Synopses & Reviews
Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse
brings the reader back to the world of Harvester, Minnesota. The story traces the life of Nell Stillman, local teacher, widow, and mother as she struggles to find meaning in an increasingly chaotic world. A constant across her often turbulent life is the genial yet powerful voice of P.G. Wodehouse, a British novelist perhaps best know for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels. Jumping from moment to moment across her life, we see Nell as a whole: a long-suffering yet loving wife conflicted about her marriage to a boorish husband, a widow longing for her congressman lover, and a mother grieving the loss of her child, a shell shocked war hero. Yet despite loss, Sullivan fills her novel with her moments of quite grace and love, compassion and friendship.
The novel features a richly imagined set of characters, many already familiar to readers of Sullivan. We meet a young Lark Erhardt, protagonist of Gardenias and The Cape Ann as she struggles to understand her place in the world. Sally Wheeler, protagonist of The Empress of One, is examined through Nells motherly lens as she struggles with young adulthood. Sullivan continues to expand the world shes created, and in the process weaves another classic story. A long-awaited journey back to Harvester, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse examines what it means to be a woman, to love, to have friendship, and, most importantly, how to survive.
"This well-told, appealing book from Minnesota native Sullivan (The Cape Ann) is the latest installment in her cycle of Harvester novels. Nell Stillman is a widow and third-grade schoolteacher living in the rural town of Harvester, Minn., in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. She struggles to raise her son, Hilly; they reside in a snug apartment over Rabel's Meat Market. She hires her younger cousin Elvira as a live-in housekeeper and also tutors her in reading and the social graces. Typical for a small community, Harvester is a hotbed of gossip, and when the unmarried and pregnant Elvira leaves in disgrace for Chicago, Nell is distraught. As the title suggests, the author establishes how Nell becomes a lifelong devotee to the works of the P.G. Wodehouse, starting with her acquiring his Love Among the Chickens from the town library, a bookcase kept at the Water and Power Company. She indulges her escapist daydreams through his books, and she even corresponds with him. After Hilly returns home tormented with PTSD from his World War I military service, and her love life experiences a shock, Nell increasingly turns to Wodehouse's funny, ebullient fiction for her deliverance. She emerges as a likable, resilient protagonist in Sullivan's inspiring novel, which should find its way onto the reading lists of book clubs. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Throughout her life, Nell Stillman has struggled to find meaning in an increasingly chaotic world. A complicated marriage to a boorish husband; an early widowhood spent longing for her congressman lover; the loss of her child, a shell shocked WWI hero her road has not been easy. But somehow she manages to find moments of grace, more often than not through the genial voice of P.G. Wodehouse, the beloved British novelist. Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse
celebrates the power of great novels from Austen to Chekhov to transform, console, and teach us the value of friendship and love.
We first traveled to Harvester, Minnesota, twenty-five years ago in the bookclub favorite and New York Times best-selling novel, The Cape Ann. This new book, which brings us home to that small town on the prairie along with all of the wonderful characters who live there, is sure to be a classic.
About the Author
is the author of seven award-winning novels including the national bestseller The Cape Ann
. A "demon gardener, flea marketer, and feeder of birds," Sullivan was born and raised in southern Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband.