turns out that the love of Bertie’s life, the beautiful Georgiana Meadows, is Sir Henry’s adopted daughter She is reluctantly engaged to a Mr. Venables whose fortune could be used, if they marry, to save the family home.
Jeeves has to use all his skill and ingenuity to solve the resulting complications. And just maybe he has a personal interest in the outcome.

The jolly character and light hearted cheeriness conveyed in the Jeeves stories derives from the Wodehouse’s particularly skillful and effective use of the English language. Faulks has been able to do a remarkable and very accurate replication of this style and, as a result, has produced a book which is very fitting homage to the great man.

PG Wodehouse fans will love this book. If you aren’t a devotee yet or have never read the Jeeves stories, now is the time to start. You won’t regret it.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is published by Hutchinson. The ISDN Number is 9780091954055. The recommended retail price is R270. -  Keith Millar