“A Damsel in Distress” is an enchanting story about a beautiful girl named Maud, daughter of the Earl of Morshmoreton, who is confined to her home, Balpher Castle in Hampshire, under her aunt’s orders, as her affair with a guy in Wales gets disclosed. The story revolves around two protagonists, one is obviously – Maud Marsh and the other one is an American music composer – George Bevan.
George is in London for his business (Theater shows). One morning, while contemplating about his uneventful and boring life, George, who is in a cab on his way back to his hotel, accidentally meets Maud, who jumps into the cab begging for George’s help. George helps Maud escape from her brother Percy (Lord Belpher) who, to his surprise, unexpectedly spots Maud in London. If we are to believe the great lovers of the past, Love happens at first sight, and so it happened to George. He somehow gathers the whereabouts of Maud and, in search of his love, moves to a cottage in proximity to Belpher Castle. He hopes to meet Maud and confess his love for her. But a story is not worth reading if it flows plainly. There occur events which lead to mistaken identities and confusion among the characters as to who’s who. There are lot of hilarious happenings, characters who cause troubles while other helps the lovers to meet, a flow of emotions, be it sheer happiness and gaiety or the feeling of loneliness and a heart sinking in the ocean of emptiness. The story ends at a happy note.
Wodehouse’s efficiency to relate a reader to the happenings of the story with the real world plays the real magic. The real world where a girl entitles a guy only as a friend knowing that the guy loves her. She loves someone who doesn’t care much about her and she doesn’t care about the guy who loves her. But the guy helps her to meet her so-called love only for her happiness. The girl, as usual, realizes in the end that the guy she actually loves is not actually the guy she loves. The general theme of a love story, but eloquence and description of the situations along with the characters make this story a wacky, funny, serious, romantic tale.
My favorite character from the story is Lord Morshmoreton who is a simple middle aged man, dominated by his sister. He is a pacific man who loves to spend time in gardening. He makes funny remark in serious situations and is a happy go lucky person. Then there is another character named Reggie, step-cousin of Maud, who is a similar character. Reggie also suffers from a “love crisis” and solves it in his own peculiar way.
This is a truly entertaining novel full of charm, fun and social commentary. I will term it as a classy novel.