on 23 May 2000
This is one of the most entertaining and utterly delightful books that you are ever likely to read. Set in the 1920s, it reads like a musical, only without the music. Wonderfully appealing characters, from the singleminded Earl of Marshmoreton, pompous Lord Belpher, lovely Maud (aka Lady Patricia) and all round nice guy George Bevan, a light and natural romance, hilarious scenes which will stay vividly in your imagination for a long, long time... a book that you will not be able to put down, who could ask for more?
on 23 September 2007
A Damsel in Distress is P G Wodehouse farce built around his Blanding's Castle template but with Belpher Castle replacing Blanding's and Lord Marshmoreton playing the role of a slightly more active Lord Emsworth. The Butler is Keggs, still hawking his engagement sweepstake as premiered in the short story `The Good Angel' from `The Man Upstairs and other Stories'. So am I saying this is a novel bereft of original ideas and no merit; certainly not , the humour, dialogue and writing generated by these re-cycled ideas is as sharp as the best in the P G Wodehouse cannon.
Try this for size, a somewhat drunk Reggie Byng to a disguised George Bevan `You haven't a brother, or anything of that shape have you, no?', `No but I have often wished I had. I ought to have spoken to father about it. Father could never deny me anything.'
Or how about a rejoined between Miss Plummer and George `He made his money in whisky.', `That's better than spending it that way.'
As usual the leading lady has little to do but watch her mate battle his way through any number of imposters and misunderstandings to ensure that this is the best of all possible worlds.
on 15 January 2012
I'm a big P.G. Wodehouse fan and was delighted to find this early novel, which I'd never read, as a cheap edition for Kindle. The novel didn't disappoint, but pretty much every page featured missing full stops and missing quotation marks at the start of sentences.
Wodehouse's books are delightful because of his inimitable turn of phrase; seeing it marred by such a poorly edited (or more likely, poorly rendered) e-book edition means I'm unlikely to buy an Arrow e-book edition again.
on 1 July 2016
I have just been re-reading Damsel in Distress, Wodehouse at his triumphant best. (Whenever I find myself getting in to a rut of non-fiction, Wodehouse is a great restorative - much to be preferred to most of what contemporary writers of fiction offer). One of the short-term effects of reading The Master is that one's daily discourse takes on something of his style. This has its downsides. I have found myself, in moments of bafflement brought on by my wife's naturally mischievous character, calling her "young blighted Albert". This is by way of homage to the dual act of Keggs, the butler, & the aforesaid "young blighted Albert", the page boy, who are to be found matching wits in the servants "'all" in order to influence the result of the sweepstake which them below stairs have organised on the question of which of Lady Maud's suitors will win the complicated battle for her hand in marriage. Whenever you think you deserve a treat, give anything else the miss in baulk & go back to the delights of Wodehouse.
on 11 July 2008
Belpher Castle, home of widowed Lord Marshmoreton. Both his children Percy and Maud, in their twenties, and his sister, Lady Caroline, along with her step-son Reginald, live at the castle, surrounded by their faithful butler Keggs, page-boy Albert and several other servants.
Maud is desperately in love with an American young man whom nobody has ever met and Lady Caroline, her aunt, resents and rejects the whole affair as it does not suit the family's aristocratic position, plus she wants her to marry Reggie, her step-son. Lord Marshmoreton, Maud's father, is actually more interested in his garden rather than in any direct involvement with his daughter's scandalous love "emergency" shall we say, but is forced to face the facts by his sister Caroline, who rules the castle (and tries to rule all their lives too) with an iron-fist hidden beyond her aristocratic subtle tones and smile.
George Bevan is an American composer in town with his show and in a case of mistaken identity, his life becomes muddled up with Belpher Castle and its inhabitants.
Firstly published in 1919, this comedy of errors is a classic and makes you laugh out loud to this day. Simply delightful British humour by the unforgettable P.G. Wodehouse.
on 11 June 2012
I've read all the Jeeves and Blandings books, and this is right up there among Wodehouse's very best. A simply perfect mix of ridiculously funny humour and blissful, heart-warming romance. If you are a Wodehouse fan and haven't tried this one yet, you are in for an absolute treat...and just wait for the last two chapters....brilliant! 10/10.
on 7 March 2012
A Damsel in Distress is what is fast (after only reading three books) becoming standard for my reading of Wodehouse. It's a comic romance in which nobody quite knows who everyone else is, nor who is in love with whom. Maud is in love with an American, but her aristocratic family, who think it's a different American, who in turn happens to love Maud, don't approve.
It's witty, it's light and it's entertaining, and yet I felt that there was something slightly lacking - it didn't quite live up to 'Picadilly Jim', but perhaps it's just unfortunate that the last Wodehouse I read was one of the best? The wit was not quite as sharp, the characters somewhat too familiar, and certain elements of the plot all too quick and convenient.
Despite that, it still has to be praised. Wodehouse's way with words shines through, and he is one of the only authors who manages to get away with breaking the fourth wall so blatantly without also breaking the flow of the narrative, instead making it feel like we're all in on one big joke. The humour survives the 90+ years since it was written incredibly well, and this seems to be because it was written with a tongue in the cheek that correctly translates into the modern era. I felt it was perhaps targeted a little at an American audience of the time, and that perhaps that gave it an attitude toward the England of the time more similar to our own is now.
An enjoyable and easy book to read. I'm glad that Wodehouse's works are so numerous and I have many more to keep me pleasantly entertained in future.
on 30 June 2016
This is an entertaining romp, a romantic farce, and although the opening of the book doesn't really do much to capture the reader's attention but I don’t think there is excessive danger in anybody tossing P.G. Wodehouse aside in favor of a more modern novel.
A Damsel in Distress is very funny and the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I laughed so hard throughout, it renewed my faith in the pleasures of reading. Sometimes, reading can get to be a chore, and this book was just a light, fun read to distract me from my ever growing TBR or to be read pile.
A Damsel in Distress at its cor eis Wodehouse having a bit of fun with the concept of chivalry in the dawn of the jazz age, he also makes jokes at the expense of the fading aristocracy. Most of the story takes place at Belpher Castle, where Lord Marshmoreton resides with his son, daughter, sister, sister’s step-son, his secretary and many servants.
Although Lady Caroline Byng, who is running the show. It is her darling wish that Lord Marshmoreton’s daughter, Lady Maud Marsh, marry her step-son, Reginald Byng. It’s not a bad plan, except that Maud loves a man she met a year ago in Switzerland and Reggie loves the secretary and it is beginning to affect his golf swing, which worries him.
The family is trying to keep Maud away from the man by keeping her at the castle, but she sneaks up to London one day, with the help of Reggie, and unfortunately runs into her brother, Percy. In an effort to escape him, she hops into a random taxicab and encounters George Bevan, a songwriter. It is love at first sight for him. All his chivalrous nature is awakened and he even knocks Percy’s hat off his head in an effort to keep him from discovering Maud in the cab.
I loved the humour and the inside out kind of view on family relationship and their individual romantic relationship. Although I don't normally read classic novels as I tend to get bored easily by them I actually read all of A Damsel in Distress, unfortunately for me it just affirmed my dislike of classics, therefore I won't be reading it again but I do encourage you to read it as it a great book in its own right.
I also found in the verison sent to me by the publisher that the illustrations were a great additions and just highlighted and solidifed some amazing points in the novel. The illustrations also distract you in a way from the language and slightly out-dated style of the novel, so it's a way of keeping you reading, breaking the book up into smaller more managable parts, which really helped me to actually finish the novel.
Over all this is a series of misadventures, mistaken identities, and some upstairs-downstairs intriguing follows. It’s funny, charming, and a quick read with the requisite happy ending all around. I highly urge readers who like classics or read a lot of classics to pick this up if you haven't already done so, but purely because of my personal taste and reading preferences I only gave this book 3 stars.
on 5 September 2013
There are mistaken identities a plenty here, along with lots of brilliantly portrayed snobbishness from the upper classes. It is a love story with many complexities and sub stories which all interlink together, including unrequited (until the end anyway) love. There are some real laugh out loud moments and my personal favourite was the betting pool between the servants about who Maud Marshmoreton would marry. As usual the book is full of witty observations and the ability for people to poke fun at themselves and each other. Well worth a read.
on 16 February 2015
About the Edition: * * * * *
Readers of P.G. Wodehouse will neither need nor care a rating of the content; they will lap it up quite indiscriminately, as do I, and like the sunny style and the ingeniously strung-together words that make him such a pleasure to read.
But if Wodehouse be read, let him be read in this Everyman Edition! ("Overlook Press", for Americans, which is very nearly identical except for one bowdlerized dust-jacket design that I've spotted on "Bring on the Girls")
The attention to detail, the type setting, the dust jackets (too beautiful to discard after purchase, as was the original fate of dust jackets until they became considered part of the book), the paper quality, and most of all the completeness and thoroughness of the edition make the Everyman Edition a total delight and add yet further joy upon Wodehousian joy.
About the Book: * * * * (*)
Taking the Wodehouse-blinders off, for a second, there *are* better and there *are* less ingenious Wodehouse efforts. And some that will more readily appeal to the non-initiated and some that are hard-core stuff. Eventually you might enjoy reading the cricket and First-15 heavy school stories, teeming with minutiae of turn-of-the-last-century British public schooling... but at first they might be rather confusing. Better to turn to one of his straight novels. There's Bertie Wooster & Jeeves, of course, but I confess to liking them less than the other long-standing favorite series of characters: "Blandings Castle" and its inhabitants (at least one of which will always have sneaked in under false pretenses).
A Damsel in Distress is neither, but it's one of Wodehouse finest. It could be made to fit the Blandings Castle mold, and of course it is love (=marriage, in Wodhouse) that is at it's center. Only that the Damsel of the title is already in love, or so she thinks, and in any case this new chap is far too beautiful to be trusted. She has read about these beautiful men, flitting from flower to flower. And thus she resists. And so Wodehouse goes to work -- and entertains us greatly in the process.