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The Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals
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The Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals (Wilfred Price #1)

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  1,072 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
Everyone has to make decisions about love...

Wilfred Price, overcome with emotion and a yellow dress, 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 realized his mistake. He does not love Grace.

Wendy Jones' charming first novel is a movin
Paperback, 263 pages
Published July 19th 2012 by Corsair (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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MaryannC.Book Fiend
Ok, have a ton of books to finish, but I've had this for a few years and finally perused it not being able to stop reading it. This was another sort of homey, old fashioned read about a young man named Wilfred price, who happens to handle all the funerals for his small town and unwittingly finds himself proposing to a girl he barely knew only to regret it. I found this an enjoyable, mostly light hearted read, even when Wilfred describes the dead as he prepares them to be laid out for their funer ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time. Quirky, funny, poignant ... altogether lovely. Highly recommended.
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
'Wilfred was beginning to realise that the profession of undertaker wasn't much use to him when it came to matters of romance.'

Wilfred Price is the undertaker in the Welsh village of Narberth in Pembrokeshire. One day in 1924, quite unintentionally and just swept up by the moment, Wilfred impulsively proposes marriage to a girl, Grace, whilst at a picnic. As soon as he has done it, he wishes he hadn't, as he realises he doesn't love her at all. He decides that he will explain this to her, and be
Sep 18, 2012 Joanne rated it it was ok
I was surprised and not a little disappointed by this book. It sounded charming and quirky, and I was imagining another gem like 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. Instead it was slow, far too slow and I'm afraid I found the spineless Wilfred rather annoying, instead of charming. I got halfway through, my eyes continued to be drawn to that lovely exciting pile of books waiting patiently and I skim-read to the end. I love the sort of books that have a gentle story and are beauti ...more
Kerri Turner
I had a real love/hate experience reading this book. This is probably more a 2.5 rating because when I finished the book, I was more on the side of hating it.

To put things bluntly, the writing is pretty awful. Almost everything is a cliche (I actually laughed out loud at a few, even though they weren't supposed to be funny), and the writing is riddled with constant similes and metaphors. If that weren't enough, everything is repeated at least two or three times - sentences, paragraphs, key plot
Mar 16, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 compl ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Irina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irina-s-books
I wanted to love it but I just found the plot to be rather slow. Some bits touched me,particularly Grace's situation & the grief Flora & her mother shared after her fathers death. However,it wasn't enough to make that special connection to the characters. Wendy Jones writes well though & I look forward to seeing what she comes out with next.
Aug 21, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
The title of Wendy Jones' first novel sums up just what the story is about, and although it's a bit of a mouthful, it really is the perfect title for this wonderful story. Looking at the cover, which depicts the back view of a shapely young woman in a beautiful dress, the reader can suppose that many of Wilfred's thoughts centre around his relationships.

The story is set in the small Welsh town of Narbeth in the early 1920s. Wendy Jones has brought this insular, sometimes petty, often snobbish to
Oct 31, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2013
After once again interrogating the poor owner of a divine little bookstore in Mt Tambourine I walked away with this little discovery! This is quite a quirky and surprisingly little book. It tells the story of Wilfred Price, who is fighting to make something of himself as the local funeral director in a small little town where judgement and assumptions are rife. One summer day he mistakes beauty, loneliness and probably lust for love and asks a young woman to marry him. Instantly regretting the d ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Edel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a lovely book ! The characters were very interesting , especially that of Wilfred. There are many times I wanted to give him a good shake. Wilfred is pretty dreadful in the art of asking a woman out. Honestly if he was real and not just a character in a book I would be standing in front of him going no no no no no Wilfred!!! It is because he is so clueless that makes him adorable in a way, you can't help but want to take him under your wing. I really enjoyed this story!!! Wil ...more
Sep 03, 2016 Missie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not make it though the book. The first 20% did not go anywhere and just jumped around, I have no idea what the plot it supposed to be, but I wasn't getting there any time soon. With my huge TBR list, I didn't have time for a book that did not catch my attention and seemed to be going no where.

Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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Apr 30, 2015 Maryann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I thought this was very good. The story held my interest and the writing was lovely, like a work of art at times. At first I thought the book would be light-hearted and humourous but it became deeper. Wilfred had real depth to his character, and this developed through the novel.
Aug 27, 2012 Melissainau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a charming novel, very descriptive and warm, but I didn't feel hat it had a great deal of substance and t times it dragged. I think what I liked most as how connected Wilfred felt to being an undertaker: he related his major lif decisions back to his chosen career/calling.
Jun 02, 2015 Marjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable book, written in a light gentle style and yet handling serious topics and emotions. I liked the unexpected twists it had and the realistic outcome. Thank you Nicole!
Sep 25, 2013 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will be a shortish review because I’m afraid it might be too easy to include spoilers if I’m not careful. I picked up my copy from the lovely new Birmingham library – and I have to say I do love the cover artwork. Jones writes with that friendly informal simplicity very much in the tradition of many of Alexander McCall Smith’s novels. This style suits perfectly the story of small town innocence and miscommunication that has a deceptively dark centre. I loved the opening scene, and it sucked ...more
Suad Shamma
Dec 15, 2012 Suad Shamma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2012
What a silly book. I have no idea how it's gotten an almost 5 star rating on both Amazon US and UK. It makes me a little sad at the quality of books people are reading these days and how these books are being measured in comparison to other more worthy books.

