Barnes & Noble offers a large selection of classics in the handsome format pictured above. But for most other formerly popular books there is not such an easy fix. It is sad but true, that when an author stops writing new books, the books he/she has already written may be forgotten. They will sit on library shelves for a while without being checked out. Gather some dust. And then be discarded to make room for new books being published. The author might have a sizeable body of work. Some of the books might be absolute gems. But it doesn’t matter, the books will fade from our memory.
D.E. Stevenson is such an author. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1892, she wrote more than 40 books in her lifetime. Her books, mainly light romantic novels, were funny, featured endearing characters, and sold millions of copies both in Britain and the United States. After her death in 1973, her books fell out of print, remembered only by her dedicated fans.
Lucky for us, Sourcebooks, an independent book publisher, has reissued several of D.E. Stevenson’s novels in attractive new editions, including the delightful Miss Buncle series. The books are gentle reads, social comedy in the tradition of Jane Austen. I loved these books, maybe you will too!
This was Stevenson’s most popular novel. The story is set in the fictional village of Silverstream. Barbara Buncle finds she has money troubles; her dividends are shrinking, and it is hard to make ends meet. She decides to write a novel as a means of earning some money. She writes about her village and the people who live in her village (names changed of course). She sends the novel off to a publisher who is intrigued by the book and by Barbara. The novel is a smash hit. The people of Silverstream, recognizing themselves in the novel, are up at arms over the unflattering depictions. Who could have written this evil book? Certainly not Miss Buncle. In the end, the novel becomes a catalyst for change; for the villagers and for Barbara herself.
This is the charming sequel to Miss Buncle’s Book. Barbara is now married to her publisher, Mr. Abbott. Weary of an endless round of bridge parties in their Hampstead neighborhood, Barbara and Arthur decide to move. After a long search, Barbara discovers the perfect house in Wandlebury, a sleepy, picturesque village peopled with quirky, interesting characters.
This is the final book in the series. With two young children to care for, Barbara has little time to keep up with the neighbors. But Jerry Abbott, Barbara and Arthur’s niece, is much involved in the village happenings. With romantic entanglements, German spies hiding in the woods, and more; this is a humorous account of life in World War II England.