Cheerful weather, long before the wedding

NPG x13088; Julia Frances Strachey; Calcott Reily by Unknown photographer

Julia Strachey and friend, aged about 5 in January 1906 (it must have still been warm in India that time of year especially for the elaborate wigs).

Simon at Stuck in a book is kindly collecting reviews and thoughts on Julia Strachey’s satirical and witty novella Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. Some love it, some don’t! I’m finding the different responses fascinating. It’s a short, sharp interesting read, but, for me, hard to like. In my opinion, Strachey slips between neither being serious enough (though their are similarities to Virginia Woolf’s style in many places) nor frothy enough (there are moments when I wish P. G. Wodehouse could just have taken over, but then how different it would have been). Strachey is a fascinating woman though, and I think her love of the theatrical and exotic might well stem from her first six years as a child in India. The sense of costume and dressing up and facade that is so prevalent in the novel is well captured in these pictures from her childhood all held by The National Portrait Gallery.

NPG x13086; Julia Frances Strachey by Fred Bremner

January 1906 again in similar (or same?) dress, but swapped wig for bows

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10 thoughts on “Cheerful weather, long before the wedding

    • Thank you Simon! Brilliant idea for a read-along. Thank you for doing all the work! I must admit her background links her in my mind to Rumer Godden. Must try to get copies of both of their memoirs.

    • I really want to see the film too – looking forward to the settings and the fashion. You might love it so don’t be too put off – it’s certainly a nice short read! I’m sure Miranda has a copy you’d be welcome to borrow as well. xx

  1. Lovely to see Julia Strachey as a child – she was both an extradordinary and a deeply troubled woman. Have you read the book about her that her lifelong friend, Frances Partridge (a wonderful diary writer) , put together from her papers after her death?

  2. What fantastic pictures – they really help to set the scene of her childhood! I’m enjoying catching up with other people’s reviews now I’ve posted my own. It’s interesting how she is compared (often unfavourably) to other writers of her era such as Virginia Woolf and PG Wodehouse – do you think this might be because she didn’t quite achieve an original voice of her own?

    • Thank you Claire! I know fascinating to see how others reviewed this one. I don’t know wonder about the consistency of tone – perhaps it is a matter of her still finding her own voice? For me, I never felt entirely comfortable reading this, but am glad I did so nevertheless and am looking forward to the film.

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