Wilfred Price is a silly man, who makes a silly mistake of proposing to a girl, and is then forced to marry her because the silly girl has a terrible secret and needs someone to blame it on. Then Wilfred falls in love in the silliest of ways
Jul 31, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
The beautiful cover of this book tempted me, and the contents certainly lived up to it. Set in a small Welsh village in the 1920s, it's full of colourful details and written in a witty, poignant style which makes it hard to put down.

The hero, Wilfred, is a young man working in the family undertakers' business. He longs to update its methods and run a more modern service - but his dad isn't so sure it's possible to make funerals glamorous. However, Wilfred's real problem is his love life, as he
Marika Alexander
The words that come to mind when I think of this book are "sweet", "charming", "wistful", and "emotionally wrought". I almost gave it 5 stars, except I don't think I'll go back and read this book over and over again. Wilfred Price is a young man with an established undertaker business in South Wales. As his apprentice-master counseled, he seeks to take a wife as soon as he has his business. He impulsively proposes to one young lady he doesn't know very well, and when she unexpectedly accepts, th ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Lois rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
By all accounts, it should have been brilliant, it had lovely writing and a brilliantly evoked character in Grace painfully insecure and beautifully written, proving fragility in women can be shown just as interestingly as strength (or, as I feel, far more so) but it felt like pretty air - I had an awful short story I was incredibly proud of described similarly -- it has lovely themes, and the potential to be poignant, but it's too wrapped up in its image to make an impact - the first chapters a ...more
Tonya Marston
May 28, 2014 Tonya Marston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The small Welsh coastal town that this book is set in, is narrow minded and confining in contrast to the huge breadth and range of emotions that The characters in this story experience.

Everything about this story rings true. There is never a moment when the reader must suspend disbelief.

I was completely drawn in to the central character's suffering and indecision and I enjoyed that we were both enlightened to the awful truth at the centre of the story at the same moment. I had no prior inkling
Wendy Jones's debut novel is set in the 1920's in a small Welsh village. This is a lovely gentle read about a naive young man, Wilfred, on a picnic with girl in a yellow dress. He wonders how it fastens and how she gets in and out of it and before he has time to think he finds himself proposing to her and she accepts him. He almost immediately regrets his proposal and there the story begins to unfold.
To talk more about the story would give too much away and I would hate to spoil it for others.
Started off charming and quirky; really drew me in. I read most of it in one sitting; it was that compelling.
Idril Celebrindal
The prose was disappointingly awkward, especially in the beginning. It feels like there could have been a very good book in here, but as is it's short, under-developed, and ultimately ineffective. The reader is very often shown something, and then told the same thing right afterwards, just in case he or she missed it, I guess. At times I could feel the author striving for poignancy but falling short and ending up with mundanity or vapidity. There was one effective scene, of a mother and daughter ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Shauna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming and funny tale of an awkward and rather spineless funeral director in a small Welsh town in the 1920s. This book boils down to an ever-escalating series of misunderstandings that could have easily been solved through simple communication, but it was so fun to read that I'm willing to let that slide. It does get rather dark at one point, which was unexpected but added a lot of depth to the story.

I now feel a strong urge to move to a small Welsh town and become a beekeeper.
Jan 16, 2015 Janie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones

I won this book as part of Goodreads first-reads.

What a lovely read! The language and flow of the story seemed reminiscent of Austin. It is quirky, emotional, and comedic all at the same time. The only downside was I would have liked a different ending. I became very attached to the characters and desperately wanted everyone to somehow get what they desired in the end.
Madeeha Maqbool
You're going along comfortably with the gentle, simple prose and suddenly, something shocking happens. Pretty effectively, it jolts you out of your comfort-zone. If that was the only thing the writer was aiming for, she succeeds. However, according to the intro at the start of the book, she's getting a PhD in creative writing. Given that context, the book wasn't impressive. Too conventional and unexperimentative.
Nov 10, 2014 KJ rated it really liked it
From a sedate beginning, this grew into quite a dark novel about small town life. May I say, yet again, what a joy it was to read a book based in my stamping ground of Pembrokeshire? It is a beautiful place and this did at least capture some of its magic.

Apparently there will be more Wilfred Price novels, so I can only hope that they are up to this standard.
Maria Longley
Jan 30, 2013 Maria Longley rated it liked it
Shelves: fa, 2013
Rather sweet and gentle little novel set in a 1920s Welsh village. It starts off with an accidental proposal and ends slightly bittersweetly with truth telling and blackberries. I got slightly impatient with Wilfred Price at times, but Da was lovely throughout.
Dec 26, 2012 Amabel rated it really liked it
Whimsical and light, this is a captivating tale set in the Welsh valleys in the 1940s. Something a little different for out reading group; led to discussion of whether we loved or loathed Wilfred (I'm in the former camp).
Peter Kettle
Jun 20, 2012 Peter Kettle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Endearingly funny, worth a read. Brilliant feeling of its 1921 Welsh setting. After you close the book you may well feel there is more to it than you first thought. I want her next book please!
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Wendy Jones is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and has a PhD from Goldsmiths in creative writing. She has published two novels and is the author of 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl', a biography of Grayson Perry. She lives in London.
More about Wendy Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Wilfred Price (2 books)
  • The World is a Wedding (Wilfred Price, #2)

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“It went on and on; intentionally, unintentionally, it didn't matter. The end was the same: broken people left in pieces, lives fractured, love bludgeoned.” 2 likes
“Gossip went on forever. As Mr. Auden said, ‘There is always a great deal of interest in a door behind which something is happening’—but gossip belonged in the realms of a small and uncompassionate world, and Wilfred had seen that the world was larger and more multiple than could ever be described and explained by tittle-tattle.” 0 likes
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