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Miss Buncle Married Paperback – 6 Nov 2012
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"It was nice to watch Barbara continue to grow and mature. The fact that she finally has some people in her life who acknowledge it and appreciate it is icing on the cake. " - Dear Author
"These books written by Stevenson are easy comfort reads that had me smiling the whole way through. " - The Book Garden
"This book was a lot of fun" - Shelf Love
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The book won't appeal to anyone who likes lots of action and a thrilling storyline. Those of us who prefer to read well-written and happy stories about people we could meet anywhere, doing things we might do ourselves but with more interesting consequences, will enjoy it very much.
This is another light and gentle read, but I found it less engaging than the first book. Apart from the Marvel family next door, this doesn't have the same mix of personalities as previously, and there are places where the book felt quite bland and limp - the first third, for example, where Barbara is house-hunting and decorating.
This reveals its 1930s mindset in both charming ways (Barbara, Arthur and their visitor are all confused, embarrassed and overcome when husband and wife are caught kissing in their own hallway), and less charming (the `lower classes' who are made to speak in ungrammatical English complete with dropped aitches).
There are some moments of high comedy such as the dinner party at the Marvel's but not as many as the first book.
If you like your fiction gentle, calm and pleasant, you may well love this.
At first one fears a little. Miss Buncle is happy, but she is living in Hampstead Heath, going to bridge parties, and being slightly ground down by her husband's efficient but unlikeable staff. But a decision to move house carries her to the charming Wandlebury, a delicious Georgian house of tumbledown charms, and some new, fascinating neighbours for her to mentally anatomise. Will she resist the temptation to turn them into grist for the "new John Smith" as Mr Abbott's publishing colleagues (and the business minded portion of himself) would wish? Will the Big House be left to the right person? Will Barbara succeed in her romantic schemes for two of her new friends? The fascinating answers lie in store ... Rest assured however that in Wandlebury, as in Copperfield/Silverstream, people basically get what they deserve!
I rarely find sequels satisfactory - this one is the pleasant exception which proves the rule; and leaves one longing for Miss Buncle 3 (and yes, there is such a thing!). Next summer, please, Persephone?
The charm of the first book was mainly due to the characters in the village where Miss Buncle lived and the wonderful and ridiculous situations which arose as a result of Miss Buncle writing a book about them. In Miss Buncle Married, Miss Buncle has, as you would expect from the title, got married and moved away from the village she wrote about. Most of the book focuses on Miss Buncle and her new husband and one or two close friends and relations. There's the occasional scene which involves a large group of people and then the book briefly captures the spark of the original, but these scenes occur all too rarely. It's less amusing to read about Miss Buncle and her marriage because Miss Buncle and her husband are nice people and it's therefore much harder to laugh at them. Having said that, this was still a nice, gentle, warm book to read and I hope that Persephone decide to reissue The two Mrs Abbotts which is the third and final Miss Buncle book.
First published in 1936, this book is of a bygone age, where life seemed to be simpler than it is now. A delightful tale of life and odd people that you may have found in a small village of the times, Miss Buncle, Married is a worthy successor to Miss Buncle's Book. Funny, witty, and just jolly good fun.
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