I assumed this novella would be “cheerful,” as its title implies, but I was wrong. It’s actually a rather dark portrayal of Dolly Thatcham’s wedding day. All of the “action” takes place in the bride’s house, even during the ceremony, because this book is not about the wedding, it’s about reactions to the wedding. As Dolly gets dressed, and her extended family and friends sit down to a wedding luncheon, it becomes clear that no one is very happy about this wedding, not even the bride.
This state of affairs is revealed slowly, through a quirky cast of characters. Mrs Thatcham books multiple guests in the same bedroom, confuses the staff with conflicting direction about meal service, and flaps about in a scatterbrained fashion. Two boys fight over wearing appropriate socks. Dolly steels herself for the afternoon ceremony by slowly draining a bottle of rum. And Joseph, a former suitor, mopes about downstairs waiting for Dolly to emerge so he can have the last word before she becomes a married woman.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is supposed to be funny, I think. Yes, there were moments of wit, and characters like Mrs Thatcham who were so over the top that I had to laugh. But I expected a continuous chuckle, and maybe a laugh-out-loud moment or two, and this was not that sort of book. The cover blurb compared this book to Cold Comfort Farm, another “hilarious” book that failed to resonate with me. Perhaps I just can’t appreciate this type of quirky humor.