In this novella, originally published in 1932, Dolly Thatcham is getting married. The story begins with the whole household in confusion as it prepares for the big event. On the surface, all the commotion seems perfectly normal, but it soon becomes clear that most of the characters aren’t happy about this wedding – including the bride. While Dolly’s clueless mother bustles around issuing contradictory orders to the servants, Dolly experiences overwhelming and confusing emotions about her impending marriage. Everything is complicated by the presence of Joseph Patten, one of Dolly’s former suitors, who may or may not still be in love with her.
Two things you should know about this novel before deciding to read it: (1) it’s very short, just over 100 pages; and (2) it is not a stereotypical romantic comedy. There are several comedic moments, but the overall tone of the story is quite bleak. All the characters seem isolated and incapable of true communication with each other. Furthermore, none of them are particularly likeable; my favorite was Dolly’s sister Kitty, but she’s not one of the principal actors in the story. The whole books is more of a scene than a novel; all the events take place over the course of a single day, and the characters’ internal struggles are much more important than the few external events. All this is making it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I actually did like it. It’s easy to read because of its length, but it’s definitely not a fluff book. I enjoyed the biting satire and was impressed by the writing. So, even though this wasn’t exactly a feel-good read, I liked it overall and would definitely read it again.