A lot of our New Year’s resolutions focus on money. Saving money is probably the first one that comes to mind but what if your goal was to make more money? How would you go about doing that? When Barbara Buncle realized she needed to make some extra money a few ideas came to her mind… like keeping hens or taking in paying guests. But these ideas didn’t really appeal to her and Dorcas, her maid, definitely did not approve of them. Then Dorcas offers up her own suggestion… Miss Buncle should write a book.
There’s just one problem with this idea though; Miss Buncle “can only write about what I know… At least I can only write about people that I know. I can make them do things, of course.” (page 15) So using her village of Silverstream and its residents as inspiration, Miss Buncle wrote her book under the pseudonym of John Smith. The Disturber of the Peace was a huge success and it didn’t take too long for her neighbors to read it and realize that it sounded very familiar. Mrs. Walker was the first to read it: “As she put on a piece of coal, her mind, freed from the witchery of the printed page, swept back over what she had read. It might be Silverstream, she thought. Copperfield – Silverstream – how queer! And Major Waterfoot is exactly like Colonel Weatherhead, and Mrs. Mildmay might easily be Dorothea Bold -” (pages 43-44)
Needless to say, the book caused quite a stir in Silverstream and many were not pleased with the way they were portrayed. Thoughts quickly turned to who the author really was. “Who on earth could have written this book? Somebody in Silverstream obviously; somebody who knew everybody in Silverstream…” (page 44) Not everyone thought the book was a bad thing though, “‘He’s wakened them all up,’ Sally was saying, “wakened them all up and made them see themselves as others see them.'” (page 98)
While the residents of Silverstream try to figure out who John Smith really is, Miss Buncle is hard at work on the sequel, The Pen Is Mightier… which is bound to cause even more trouble.
Miss Buncle’s Book was my first introduction to D.E. Stevenson and I enjoyed every bit of it! I’ve read several more of her books since and she has become one of my favorite authors. I definitely plan on re-reading this book and the other books in the Miss Buncle series again soon!
Just One More Thing: What first drew me to this book was the cover (I know… I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover). I love what Sourcebooks Landmark did with their reprints of D.E. Stevenson’s books. They are beautiful!
From The Cover: Who Knew One Book Could Cause So Much Chaos? Barbara Buncle 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.
This Edition: Paperback published by Sourcebooks Landmark (2012)
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