Miss Buncle’s Book

Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson

When Vivienne at Serendipity mentioned Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson, I just knew that I had to read it! She always finds such interesting books and I just have to add them to my reading list. I am so glad that I discovered Miss Buncle’s Book because I loved it!

Miss Buncle’s Book has a simple story line, yet it’s just brilliant and engaging: Barbara Buncle is unmarried, in her late 30s and lives in a small village called Silverstream. Since she has to face financial struggles, she needs to think of a way to supplement her small income. She even thinks about raising hens, but she doesn’t “care for hens much” and she doesn’t “like touching them”, since “they are such fluttery things”. Therefore, she decides to write a book about Silverstream and its inhabitants.

In her novel, Barbara Buncle describes everything that happens in her little town and depicts the residents exactly as they are. She only changes the name of the village and the names of the inhabitants. Her book is simple, yet funny and well – written, hence it is immediately accepted by Mr. Abbott from Abbott & Spicer Publishers. Mr. Abbott is fascinated by Miss Buncle’s book and hopes that it will be successful. He is also intrigued by Miss Buncle, since she is different from any other woman he has ever met.

Barbara Buncle is an unlikely heroine: she is simple, unfashionable and is ignored by everyone in her village. She is an inconspicuous woman; therefore, she knows Silverstream’s deepest secrets since no one ever seems to notice her and since she is a very good observer. Barbara’s book contains events that have happened in her village and the novel is full of truthful depictions of Silverstream’s residents.

Thus, when the book becomes a best-seller, the residents are outraged because they realize that the book is about them. Since they are pictured with such clarity, the inhabitants feel certain that the author must also live in Silverstream and they are therefore determined to find the “evildoer” and punish him (they are sure that the author is male). The inhabitants arrange meetings in order to find out who wrote the incriminating book, but Barbara Buncle can rest assured, since no one would ever suspect her. Nonetheless, Miss Buncle cannot fully enjoy her success; she may have money now, but she cannot show it, otherwise people might find out about her little secret.

Will Barbara be able to keep her secret safe? And what will happen to her if people find out? Well, you’ll have to read this charming book if you want to know! I recommend this lovely novel to everyone out there, as this is an entertaining book that will make you laugh and forget about everything around you. Miss Buncle’s Book is absorbing and well – written; furthermore, it has a charming and pleasant main character and you will enjoy reading about Miss Buncle’s escapades in Silverstream.

The author draws a fascinating portrait of Silverstream and its residents, giving us a remarkable glimpse into a vanished and exciting world. Miss Buncle’s Book was published in 1934 and was very successful. Between 1923 and 1970, four million copies of D. E. Stevenson’s books were sold in Britain and three million in the States. Most of her books are now out of print, but “American websites eagerly circulate news of any new editions”. Readers seem to rediscover her books as they are attracted by Stevenson’s absorbing stories and I can fully understand why!

I would like to thank Lydia from Persephone Books for sending me a copy of this engaging book!

“Persephone Books reprints neglected classics by C20th (mostly women) writers. Each one in our collection of 83 books is intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written, and most are ideal presents or a good choice for reading groups.”

For more information, please visit Persephone Books.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. savidgereads
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 18:38:41

    From the title alone this sounds like a book that I would well and truly love. I am a huge fan of the Persephone books and think it would be very easy to buy all of them!


  2. vivienne
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 18:46:04

    Fabulous. I am so glad to hear it is as good as I thought it might be. Andreea, you always get to read them before I do! I can’t wait to read it now.


  3. Andreea
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 08:17:52

    Simon: Yes, I think you would love this book! I hope you get the chance to read it and enjoy it as much as I did!

    Vivienne: What can I say? I guess I am lucky to receive these books from publishers, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to read the books before you do:) I hope you’ll read this book, as it’s really wonderful!


  4. Baba
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:49:58

    Sounds like a charming book! I will have to find a copy and add it to my TBR pile. Thanks for the review.


  5. Nymeth
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 19:51:30

    Ooh, this sounds lovely! Another Persephone to add to my list.


  6. Andreea
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 12:37:54

    Baba: It really is a charming book!

    Nymeth: Yes, they have such wonderful books!


  7. Trackback: Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson « Passionate Booklover

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