The year is 1924, and Wilfred Price is a naïve, kind-hearted funeral director who has just come of age in a small Welsh town. His business is prospering, and he reckons he will soon need a wife. At a spring picnic with Grace, a girl he barely knows, he is overcome by the beauty of the day and impulsively asks her to marry him. She accepts, and before he can explain his foolish mistake, she rushes off to tell her parents. What begins as a delightful tale of romantic mishap soon becomes a complex comedy of manners that addresses of the nature of love, the demands of duty, and the consequences of secrecy. Wilfred is caught between his sense of responsibility to Grace, whom he neither loves nor wishes to marry, and his growing attraction to the mysterious Flora. Using blended humor to unveil its multifaceted characters, Wendy Jones allows her character-driven novel to expand from whimsy to responsibility while avoiding sentimentality. Things are never straightforward when it comes to love or the fundamental human question: How can we fully and honestly live our lives without hurting other people? Optioned for a mini-series by the company that produces Downton Abbey for the BBC and PBS, this novel is populated with compelling characters whose choices have consequences. Its humor is generous, never mean spirited, and the awkward all-too-human quest for love is depicted with emotional honesty.
Wendy Jones was the first person to complete an MA in Life Writing at University of East Anglia and is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, where she teaches. She is the author of the biography Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl and hosts Interesting Conversations, a literary program aired on Resonance FM. She lives in London.