This book was a Blandings book in the same way that Cause Celeb featured Bridget Jones: the characters were often less hyperbolic, but readers can tell that the author started from a similar point with both books. In Helen Fielding's case, it was a British Singleton who couldn't keep a man. Cause Celeb ended up being much more serious than Bridget, but there were similar influences.
In that same light, this book resembled Wodehouse's world surrounding Blandings Castle. The book was slightly less absurd in many ways, but some of the characters were from the same source material. Lady Caroline, like Lady Constance, is a manifestation of Wodehouse's perpetual fear of domineering aunts. You have the slightly vacant Earl, the dotty cousin, and the young girl who has unwisely fallen for an improper man.
Unlike most of the Blandings books, A Damsel in Distress features a likeable hero instead of a judgmental nitwit I spend most of the book wanting to slap upside the head (for some of the Blandings books, I root for Galahad and completely ignore the main plot except where it provides me with delicious absurdity). George, an American composer, isn't one of Blandings Castle's sad saps who mopes when he thinks his gal just looked twice at another bloke. Instead, he's fairly forthright, genuine, and in possession of both humility and common sense. Without him, I still would have liked this book, but I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it to the extent that I did.
I also liked the Earl, who has slightly more substance than the Earl of Emsworth. He had a background and an active interest in his garden instead of sort of fluttering and fretting over it. Don't get me wrong: I love Clarence. It was just nice to see a gent who couldn't be tricked or tossed about by sucking up to him about his prized pig.
This book was a good deal of fun. I was amused and it actually caught me off guard a couple of times. Definitely recommend!