I knew a little about Julia Strachey from some of my Bloomsbury reading, especially the reminiscences of Frances Partridge, but had never read any of her fiction. So I was interested to see what I would think of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, in its lovely Persephone edition. 

The word that kept on springing to mind as I read this was brittle; not a criticism as such, but the story struck me as being one of those bright and witty pieces produced by many in the twenties and thirties, some of which were much more successful than others.

Although there was much to enjoy in the story of a wedding party with undercurrents, I felt that a lot of the humour was lost on me, being perhaps too much of its time. But there were pleasures; the bride’s mother was a remarkable character, and one of the lasting images for me is of the bride herself drinking more or less discreetly from her bottle of rum as she prepared for the rigours of her big day.

What did really catch my interest was the introduction by Frances Partridge, and sure enough after rummaging in the bookshelves I found her memoir of Julia, made up of her recollections alongside Julia’s own words. Having dipped into it I think I will find more of interest in the real life than the fiction, which is a shame.

This was my second read for the Novella Challenge.

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