Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just For Me

I'm still gorging myself on D.E. Stevenson around here. These books are so perfect and simple at the end of the day when I'm tired. Here's what I've read lately:

Summerhills is the sequel to the very wonderful Amberwell, which remains my favorite Stevenson book so far. Summerhills was a good read and I enjoyed finding out what happened to all those familiar characters, as well as some new ones, but this book was not perfect in the way Amberwell was. Summerhills focuses on siblings Nell and Roger Ayrton. Roger decides to open a local school for boys, in part for his own son Stephen who Nell has been raising since the war. The Ayrtons are a few of the single people featured and we get to see how they sort themselves out and couple off. The most curious character in Summerhills is Miss Glassford, nanny to Stephen. Everyone is very surprised by her. She wears pants! And her favorite hobby is running! Early in the morning! They all think her very odd and cannot quite articulate why they simply do not like her or consider her romantically. She is obviously ahead of her time and I felt a little bit bad for her. All ends well for everyone else, though.

Celia's House was written in 1943; what is perhaps most curious about this book is that of course, the war was going on, and while it's definitely in the background here nobody knows what is going to happen. The first Celia is an elderly lady who aggravates her nephew when she decides to leave her estate to another relative, Humphrey Dunne, and his family. She does make a rather unusual stipulation though, as to the future owners of the home. I read this a few weeks ago so I am a little thin on details here. This nice family grows up in the house and the children become successful adults and their is romance and it is all quite nice and enjoyable.

Finally for today, we have Bel Lamington. Bel is slightly different from the usual Stevenson heroines as she begins with a rather sad and lonely existence. She is an orphan who lived with her aunt until adulthood when she died and now Bel is all alone in London, missing the country and working as a secretary to earn her keep. Lots of things happen to Bel in a short time: she meets an artist whom she cares for but who turns out to be a cad, her boss goes out of the country and Bel unexpectedly is fired from her job. This leaves Bel able to accept an invitation to Scotland to join her friend and Bel recuperates there, finds work, and finally true love comes calling.

If you're tired of these old books I've been reading, come back another day as I've read an excellent modern book.


Ti said...

What you said there at the top about these books being so simple, after a long day... man, that sounds good to me.

What book should I start with? I've not read any of them.

Nan said...

Never ever would I be tired of 'these old books!' It is the 'modern' books that so often tire my spirit. :<) Certainly not all of them, but there are lots of topics I don't want to spend time with after a long day, or first thing in the morning. Your reviews have been just wonderful, Tara. I think it is such a reading joy to go through an author's work, one right after the other. I've done it several times. I so hope you have drawn readers to this excellent writer.

Anonymous said...

These books sound so sweet and comforting that I must definitely search them out. Particularly Bel Lamington, as I am drawn to anything that takes place ever partially in Scotland.

Staci said...

I don't get tired of reading about what you've been reading!! These sound lovely and I'm so glad that you get so much enjoyment from them!

Anonymous said...

Well, I finally cracked and started reading Georgette Heyer after years of my mum's recommending them, and they are delightful. So next up: DE Stevenson! :)

Hannah Stoneham said...

Really fascinated about what you say re Celia's House - that the war is happening in the background - it sounds like an interesting read from an historical point of view

thanks for sharing


Mystica said...

I read about this author on another blog and you are saying almost the same thing what was said earlier. That its a lovely read after a tiring day.

Thanks for the review and the introduction again to this author.

Bree said...

Glad you are enjoying your reading. I'm missing your books on food and cooking.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

Oh I'd love to read more DE Stevenson after having read the truly delightful Miss Buncle's Book. Wish these were easier to acquire.

Tara said...

Ti, the only ones currently in print are Miss Buncle's Book and Mrs Tim of the Regiment. Check your library and see what they have. I've especially enjoyed Amberwell, Vittoria Cottage, Bel Lamington, and Blow the Wind Southerly.

Nan, that is what I most hope, too, that more people will seek out these wonderful old books. They are a treasure.

Captive Reader, you're in luck! Many of these books have action that takes place in Scotland!

Staci, that is such a nice thing to say, sort of a cyber-hug =)

Jennysbooks, I guess your mom was right, huh? I hope you like this author!

Hannah, the follow-up to Celia's House, Listening Valley, has even more to do with the war. Boys that are flying off on missions and not coming back, for example.

Mystica, thanks for stopping by. These books are really lovely and have hit the stop for me this year.

Bree, I am sort of missing them too! I've been in a cooking rut lately, cooking the same things, etc. I need my farmers' market inspiration!

Mrs B, check your library! I have had wonderful sucess there and have had many books pulled from the storage area for my amusement.