The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred
Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals
By Wendy Jones
Corsair/Constable & Robinson – £7.99
What a surprisingly wonderful breath of fresh air this book is.
Throughout The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones, you won’t come across any violence, foul language, sluts of the tedious cleavage brigade, superfluous name-dropping; nor any six-foot-goddesses or Adonis like males that generate colossal sums of money in stocks and shares and lies.
Instead, you’ll experience a gentle, and rather beguiling stroll though the Welsh countryside with protagonist Wilfred Price; along with the consequences of an impulsive proposal made on a mid-summer’s afternoon: ‘’She leaned forward to serve the dessert. The neckline of her dress was cut slightly too low, he noticed again. And he wanted to glance but knew better of it, knew how women always noticed those glances from men, no matter how subtle men tried to be. Men’s eyes were too slow. It was not only how she got into the dress that Wilfred wondered. He wondered, too, how Grace got out of it.
She laughed lightly and brushed her fair hair from her face.
‘Wilfred, are you listening to me? Would you like the trifle, or there’s some Bara brith in the house?’
‘Grace, will you marry me?’
This charming debut novel could be considered a cross between the nineties British comedy drama, The Darling Buds Of May and Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd. There’s just the right amount of fun, intrigue, dilemma, and dare I say it, darkness; as the following quote from page 119 exemplifies: ‘’She held the scarf to her face and breathed in the faint aroma of lavender from the muslin bag of dried flowers she kept among her clothes. Perhaps Wilfred…? If she told Wilfred, would he understand? He had loved her once, if only for an afternoon. Grace had tried to be light and airy for Wilfred, to pretend that she, her situation, was simple when the truth was bleak, complex and barely utterable, never mind explicable. And if she explained, would anyone, anyone, understand? Her world would be different if she knew that only one person would understand.’’
I don’t want to give the game away by reiterating the entire story – you really ought to read if for yourselves. It does however, lean towards the coquettish in that it’s gentle and romantic, as well as purposefully poignant.
Whilst harking back to a time of seeming innocence, I have to say I’m looking forward to the sequel The World is a Wedding – out in 2013.