The World is a Wedding
The World Is a Wedding is a sequel to The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals, both set mostly in Wales in the 1920s. I have not read that book, but did not find it difficult to follow the plot of this sequel, or to become familiar with the main characters, all of whom are beautifully drawn.
However, the sole purpose of The World Is a Wedding seems to be the correcting of wrongs left unaddressed at the end of the previous book. A reader who had read and enjoyed the ending of that book may be disappointed by the lack of any new development beyond the characters continuing with their new relationships and offspring, all of which was set up earlier. It begins by suggesting that both of the main characters, Wilfred and Grace, have their faults, particularly in their treatment of each other; by the ending all is resolved, and the only remaining villain is so much a caricature it is surprising he does not enter twirling his mustachios. This book undermines the original, suggesting it was incomplete without an extra 266 pages to tie up loose ends.
What I did enjoy about The World Is a Wedding was its gentle tone, its excellent description, and the sense of the futility in trying to be anything other than yourself, and yet reassurance of the lovability of that self (for example, when Grace is making beds at the Ritz: “Grace’s [sheet] did not have… origami exactness… Grace’s sheet was pleated like the edge of a puff-pastry confection”). While I may never read the predecessor to this book, I will look forward to Wendy Jones’ next work, where hopefully she will put her significant talents to use creating a fresh narrative populated with new characters.