I met a “new-old,” now favorite author this week.
Scottish writer, D. E. Stevenson, who – it appears – was one of the most prolific writers of her time. I closed my eyes, thought back. Had I ever heard of her before? I didn’t think so…
But…coming perchance across two of her novels written in the 1930’s — the charming nostalgic covers beckoned to me from the Barnes and Noble fiction aisle of book authors beginning with D. And… hooked me.
Looking for more DuMaurier, my eye caught instead by D. E. When…turning the little books over in my hands I discovered… timeless treasure! A witty, delightful tale of a young woman writer of the thirties who draws her inspiration from a little English village she knows inside and out… (because, as she erroneously believes, she had to write about real people, for she had no real imagination!)… employs a male pseudonym to throw her readers off…and finds herself caught between praise and all out war in the hilarious chaos that ensues once the living characters begin recognizing themselves on the pages of her book.
Only having taken up writing to help pay her way in life, Miss Buncle is at times shocked and bewildered at the controversy over her innocent little novel. Does Miss Buncle realize the full satirical nature of her own writing? her publisher often wonders. It’s either the writing of a genius or someone completely naive, is his assessment… Still, when Miss Buncle begins to see how a few of her real life neighbors are changed for the better through her simple penned words, she walks in the wonder of being such an unintentional grace-giver.
A reader review quoted on back helped make up my mind to purchase the first of the series with the Thoroughly Modern Millie style drawing as cover … Miss Buncle’s Book, a novel…but the enchanting writing itself made me dash right back for the second, Miss Buncle, Married.
“Love it, love it, love it,” praised that reader. “There are no vampires, no faeries, no weird creatures, just a sweet story about real people living in a world I’ve always dreamed of.”
The cleverly-drafted. often droll story within a story unravels, character by counterpart character at a time — every fictitious name in Miss Buncle’s own story a witty play on the real one in her little hometown of Silverstream. A world of English cottages, and little bridges over flowing rivers, and vicars and and characters who are characters in every sense of that word…and quintessential charm that often makes the reader chuckle out loud. Reminiscent in a way too, of some of my favorite classic screwball movie comedies of the 1940’s.
And…even more… so much fun for all of us writers! Just an endearing and clever look at what happens when a novelist takes the real life stories and words and plot exploits directly from the people she knows best. It seemed a touch slow at first… mostly because I was snatching a few paragraphs here and there between little bits of time to read…and, I think because we aren’t used to slowing down these days to savor.
But once I did…mmm. Word sparkle.
To say much more would be to give the story away — a tea and crumpet cozy you’ll crave to pick up every now and again for a re-read, from your home library shelf.
So… to all my writer friends – especially those who drink-in movies like Miss Potter and English villages and Dickensian or Austen or L.M. Montgomery’s portraits of the more quirky village peoples (though lighter in tone) – I enjoin you….
You’ll want to hold this one in your hands soon.
© Pam Depoyan
Note: I noticed at Amazon, there are some samples where you can read an excerpt… 🙂
Because I find God’s beauty, and sweetness in lovely and fun writing such as these books, I’m sharing this with: