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Miss Buncle's Book [Kindle Edition]

D.E. Stevenson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (501 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Who Knew One Book Could Cause So Much Chaos?

Barbara Bunde 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.

"Love it, love it, love it"

"There are no vampires, no faeries, no weird creatures, just a sweet story about real people living in a world I've always dreamed of."-Reader Review

Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews


    "Delightful, charming, warm, cosy – those are the type of words I would use to describe Miss Buncle's Book. " - She Reads Novels

    " It is a sweet story that I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys light, cozy reads.

    " - The Book Garden

    "Recommended as a cosy, comfortable and old-fashioned read.

    " - Good Reading Guide

    "I smiled, I giggled, I laughed out loud, I tsk'd tsk'd at some of the characters' antics but most of all I loved the book! I can't wait to read another" - Pudgy Penguin Perusals

    "People who enjoy the humor of The Help by Kathryn Stockett or those who enjoy a look at a small town community, such as that in the much older Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, may also enjoy this book." - Rebecca Reads

    " This vintage book, which was written in the 1930's, is an absolute charmer, like its main character. " - book addiction

    "I highly recommend this for readers of sweet romances. But I also recommend it for those who would like a change of pace, are looking for something light and amusing, or find appealing the promise of a book that has the charm of vintage photographs and the comfort of a hug. " - Just Janga

    "This was my first story by D.E. Stevenson and I wasn't disappointed. This story goes to show that real life can be mirrored from a story and become art. " - Luxury Reading

    "Miss Buncle's Book is total escapism. Sometimes that's just what you're looking for.

    " - Alex In Leeds

    "Miss Buncle's Book is a light-hearted, very English cosy type of story with a lovely old-fashioned feel to it ..... just right for those times you need to take a break from serious reading or want only to put your feet up with a cup of tea and relax.
    " - Tell Me a Story

    "If you like "Miss Pettigrew" or gentle books about bygone times which were actually written in those times and which take their time to set up the action, then this might be for you. Watch as Barbara Buncle blossoms and finds within herself the strength that's always been there, just waiting for its chance. RECOMMENDED READ " - Dear Author

    "If you want to read a cute/funny, charmingly delightful book, pick up Miss Buncle's Book and devote an afternoon to reading. You will finish this book in that afternoon!" - Book Lovers Paradise

    "Thoroughly pleasant" - Shelf Love

    "Pour your tea and settle in because, from the opening pages, you'll be drawn into this small village, set somewhere in England, sometime between the wars. You'll probably stay the night. You'll definitely want a sweater. Because this book is hard to put down-and, despite what Miss Buncle may say, it is truly, truly imaginative." - History Undressed

    "If you like a cozy warm caricature of life, try this sweet, easy story!" - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

    "If you own this one and haven't yet read it (Darlene I am looking at you), it is time to take it off the shelf and get to it. " - My Porch

    "I read somewhere that this book was described as a "cosy" read and I think that is the perfect word to use for Miss Buncle's Book. It is a cosy fun lighthearted book where nothing happens and yet everything seems to change. " - Paperback Dolls

    "Hopefully these new editions will open Stevenson's books to a whole new audience. They deserve it! " - A Lovely Shore Breeze

    "I stayed up until 1 am reading this one because I couldn't stand to put it down, not because it was so gripping but because it was so irresistibly funny and I had to know what was going to become of all of them." - Glass of Fancy

    Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

    Chapter One
    Breakfast Rolls

    One fine summer's morning the sun peeped over the hills and looked down upon the valley of Silverstream. It was so early that there was really very little for him to see except the cows belonging to Twelve-Trees Farm in the meadows by the river. They were going slowly up to the farm to be milked. Their shadows were still quite black, weird, and ungainly, like pictures of prehistoric monsters moving over the lush grass. The farm stirred and a slow spiral of smoke rose from the kitchen chimney.

    In the village of Silverstream (which lay further down the valley) the bakery woke up first, for there were the breakfast rolls to be made and baked. Mrs. Goldsmith saw to the details of the bakery herself and prided herself upon the punctuality of her deliveries. She bustled round, wakening her daughters with small ceremony, kneading the dough for the rolls, directing the stoking of the ovens, and listening with one ear for the arrival of Tommy Hobday who delivered the rolls to Silverstream before he went to school.

    Tommy had been late once or twice lately; she had informed his mother that if he were late again she would have to find another boy. She did not think Tommy would be late again, but, if he were, she must try and find another boy, it was so important for the rolls to be out early. Colonel Weatherhead (retired) was one of her best customers and he was an early breakfaster. He lived in a gray stone house down near the bridge-The Bridge House-just opposite to Mrs. Bold at Cozy Neuk. Mrs. Bold was a widow. She had nothing to drag her out of bed in the morning, and, therefore, like a sensible woman, she breakfasted late. It was inconvenient from the point of view of breakfast rolls that two such near neighbors should want their rolls at different hours. Then, at the other end of the village, there was the Vicar. Quite new, he was, and addicted to early services on the birthdays of Saints. Not only the usual Saints that everybody knew about, but all sorts of strange Saints that nobody in Silverstream had ever heard of before; so you never knew when the Vicarage would be early astir. In Mr. Dunn's time it used to slumber peacefully until its rolls arrived, but now, instead of being the last house on Tommy's list, it had to be moved up quite near the top. Very awkward it was, because that end of the village, where the old gray sixteenth-century church rested so peacefully among the tombstones, had been all late breakfasters and therefore safe to be left until the end of Tommy's round. Miss Buncle, at Tanglewood Cottage, for instance, had breakfast at nine o'clock, and old Mrs. Carter and the Bulmers were all late.

