Review: Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson
Author: D. E. Stevenson
Title: Miss Buncle’s Book
Release: September 2012
Series: Miss Buncle #1
Purchase: | Book Depository
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?
There are books that leave you shocked, there are books that make you think, there are books that make you sigh with happiness…some books even do all those things. Then there are books that may not leave a long term impression on you, but still, are so very right and perfect for reading at a certain time.
Miss Buncle’s Book is one of these books. That sounds negative but honestly I don’t mean it in a negative way. The last few months have been hectic, ok, out and out crazy would be a better way to describe it. So when I actually had time to read, I found myself turning away from my TBR list and looking towards old favorites that you can reread a million times – often not even reading the whole book, just going back to those favorite chapters and dialogues. Then I remembered I had Miss Buncle’s Book from Netgalley (I also have the soon to be released Miss Buncle Gets Married – the sequel but that’s for a different review).
This book is being re-released (originally published in 1934) and seemed like it would be perfect for my current state of mind, and it was.
Miss Buncle’s Book is a book about a woman writing a book about her neighbors…in this book she is an author…yes, a book within a book within a book. Now, if you think this is because Miss Buncle is clever, you might be right, or it Miss Buncle may simply lack imagination… as she says.
Miss Buncle lives in a sleepy English village, where nothing much ever happens and so the lives of the people around you take on a form of entertainment. And while to any outsider it would seem that nothing is happening in Silverstream, those who reside there know different.
Barbara has been hit by the economic slump, her bills need to be paid and so she came upon the idea of writing a book and since she lacks any imagination, her book focuses on the village of Silverstream and its residents. She changes the name of the village and the people but when her book becomes almost an overnight success, she finds herself in a bit of a pickle – the villagers have read her book, and while they have yet to discover the author (A Mr. Smith) they are out for his blood.
See, Barbara tells it like it is, and not many people in the book have been portrayed in a very flattering way. Now Barbara must find away out of her troubles as her publisher seeks her out to write another book!
In many ways, Miss Buncle plays second fiddle to the rest of the villagers in the story as each chapter follows a villager as they discover the book and their actions in response. Some residents are written in a sympathetic way, others less so, including Miss Buncle herself occasionally.
I read somewhere that this book was described as a “cosy” read and I think that is the perfect word to use for Miss Buncle’s Book. It is a cosy fun lighthearted book where nothing happens and yet everything seems to change. Witty, charming and in spite of the 70 years that have passed since it was first published, relevant even in today’s world. This book was a calm little island in the craziness that my life seems to be right now and it was just what I needed.
This weekend I think I’ll read Miss Buncle gets married…maybe with a cup of cocoa by the fireplace ( read that as: Ice coffee by the A/C)
Happy (Cozy) Reading!