2014: 51. - 53. Three More by Stevenson

"Grrh! I'm a bear! I'm a bear, Dorkie!"

The Two Mrs. Abbotts, D.E. Stevenson

After breezing through Miss Buncle's Book and Miss Buncle Married, I decided to go whole hog and get my hand on all the Stevenson I could - they are so sweet and easy to read and enjoyable (and, not to beat a dead horse, but charming).  So this is the last of the Buncle books - though it's barely about Miss Buncle, but rather just about her world.  War is on, and Miss Buncle that was (now Mrs. Abbott) and her nephew's wife that we met in the last book (the other Mrs. Abbott) are living in war time England, and people are having adventures and falling in love and such.  There isn't much plot - we are a long way from Miss Buncle secretly writing a book and shaking up her neighbors, but it's cute as anything.  Honestly, it almost reminds me of tv - we have a main character, and once her story is told we drift out into other stories of her community.  And those stories, while not, perhaps, surprising (I figured out who would marry whom pretty quickly) are goshdarn fun to read about.  

"Matilda Grace was humming the words to herself as she played it on the organ."

The Four Graces, DE Stevenson

This, while not officially a Buncle book, takes place in the same town (and some characters are mentioned), and is basically Buncle-y.  It's about the four Grace sisters, and how they grow up and (at least two of them) fall in love.  My favorite part, though it was far from original, was when their shrewish aunt by marriage showed up, set her hat at their widowed father, and made everyone miserable, but there is lots here to please.  And though the book is pretty slight, the relationships seem real - particularly the interplay between the sisters, and how each fall into certain roles.  And particularly how they need to shake out of those preset roles to find happiness.

"I wonder how a hermit would feel if he had spent twelve years in his cell and were called back to the world to take up the burde of life with its griefs and worries and fears; if he had passed through the fire of rebellion and achieved resignation; if his flesh had been purged by sleepless nights and his mind had found the anodyne of regular daily work."

The Young Clementina, D.E. Stevenson

Now this is a whole nother kettle of fish! It's much more melodramatic and sweeping (as you can tell by the sentence above), and thus, is much more ridiculous.  Where the Buncle books are just charming little comedic snapshots of British life, this is a straight up melodrama, with cheating wives, dramatic divorces, lost lovers and even (SPOILER, OMG SUCH A SPOILER people coming back from the dead).  It's objectively not as good as the Buncle books - sometimes I had to  chuckle at how over the top it was.  But it was a fun read in a trashy goofy sort of way.  I think that  comedy, not high drama was Stevenson's metier, but there is no question I read every single word!

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017