The action of this Wodehouse romp takes place in the small English village of Chufnel Regis,where Bertie Wooster has taken a cottage so he may continue to practice the "banjolele." This alleged instrument is so offensive that he has been threatened with eviction from his London flat, and Jeeves has given notice.
Such is Bertie's devotion to his music that he suffers to lose Jeeves, who is promptly hired by Lord Chufnel, Bertie's old school pal. Thus, the action moves to the country, where a former flame of Bertie's, her millionaire father, and Sir Roderick Glossip show up proposing to purchase Chufnel Hall and set up a private mental hospital. Chuffy falls for Bertie's old flame, and plans to marry her on the proceeds of the sale of the estate.
This is P.G. Wodehouse, so the course of love does not run smooth. Complications involve some over-conscientious police officers, a drunken butler with a penchant for carving knives, heliotrope pyjamas, a troupe of minstrel singers, copious amounts of bootblack and a distinct lack of butter.
A significant amount of the plot turns on both Bertie and Sir Roderick wearing blackface in order to impersonate the minstrel singers. This is an artifact of the period this was written, but may strike modern readers as unfunny, so be warned.
Otherwise, a classic of the England that never was.
The Boleyn Inheritance is narrated by three women living with the consequences of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall. Henry VIII's fourth and fifth wives and Anne's sister in law each narrate the increasing paranoia and instability of the court as Henry ages and ultimately dies. The readers are each distinct and well suited for their various roles. The book fleshes out the historical facts with compelling characters who may or may not be anything like their real inspirations, but are believable nonetheless.
Any quarrels I have with the ending coming a bit too fast may be due to the fact that this presentation IS abridged: a fact I had not realized before buying it. Don't be surprised, like I was. The audio book is still worthwhile, but be aware that this is much shorter than its predecessor, The Other Boleyn Girl.
It's a well told tale, and having it read to me makes the experience feel like having poisonous gossip dripped into my ear, just as the courtiers of the Tudor Court must have felt. An enjoyable take on a fascinating historical period, and a worthy sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl.
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