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Miss Buncle's Book [Paperback]

D. E. Stevenson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781402270826
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402270826
  • ASIN: 1402270828
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The storyline of Miss Buncle's Book (1934) is a simple one: Barbara Buncle, who is unmarried and perhaps in her late 30s, lives in a small village and writes a novel about it in order to try and supplement her meagre income. This is a light-hearted, easy read, one of those books like Mariana, Miss Pettigrew, The Making of a Marchioness and Greenery Street which can be recommended unreservedly to anyone looking for something undemanding, fun and absorbing that is also well-written and intelligent. DE Stevenson had an enormously successful writing career: between 1923 and 1970, four million copies of her books were sold in Britain and three million in the States. Like EF Benson, Ann Bridge, O Douglas or Dorothy L Sayers (to name but a few) her books are funny, intensely readable, engaging and dependable. Miss Buncle's Book was the most popular of her novels because it has a completely original plot and a charming and delightful central character. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done Miss Buncle 5 Dec 2008
This book is a sheer delight. D E Stevenson's style is fluent and witty, and congratulations are due to Persephone for re-publishing this forgotten book.
Miss Buncle publishes a book using a pseudonym, and features her neighbours as characters, changing their names but not their temperaments so they are still, in fact, recognisable. The neighbours resent the way they are represented and strive to find out who is the author.
Pacey and funny, this is an excellent read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Buncle's Book 10 Jun 2009
This is a delightful story of village intrigue, based on thoroughly believable characters in a pre-war setting. I have only recently read this, having first come across it when it was read on "Woman's Hour2 in the 1950's and it has stood the test of time. It is a gentle read, but leads one to want to read its sequel - still, apparently, out of print! I would recommend this for those who seek refreshment from the sometimes harsh reality reading typical of today.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read for cosy evenings. 3 Oct 2009
Miss Buncle's book is a wonderful light read; full of humour, wit and charm! The story of a book within in a book sounds confusing but makes absolute sense once you get into it. This heart-warming novel is the literary equivalent of a comforting cup of cocoa on a cosy winters evening- I can't recommend it highly enough! I love all of the Persephone classics that I've read so far and this is no exception. The classy grey covers, neat binding and beautiful inside cover designs gives these books a super high quality feel. Well done to Persephone for bringing us these forgotten classics!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic present 15 Jan 2010
I have to admit to never having written a review for Amazon before, but have been forced into it by reading this delightful, witty and captivating read. I was given "Miss Buncle's Book" as a birthday present by a friend who said it was the book which she had re-read more than any other. I devoured it in one sitting - unheard of for me. I have given copies to all my discerning friends for Christmas and so far have had rave reviews from all of them. It's far too good a book to keep to yourself.Miss Buncle's Book
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime 7 May 2009
Sublimly written tale of village life in the 1930's, amusing and gentle story of Miss Buncle who writes of a parallel village to make an income, with surprising and, in once case, terifying consequences!
Read from start to finish in two sittings, one of Persephone's best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, brilliant Miss Buncle 2 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have only just discovered the author D E Stevenson, although I do remember reading Anna and her Daughters many, many years ago. I re-read it recently and then bought Miss Buncle's Book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Miss Buncle is struggling to make ends meet in the 1930s as her dividends dwindle so she writes a book, using a pseudonym which is accepted by a publisher and becomes a best seller. However, the book she has written includes all her neighbours and their foibles and personalities and although their names have been changed they are instantly recognisable. A huge furore follows.
The book is beautifully written, very funny with a sometimes sly wit and the author is clearly someone who had tremendous powers of observation. The good news is that Persephone is about to republish the sequel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection 14 July 2013
I am a big fan of Persephone Books. They currently publish 102 titles, books that should have been classics yet have been overlooked. The books themselves are classically beautiful, understated dove grey covers with a cream title box and discreet Persephone logo. However, you open up and see beautiful endpapers, in the case of Miss Buncle's Book a 1934 design by Vanessa Bell. Persephone books also come with a bookmark to match the endpapers, a fabulous idea (and you really won't want to bend back the corners of the pages of a Persephone book, so much needed). Another feature of Persephone books which appeals to me is the layout on the page-rather than cramming as many words as possible onto each one, pages are set out with wide borders which makes them easy to read. The materials used by Persephone are high quality, making each book a delight to behold.

Of course, this would all be irrelevant if the novels themselves were poor quality. However, I'm yet to be disappointed by a Persephone book. Some are more accessible than others, but all the titles I have read have been engaging.

Miss Buncle's Book is extremely readable. The plot is simple- Barbara Buncle has written a novel under the pseudonym John Smith. The characters in her novel are all based on residents of Buncle's village, Silverstream. When the book becomes a success, uproar ensues. The villagers recognise themselves in the book and are determined to uncover the identity of the mysterious John Smith.

Stevenson's writing style is perfect-not too verbose to distance the reader, yet detailed, charming and classical. Much of Miss Buncle's Book focuses on the banal, day-to-day life of an average British village in the 1930s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful escapism 16 Sep 2011
This is the first D E Stevenson book I have read and I found it utterly enchanting, very amusing, and all in all a pure delight. Miss Buncle Married is the next D E Stevenson book on my reading list. Miss Buncle is a very plain looking, mousy person who decides to write a novel set in a village with a set of diverse characters. What it turns out to be is a thinly disguised story of her own village and the people she encounters in it. When it is published many of those who read it become in turn angry, and paranoid and determined to find out who the author is and get the book taken out of circulation. If you want a good chuckle then read this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Miss Buncle's Book
I'm only sorry it has taken me until now to `discover' this author, as I suspect there are many gems and delights still to come for me, after having read this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Keen Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple delight
A delightful evocation of Engish village life in the1930s - which makes it all the more surprising that the writer was a Scot. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dr I Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Period romance
What an enjoyable read. Simple stuff probably in the 'Womens Weekly' in its day! I bet it flew off the library shelves back in the day.
Published 18 months ago by Miffy
2.0 out of 5 stars Very bland
I read this book as my local book club choice for November and I was very disappointed. It was originally published in the 1930s and it seemed really dated. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mrs. A. J. Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Midsomer Murmurs
"The past is a foreign country..." In Miss Buncle's Book, set in the 1930s, the past is not so much a foreign country as a whole other world. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sue Kichenside
5.0 out of 5 stars A total pleasure from start to finish
This is an absolutely wonderful book. It is light and silly and charming and everything you would want for a totally escapist read. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars Cosy read set in a 1930s English village
First published in 1934, this is a charmingly old-fashioned read full of wit and delight. When mild spinster, Miss Buncle, decides to write a book and takes her neighbours for... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful character novel
Barbara Buncle is a middle aged spinster who has been forced by reduced circumstances to seek additional income and so has written a novel based on the village in which she lives... Read more
Published on 16 May 2011 by Katie Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly wonderful!
I am a huge fan of Persephone books. Each one is a joy to read. Miss Buncle's book is no different. It made me smile from the first page to the last and I positively could not stop... Read more
Published on 5 May 2011 by Ava
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites
I love D.E. Stevenson and this is one of my favourites. I particularly enjoy the humour and characterisation of this gentle novel.
Published on 20 Mar 2011 by S. Milburn
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