Service With A Smile: Book Review

Book Name: Service With A Smile (Blandings Castle #9)

ISBN:  0393345963 (ISBN13: 9780393345964)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

PG Wodehouse is one of the greatest comic writers in English literature.  He has written about a hundred books. He is very popular and best known for creating the character Jeeves, a resourceful butler of a gentleman named Bertie Wooster. An entire series of books called “Jeeves and Wooster” have been written by Wodehouse revolving around this character and I have read a book named “Thank You, Jeeves”, one book of the series.

The particular book “Service with a Smile- A Blanding’s story” is one book of another set of series called “Life at Blandings”, revolving around a fictional castle and its inhabitants,  visitors and environs.


This is particular book is of light-hearted humor depicting how various characters of the story are in distress due to trifling issues. They are helped by the ever altruistic Lord Ickenham who sometimes is perceived as being indulgent in other characters’ personal affairs.

However, the various characters in the book inevitably seek Lord Ickenham’s counsel in their various affairs to clear their scruples.  This book is an example of how a sequential comedy of errors occur and eventually every character seeks Lord Ickenham’s help to solve his or her problem.

The story starts with the introduction of the inhabitants and the annoying visitors of Blanding’s Castle whose crises are presented in a humorous manner. Their lives are somehow intertwined with some of the characters living at London. Lord Ickenham, being one of them,  learns of all the crises and decides to pay a  visit to Blanding’s Castle to sort out the troubles of the people involved. He starts with Lord Emsworth, the proprietor of Blanding’ s Castle, who is very troubled as he is under a constant threat of being parted with his pig, Empress who has won him several competitions in pet shows.

Then, there is Duke Dunstable who is an overbearing, obnoxious person whose rise to fortune has been due to familial circumstances and illegitimate businesses. There are also portrayal of couples in love who try to marry each other irrespective of differences in social status and whose careers are unfavorable to start a family.  There is also a portrayal of less fortunate characters with strong political ideologies, trying to establish themselves financially in spite of the constraints posed by the society of Britain which favors the aristocrats mostly.

My Takeaways: (What I have learnt from this book)

  1. Wodehouse’s collections are good for mature comedy and light-hearted humor. They give a peek into the classic aristocratic lifestyle of the United Kingdom and England.
  2. Wodehouse’s books consist of a rich vocabulary and he aptly describes his characters with humor and satirical analogies.
  3. The book also subtly describes the political structure in Britain as to how the aristocrats treat the lesser privileged and how people of different social strata have various political ideologies (communist and capitalistic ideologies).
  4. The book through humor depicts as to how the aristocrats can be generous in marrying people belonging to the lower social strata. Though the people of lower social strata have not very promising incomes, they eventually gain a higher respect if they marry someone of a higher social status.

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