The House of Charles Swinter

Rated 5.00/5 based on 1 reviews
An old Englishman goes to Thailand to find a bride. Only secretly, because he wants to present the whole thing as a fair accompli. His much younger friend becomes worried at his absence. The friend finds out where he's gone and flies out to find him. While he's there, he falls in love with his friend's new bride. What follows is the re-evaluation of everyone's lives. A long book, a happy ending. More

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About J.J. Ward

J.J Ward lives and works in southern England and has been married for 33 years. He has two grown-up boys and a dog called Arthur Perrins. His hobbies include walking in the countryside, drinking tea in unusual locations, photography, and reading.

His favourite contemporary writers are Jonathan Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Magnus Mills, but mostly he thinks the novel has been damaged by the dominance of literary fiction. "On TV, we've become used to the idea of multifaceted genre narratives - The Killing, for example, The Wire, or Spiral - but novel-writers are expected to save depth and complexity mainly for Pulitzer-friendly undertakings. The intricacy of The Corrections, Middlesex and 1Q84 - of theme, characterisation and plot - now needs importing into thrillers and romances."

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Review by: Michael on July 13, 2014 :
This book is just the stress buster that I needed....

As a teenager, I was a big fan of the great English humorist PG Wodehouse. I loved his books for the gentle humor, creating hilarious comedy out of perfectly ordinary situations, the zany characters and the beautiful portrayal of slow, idyllic life in rural Britain, complete with chirping birds, lovely weather and puppy love in the air. Wodehouse had the talent for making his readers feel happy, safe and relaxed as they lost themselves in the wonderful world created by him, chuckling every minute or so at the hilarity of the situations that his hapless characters found themselves him. His books were the ultimate stress busters.

The reason for the introduction to PG Wodehouse is because writer JJ Ward's “The House of Charles Swinter” reminds me so much of Wodehouse at his best. I had just so much fun reading this book!

In JJ Ward, I think I have discovered a modern day Wodehouse, someone whose books I can turn to when I feel upset about my life and need some gentle and pleasant humor to relax me, to make me laugh and feel happy with the world. JJ Ward's depiction of life in modern day Britain had me in splits, especially his depiction of the forced political correctness. His zany characters and the troubles they got themselves into had me laughing almost every minute.

I loved all the characters in the book, starting with the 80-year old recent widower Charlie and his hunt for a young Thai bride; the quintessential English vicar, George, who is too much of a gentleman for his own good; the emotionally fragile temptress Susan, who has poor George falling for her; George's fellow members of the Secret Bachelor's Society, his brother Edward and friend Thanongsak; Susan's ridiculous mother Valerie; Noonie, the perfect Thai schoolteacher looking for the “Great Farang” to whisk her away from her homeland, her thuggish “twin brother”; David Blameworth, who runs a marriage bureau setting up young Thai girls with their “Great Farangs” - I loved them all and it was great fun knowing them. I loved how sympathetically they have all been portrayed by the writer, each with their own funny quirks.

I was so immersed in the book that I simply didn't want it to end, and it almost never does – it's a massive, massive novel, that goes on and on and something you may read for days. But at no point does it get boring, and the writer comes up with something funny in almost every page. This book is obviously a labor of love for the writer JJ Ward and something over which he has spent a lot of time and effort on. If I could give it 10 stars, I would do so gladly. But since that's not an option here, 5 stars it will be. Bravo!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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