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The Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals [Hardcover]

Wendy Jones
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

19 Jan 2012
Everyone has to make decisions about love. Wilfred Price, overcome with emotion on a sunny spring day, proposes to a girl he barely knows at a picnic. The girl, Grace, joyfully accepts and rushes to tell her family of Wilfred's intentions. But by this time Wilfred has realised his mistake. He does not love Grace. On the verge of extricating himself, Wilfred's situation suddenly becomes more serious when Grace's father steps in. Up until this point in his life, Wilfred's existence has been blissfully simple, and the young undertaker seems unable to stop the swirling mess that now surrounds him. To add to Wilfred's emotional turmoil, he thinks he may just have met the perfect girl for him. As Wilfred struggles in an increasingly tangled web of expectation and duty, love and lies, Grace reveals a long-held secret that changes everything . . . Wendy Jones's charming first novel is a moving depiction of love and secrecy, set against the rural backdrop of a 1920s Welsh village, and beautifully told.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair; First Edition edition (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780330561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780330563
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Wilfred s sentimental education is wrought so delightfully and affectionately --Sunday Times

Light, compassionate drama about a small, very tightly bound, ancient corner of the world. --The Guardian

Gently glorious.--Kate Long

I love this novel. Who would have thought so quiet, calm and delicate a novel could keep you completely absorbed from first page to last? Reading this I missed my station.--Fay Weldon

Using lean prose full of subtle humour and irony, Wendy Jones creates a world which feels at once distant and familiar to the modern reader.--Panos Karnezis

Gently glorious.--Kate Long

Wilfred s sentimental education is wrought so delightfully and affectionately.--Sunday Times

Light, compassionate drama about a small, very tightly bound, ancient corner of the world.--Guardian

This is a spryly told tale whose heart is an ample match for its more knowing qualities.--Daily Mail

This is a delightful debut, whose droll exterior masks something wiser and sadder: the importance of truth, parental favouritism and lives ruined or redeemed by a single event.--Scotsman

A novel of serious moral and existential emphasis.--Times Literary Supplement

This is an exceptional debut from a highly talented writer; with such an enchanting novel Wendy Jones is a name to watch.--Newbooks magazine

This charming tale - with a dark secret at its heart - will take you back in time.--Star Magazine

Sensitively written, Wendy Jones debut is set in the 1920s, and captures the judgmental claustrophobia of a society obsessed with respectability.--We Love This Book

The characters in Wilfred s life are very realistically drawn, especially his father, and we ve probably all met people like the members of the Mothers Union Thursday Club. Wendy Jones s story may not be new, but it is engagingly told and thoroughly enjoyable.--Scotsman

Set in the 20's Welsh valleys this is a delightful read, as quirky as its title.--Choice magazine

I had to start reading the book as soon as it arrived and could barely put it down as I did. This, Wendy Jones first novel, is a great read and one I d definitely recommend. I only wish I could read more about the young Wilfred Price!--Notes of Life

A charming and beautifully told debut novel.--Lovereading.co.cuk

This is a writer new to publishing fiction, writing about a young man and his tangled web and doing it exceedingly well. I loved it, book groups worldwide will love it, and chances are you will too. There, I've committed myself.--TheBookbag.co.uk

There's a delicacy about the book that suits its themes of reticence and what is hidden and unspoken, and there's a lightness to the telling, as unforced as its period setting, so all told, a lovely debut from Wendy Jones.--Cornflowerbooks.co.uk

Wendy Jones has written a surprisingly restrained and moving book. There are secrets which aren't pretty, there are shocks without sensationalism. This is a novel about duty, love, loss and responsibility and it deserves a very wide audience ... Wilfred is just about perfect. --Booktopia.com.au

Light, compassionate drama about a small, very tightly bound, ancient corner of the world. --The Guardian

Gently glorious. --Kate Long

Book Description

A charming and moving depiction of love and secrecy, set against the rural backdrop of a 1920s Welsh village.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals 1 Jan 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel is set in Narbeth, a small town in South Wales, during 1924. Wilfred Price, the "Purveyor of Superior Funerals" lives with his father, a grave digger, in the place where he has grown up and hopes to make his business a success and become a citizen of some status and standing. When we meet Wilfred, he is having a picnic in the garen with Grace Reece, the daughter of Dr Reece. Overcome with the emotions of the sunny afternoon, and Grace's new yellow dress, he proposes. This is something which, on reflection, he is horrified by. Finally, he tells her that the engagement is off and gets on with his life. Getting on with his life involves the beautiful Flora, whose fiance died in the Great War, and whose father he is to bury. However, situations change suddenly and Wilfred finds himself forced into a situation he is not ready to accept.

