Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Saturday, October 6, 2012

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

Many thanks to our book reviewer, Emma Westport, for reviewing D. E. Stevenson's book, Miss Buncle's Book!

About the Book...

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.

Available now from Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781402270826

Emma's Review...

Art shapes reality when an “unimaginative” young woman writes a book about her friends and neighbors.  But what else can Miss Buncle do?  Being “unimaginative,” she must write about what she knows.  And she must write because, with the economy failing, her dividends are not coming in.  How will she pay her bills?

What Miss Buncle lacks in ‘imagination’ she makes up for with her ability to read human nature.   A publisher takes on the book, releasing it under Miss Buncle’s highly  “unimaginative” pseudonym, “John Smith.”  The book quickly becomes a best seller. 

Miss Buncle is delighted.  Her first check—an amazingly unthinkable one hundred pounds—warrants a trip to London, a perm and a lovely new hat.  Life is looking up.

But then her neighbors read the book.  Too many secrets have been revealed.  Some are foolish.  Does Mrs. Carter wear a wig and put pectin in her jam?  Some are heartbreaking.  Will a marriage fall apart because the husband is an abusive fool?   Soon the people in Miss Buncle’s small town are out for blood—John Smith’s blood.  For good or for ill, everyone wants to know—who authored Miss Buncle’s book.
Pour your tea and settle in because, from the opening pages, you’ll be drawn into this small village, set somewhere in England, sometime between the wars.  You’ll probably stay the night.  You’ll definitely want a sweater.  Because this book is hard to put down—and, despite what Miss Buncle may say, it is truly, truly imaginative.

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