Fabulous Fiction Firsts #381

Julia Strachey's slim novella Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (with a new preface by Frances Partridge) has recently been adopted into a feature film, starring no less than Elizabeth McGovern of Downton Abbey fame, for which the period drama has inevitably been compared.

With sharp eye and playful language, Strachey's slim novella, first published in 1932 depicts the upstairs-downstairs activities on Dolly Thatcham's wedding day as her oblivious mother bustles about getting her ready to marry the wrong man. Waylaid by the sulking admirer who lost his chance with her and her own sinking dread, the bride-to-be struggles to reach the altar.

A brilliant, bittersweet comedy which Virginia Woolf observed as being "an eccentric mixture of Katherine Mansfield and E.M. Forster".

Julia Strachey (1901-1979) was born in India to a Civil Servant. Educated in England, she later worked as a model/photographer and in publishing. Her two novels appeared in 1932 and 1951.

Readers might also enjoy other women novelists such as Elizabeth Bowen; Penelope Fitzgerald; and Alice Thomas Ellis, in particular, The Summer House: a trilogy.

Click here for the New York Times review and the official trailer of the movie.