There are few novels which you cannot put down, but this is one of them. Wilfred is a lovely character, full of charm and intelligence. I adored his sweet father and you have sympathy for both Grace and Flora as the novel unfolds. The characters are wonderfully written, the book itself flawless. Although Wilfred is an undertaker, there is much humour in this book, particularly in the sayings from Mr Ogmore Auden, who trained Wilfred and whose pronouncements litter the book. These range from, "refrain from dwelling on thoughts of a lewd nature while in the presence of the deceased. Especially when using a sharp tool..." and "as long as you're reading, you're learning," which leads Wilfred to buy a dictionary to improve his vocabulary. I have a feeling we will all be hearing a lot more from this author, judging by a debut which is so masterfully written, offering a thought provoking and intelligent read with humour, pathos and incredible charm.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare find... 23 Jan 2012
By Raven TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Don't be misled by the charming cover because you will find a much darker tale at the heart of this seemingly unassuming book set in rural Wales in the 1920`s. Our hero Wilfred finds himself embroiled in a complicated love triangle (despite the advice of his funereal mentor Mr Auden forbidding `fancy business with the ladies') with a quite shocking secret at its heart that hits you square on and makes you reassess the predicament that he and Grace (his intended) find themselves in, further complicated by Wilfred's illicit love for the emotionally battered Flora. Alongside this, the relationship between Wilfred and his `Da' is beautifully drawn adding a sense of stability to Wilfred's complicated life and the writing throughout regarding human relationships seems so understated but leads the reader along effortlessly. The story is punctuated by moments of mordant wit (mainly in the good advice dispensed by the aforementioned Mr Auden) and then by turn injections of extreme pathos which really makes you care about the characters and ponder on their fate after the last page is turned. An accomplished debut that I can wholeheartedly recommend for those who like books that make you think...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is love dead or alive? 20 April 2013
By Jo D'Arcy TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the midst of life there is death. In Wilfred Price's life there only seems to be death and he is struggling with the personal quest to find a life to be alive in. He knows amongst all the death he encounters we are all alive.

When an invitation to a picnic with Grace, a girl in a yellow dress, on a sunny day prompts a rather rash and impulsive question by Wilfred, all of a sudden he finds that he is alive. However, he soon begins to regret his rash question and has to find the courage to tell Grace the truth.

Grace is keeping secrets of her own and little does Wilfred know that actually his impulsive question has led him to solve a problem for Grace but incur the wrath of Grace's father. Putting in jeopardy his own position within the local community. Gossip would be able to ruin his growing business of Funeral Director and he strives to be the best, as the title of the novel suggests. Ever present in his thoughts are the teachings of his master and Wilfred uses these to keep himself in check throughout the book.

And so this rather slow and thoughtful story meanders on as Grace and Wilfred exist together but so far apart. Wilfred seeks solace in his work and with conversations with his father, realises that you cannot live a whole life of unhappiness. Wilfred discovers the confidence he needs through the love of someone else, but he must remain true, and he is utterly confused as to the right thing to do and the right way to go about it. Dealing with death seems easier.

Grace has to deal with her family, her father the local doctor and her mother are rather pious and despite the happy outcome they desire, they seem to be grieving the loss a daughter her being ever present whilst rejoicing in their son, who has gone off to fight in the Army.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Book! 2 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly delightful tale which deserves to be widely read. The narrative centres on the eponymous Wilfred Price. In his innocence, integrity and simple dignity Wilfred reminds us of the importance of these values, and made me wonder if they are as present today as they were in the early twentieth century.

Essentially this is a love story, but there is nothing sentimental nor cloying. The plot explores the themes of parenthood, truth and honour through the experiences of this young undertaker. There is a great deal of gentle humour and wry wit. Wilfred is so likeable that readers cannot fail to feel for him and with him.

The style is distinctive and effective; Wendy Jones has found a unique voice to tell her cleverly crafted story.If you enjoyed 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' you may find that this book has a similar warmth, quirkiness and it too is uplifting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
It was an immense pleasure to enter the world that Wendy Jones evoked in this book. The thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price takes place in a small town in west Wales and Jones... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Keir Alexander
4.0 out of 5 stars Choices and decisions...
Life is a series of choices and decisions. Some of them are made by us and others are made for us. But no matter how they're made and by whom, our lives are the sum of those... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Jill Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior...
I found the story of Wilfred and his Da' really touching, while on the surface this is a gentle novel set in perhaps simpler times, running beneath are the painfully sad and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by corinna spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and charming
I really enjoyed this book which I read with my rather large book group. A few of the more busier ladies gave up on it and didn't really seem to understand the gentle humour. Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. E. Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
This book makes an excellent read. The plot is not complex but has an interesting twist to it. I live in Pembrokeshire, near Narberth and enjoyed reading about the area.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Anne Thomas-Ferrand
1.0 out of 5 stars DREAM WORLD
It is based on a premise that a man would totally sacrifice himself for a woman he doesnt love while he's madly in love with another woman. Read more
Published 4 months ago by bettyparry
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read.
This is my favourite sort of book. Thought provoking. Great characterisations. Transports you to another time. Packs a real punch at the end. Brilliant.
Published 4 months ago by Angela Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem
Initially, because of the title, I thought this might be a whimsical or comical book, but it is far from that. Read more
Published 5 months ago by G. Arnold
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting book. Really enjoyed the beginning and middle of the book but found the end very very disappointing! Shame really as otherwise it was an interesting book
Published 6 months ago by Becc
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed
I had never read this author before. It's amazing what a title can do as that is what drew me to the novel. good little read
Published 6 months ago by V. Brennan
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