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James Ward is a teacher by profession. Born in 1961, he has been married to the same lovely lady for over thirty years and has two grown up sons. He possesses two higher degrees in philosophy from the University of Sussex. He is a sidesman in his local Church.
In the past, he has won prizes in short story and poetry competitions, but none prestigious enough to catapult him to stardom.
Apart from creative writing, his hobbies include walking in the countryside, identifying wild flowers and drinking rare teas. He enjoys CSI Miami and the films of Woody Allen. His favourite writers are Katherine Mansfield, Isaac Bashevis Singer and HP Lovecraft.
In summary, he's quite a nice nice guy, but deadly boring.
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)