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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book Review: Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

This is a charming, old fashion tale of characters in an English village.
Miss Buncle's Book
by D.E. Stevenson

  • File Size: 923 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZI00BO
Genre: Novel
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: September 1, 2012

Who Knew One Book Could Cause So Much Chaos?

Barbara Bunde is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara's bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel ... if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out.

To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It's a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Bunde's world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?

A beloved author who has sold more than seven million books, D. E. Stevenson is at her best with Miss Buncle's Book, crafting a highly original and charming tale about what happens when people see themselves through someone else's eyes.

"Love it, love it, love it"

"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."—Reader Review


Miss Buncle is a unremarkable young woman who lives in a quiet little English village.  Times are hard and her small dividends have dwindled so that she doesn’t have enough to cover bills. The only choices she thinks she has are to raise hens or write and sell a book.  She doesn’t know anything about chickens so she writes what she knows – she writes about the people in her village.

The first part of the book describes the day to day life of the village named Copperfield instead of its real name, Silverstream. She portrays the neighbors fairly accurately with foibles and quirks although she does give them different names that play on their true names.  The second half of the book she becomes creative and allows for fantasy to devise a future for several characters.  Miss Buncle submits the book as John Smith and is happily surprised when a publisher agrees to publish it. He doesn’t know if the book is simple or satiric but he found it engaging.

Miss Buncle is thrilled to get an advance and is cheered until her neighbors start to read the book. Some find it charming and laughable but certain ladies in the community become upset by their honest, but not always kind, portrayal.  They gather the neighbors together to try to figure out who the author is so they can chase him down and ‘horse whip’ him.  While she decides whether to reveal that she is the author, Miss Buncle watches as her neighbors begin to do things depicted in the book.

I’m not quite certain what year this is set in -- there are cars and phones -- but the book was originally published in 1936. So it is apparently a cozy, slower village time.  It isn’t a fast read but it is sweet and engaging and I loved some of the phrasing (see quotes below). It is enjoyable to follow the gentle Doctor and his wife, the new Vicar and the women who pursue him; it is fun to watch the cranky, snobbish women who don’t want to recognize who they really are and it is particularly lovely to watch Miss Buncle’s own transformation.

If you like a cozy warm caricature of life, try this sweet, easy story!


Here are examples of the laid back, charming phrases I liked:
“Lawks!” she exclaimed suddenly, looking up at the clock. “Look at the time, and the drawing room to be done yet—I’m behind , like a cow’s tail.”  Location 53.
“Dorcas, I could never give up writing now,” she said, incredulously (nor could she, the vice had got her firmly in its grip, as well ask a morphinomaniac to give up drugs). “You don’t know how exciting it is, Dorcas. It just sweeps you along and you’ve no idea of the time--” Location 2057.
 I received this through NetGalley to review for Sourcebooks.
I will add this to my New Author Challenge List.


  1. I love the setting and time period. Sounds cute!

  2. I loved this one - thought it was so charming.


Your comments are always appreciated!


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