Thursday, July 13, 2023

Full Moon by P.G. Wodehouse

I guess I'm re-reading the Blandings Castle stories - I hit Heavy Weather at the end of last year, and now I'm a couple of books later in the sequence.

Full Moon was the 1947 entry in the series; Uncle Fred in the Springtime had also appeared after Heavy Weather. Somewhat typically, there are two young couples sundered by misfortune, whom Galahad has to scheme to bring together.

Unusually, there are no nephews involved, but two nieces: Prudence Garland and Victoria Wedge. Prudence wants to marry the apelike but amenable Bill Lister, who has worked as an artist but also owns a pub near Oxford, and whom her family (particularly her mother) find completely unacceptable. Victoria has just met the American millionaire Tipton Plimsoll, who needs to be gotten over a bout of jealousy and bucked up enough to actually propose.

Both couples are basically head-over-heels about each other; the complications are all external. (Unlike the Wodehouse books in which one or another lover gets angry and declares eternal hate towards the formerly betrothed, which lasts until almost the end.)

In the middle of both affairs is Freddie Threepwood, who is not quite as dim as his father Lord Emsworth but is still fairly dim. Freddie is now Vice President of a major American manufacturing enterprise, Donaldson's Dog-Joy, and is back in England on a sales trip selling dog food. Plimsoll owns a massive chain of stores that Freddie would love to feature the Dog-Joy, but Freddie was also once engaged to Victoria - it was a long wet weekend, someone explains, so they had to do something to occupy themselves. Freddie would also like to promote Bill's case, and schemes with Galahad to do so.

The activities are fairly low-key for Wodehouse, though a prize pig does end up in someone's bedroom. There are only minor impostors, no serious thefts, and the thunderous aunts are mostly seen rather than heard. But Blandings was always more serene and relaxing than the Jeeves/Wooster stories; this is no surprise. And love does triumph over all in the end, as it must. I don't know if I'd start with the Blandings books here, but there's a lot to enjoy in Full Moon.

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