D. E. Stevenson – A Charmer of a Read

Miss Buncle's BookI 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.”

O…me too. 

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.  

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©  Pam Depoyan

Note: I noticed at Amazon, there are some samples where you can read an excerpt… 🙂

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Digital Camera

Because I find God’s beauty, and sweetness in lovely and fun writing such as these books, I’m sharing this with:

    Beauty in His Grip Button 

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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16 Responses to D. E. Stevenson – A Charmer of a Read

  1. Being Woven says:

    EEWWW! Thanks, Pam. I love finding out about books like this. I, too, want no weird stuff and no violence and no …! Just a delight and even a slow read! I shall head on over to that book aisle. Thanks, ~ linda

    • Hope you enjoy it! It is so hard to find books that are entertaining, written so well and totally free of all that! If you have ever read Jan Karon’s Mitford series, it reminded me of a book that “Cynthia” (or Jan 🙂 ) would love too! I know what you mean about craving slow reads… I didn’t want this one to end. Give me a book to savor! 🙂

  2. Sylvia R says:

    You’ve got me interested! Looks like a fun read! (And I’ve been looking for just such an animal.) I’m off to sample at Amazon!

    • I love passing on a good book! Hope you enjoy it too! Just dear, old fashioned fun and a bit of a satire… but not syrupy AT ALL. If you ever watch TCM classic movies, it reminded me of something like Irene Dunne in Theodora goes wild… or Greer Garson’s family in the old version of Pride and Prejudice... 🙂

  3. Pam, this sounds like its right up my alley. You did a lovely review. Makes me want to go download the sample. Of course, you know I’m a sucker for anything English. *wink*

    • Yes, I know that kindred side of you, Shelly! 😉 Anything set in England, or mentioning English Village in the description, has me immediately! If you do, hope you enjoy it as I did! Haven’t started the second one yet, but looking forward to it.

      I actually started out to quote from the book today and do a post on a spot in town here that reminded me of it… but suddenly found myself writing this review instead! Funny, how that goes… 🙂

  4. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Pam, I always love your reviews–always interesting, detailed, and invitingly written. What a perfect suggestion for a good summer read for another Anglophile! Maybe you should just write a whole British series!! Thanks for the charming suggestion. And you’ve inspired me to read Rebecca again, as I believe I had told you. And Jane Eyre remains my favorite novel! Thanks for always sharing beauty and joy here!
    Love
    Lynni

    • Thanks, Lynn. Hmm… I think part of the beauty and charm of English writers is that they just write the way they talk. I don’t think I could imitate it fully. I read the most charming essay by Du Maurier in the back of a recent copy of Rebecca that I gave to a young friend. All about how the author came upon the real “Manderley” and just had to live there! Just made me wish I could think in that same language charm — and capture it on paper! You will love reading Rebecca again. Since I knew the story so well, it wasn’t really the plot or the Gothic tale that I was looking at this time around… but all her gorgeous writing.

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        love how you express this and tell me what to look for…….and where can I find that essay? Is it in a particular version/copy?

      • It was in the back of a recently published paperback copy of Rebecca that I bought a few months ago at Barnes and Noble. Not a small book…About the size of a regular book, but paperback. As I was wrapping it, I noticed it mentioned that this edition included some “bonus” material in back, and that’s when I found the essay there. It also had some writings she wrote about her original ending (I am so glad she didn’t go with that ending!) So I quickly read it before wrapping the book up as a present! 😉 (I have a hardback copy that I bought several years ago…but it doesn’t have that extra material! I would love to have a copy of that essay! So so fun! She had a delightful personality and it really shone in her writing…)

  5. I am so glad I came by – I am a pre-21st century lit fan – because so much of 21st century writing is so hopeless. I am going to try this out though – cannot wait for the Word Sparkle!

    • Me too! I am always looking for books written in the 40’s or earlier, because I find them the most engaging and free of hopeless junk. When the beauty of a story or the words counted in ways we seem to have lost in the popular book market. I even find some of my favorite tried and true writers of that era did their best work before the late 60’s when suddenly they had to add “accommodations.” I’m so glad you came by too…hope you like it!

  6. Beautiful Pam!! Gives me some great ideas for new reading material!! You do have a unique GIFT inside that loving heart of yours!! Love, Martha

  7. Pingback: Just around a corner…a whisper waits… | Writing… Apples of Gold

  8. Pingback: “Listening Valley”…Another D.E. Stevenson Must-Read | Writing… Apples of Gold

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