Monday, April 22, 2019

Miss Buncle Married

Miss Buncle Married. (Miss Buncle #2) D.E. Stevenson. 1936. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "We had better move," said Mr. Abbott casually.

Premise/plot: If you haven't read Miss Buncle's Book, then you should--you really should. This is the second book in the series. Miss Buncle has given up writing--or has she?--and she's settled down with her publisher, Arthur Abbott. The two are newlyweds looking for their dream home. Well, she is the one mostly doing all the hard work. He's left it up to her--mostly. And does she find her dream home? YES. Though it doesn't appear perfectly dreamy and wonderful at first or second glance. Far from it. They are settling in the village of Wandlebury.

Most of the book is about them settling down into the neighborhood and making friends. Sam, Mr. Abbot's nephew, visits a great deal. Could he be falling madly in love with one of the country girls?! Could Miss Buncle be playing matchmaker?!

At one point, Miss Buncle does write again....but will there be a third book published?!

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, LOVED the first book. I really liked the second book. I found the first book to be more entertaining. Miss Buncle had written one book and had it published and was in the process of writing a second book. The village was REACTING to the first book. And it provided hilariously entertaining moments. All of this is missing in the second book. Miss Buncle is still Miss Buncle. But it's mainly just the two meeting their neighbors, socializing, trying to get out of socializing, enjoying cozy evenings together. Sam and Jerry's courtship provides most of the action and even then it isn't a thrilling read. But do books have to be thrilling to be enjoyable? I don't think they do.

  • She might or might not have "an imagination" (Arthur could not be sure of that), but she certainly had an extraordinary power of getting underneath people's skins. Without being conscious of it herself she was able to sum up a person or situation in a few minutes. People's very bones were bare to her--and she had no idea of it. (75)
  • In a new friend we start life anew, for we create a new edition of ourselves and so become, for the time being, a new creature. (152)
  • An author does not consciously create his characters, they come to him readymade with all their characteristics firmly fixed, and the author can do nothing with his character but accept or reject him. He cannot change or modify the personality that has arisen without making him unreal. (236)


Some reviewers seem to be quite disappointed that Miss Buncle is no longer writing. They are upset that she's "given up her career" now that she's married. I am not one of them. I think Barbara writes when she's inspired. I think if she gets inspired, she'll write. But the joy comes for her not in the publication but in the act of writing. She doesn't care if John Smith has another bestseller. She has witnessed the harm that the blunt truth can do to a community. She has no desire to move every single time she publishes a new book. She has found a place to belong, to call home, a place she wants to LIVE. She didn't have that before. But now she has. She doesn't want to disrupt things. She's choosing her personal happiness over "fame" for John Smith. Here's the thing...John Smith isn't real. He was necessary for a time. But now he's not.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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