    The hill was a problem too, for there were six houses on the hill and in them dwelt Mrs. Featherstone Hogg (there was a Mr. Featherstone Hogg too, of course, but he didn't count, nobody ever thought of him except as Mrs. Featherstone Hogg's husband) and Mrs. Greensleeves, and Mr. Snowdon and his two daughters, and two officers from the camp, Captain Sandeman and Major Shearer, and Mrs. Dick who took in gentlemen paying guests, all clamoring for their rolls early-except, of course, Mrs. Greensleeves, who breakfasted in bed about ten o'clock, if what Milly Spikes said could be believed.

    Mrs. Goldsmith shoved her trays of neatly made rolls into the oven and turned down her sleeves thoughtfully. Now if only the Vicar lived on the hill, and Mrs. Greensleeves in the Vicarage, how much easier it would be! The whole of the hill would be early, and Church End would be all late. No need then to buy a bicycle for Tommy. As it was, something must be done, either a bicycle or an extra boy-and boys were such a nuisance.

    Miss King and Miss Pretty dwelt in the High Street next door to Dr. Walker in an old house behind high stone walls. They had nine o'clock breakfast, of course, being ladies of leisure, but the rest of the High Street was early. Pursuing her previous thoughts, and slackening her activities a little, now that the rolls were safely in the oven, Mrs. Goldsmith moved the ladies into the Colonel's house by the bridge, and the gallant Colonel, with all his goods and chattels, was dumped into Durward Lodge next door to Dr. Walker.

    These pleasant dreams were interrupted by the noisy entrance of Tommy and his baskets. No time for dreams now.

    "Is this early enough for you?" he inquired. "Not ready yet? Dear me! I've been up for hours, I 'ave."

    "Less of your cheek, Tommy Hobday," replied Mrs. Goldsmith firmly.


    At this very moment an alarm clock started to vibrate furiously in Tanglewood Cottage. The clock was in the maid's bedroom, of course. Dorcas turned over sleepily and stretched out one hand to still its clamor. Drat the thing, she felt as if she had only just got into bed. How short the nights were! She sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed and rubbed her eyes. Her feet found a pair of ancient bedroom slippers-which had once belonged to Miss Buncle-and she was soon shuffling about the room and splashing her face in the small basin which stood in the corner in a three-corner-shaped washstand with a hole in the middle. Dorcas was so used to all this that she did it without properly waking up. In fact it was not until she had shuffled down to the kitchen, boiled the kettle over the gas ring, and made herself a pot of tea that she could be said to be properly awake. This was the best cup of the day and she lingered over it, feeling somewhat guilty at wasting the precious moments, but enjoying it all the more for that.

    Dorcas had been at Tanglewood Cottage for more years than she cared to count; ever since Miss Buncle had been a small fat child in a basket-work pram. First of all she had been the small, fat child's nurse, and then her maid. Then Mrs. Buncle's parlor maid left and Dorcas had taken on the job; sometimes, in domestic upheavals, she had found herself in the role of cook. Time passed, and Mr. and Mrs. Buncle departed full of years to a better land and Dorcas-who was now practically one of the family-stayed on with Miss Buncle-no longer a fat child-as cook, maid, and parlor maid combined. She was now a small, wizened old woman with bright beady eyes, but in spite of her advancing years she was strong and able for more work than many a young girl in her teens.

    "Lawks!" she exclaimed suddenly, looking up at the clock. "Look at the time, and the drawing-room to be done yet-I'm all behind, like a cow's tail."

    She whisked the tea things into the sink and bustled round the kitchen putting things to rights, then, seizing the broom and the dusters out of the housemaid's cupboards, she rushed into Miss Buncle's drawing-room like a small but extremely violent tornado.

    Breakfast was all ready on the dining-room table when Miss Buncle came down at nine o'clock precisely. The rolls had come, and the postman was handing in the letters at the front door. Miss Buncle pounced upon the letters eagerly; most of them were circulars but there was one long thin envelope with a London postmark addressed to "John Smith, Esq." Miss Buncle had been expecting a communication for John Smith for several weeks, but now that it had come she was almost afraid to open it. She turned it over in her hands waiting until Dorcas had finished fussing round the breakfast table.

    Dorcas was interested in the letter, but she realized that Miss Buncle was waiting for her to depart, so at last she departed reluctantly. Miss Buncle tore it open and spread it out. Her hands were shaking so that she could scarcely read it.



    Brummel Street,

    London EC4

    -th July.

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I have read Chronicles of an English Village and am interested in it. Could you call at my office on Wednesday morning at twelve o'clock? If this is not convenient to you I should be glad if you will suggest a suitable day.

    Yours faithfully,

    A. Abbott

    "Goodness!" exclaimed Miss Buncle aloud. "They are going to take it."

    She rushed into the kitchen to tell Dorcas the amazing news.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 1415 KB
    • Print Length: 305 pages
    • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 1, 2012)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B007ZI00BO
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,315 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.5 out of 5 stars
    4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Barbara Buncle does. She is a middle-aged spinster who lives in a small town in England during the 50's. She's struggling to make ends meet. She has kept a diary all her life, and she decides to put her diary into the form of a novel. All the events of the town are in her novel exactly as they happened; she just changes the names of the characters. After she has gone to all that work, she sends the book to a publisher on a whim. She never really thought the publisher who reads it would love it! He prints it, and it becomes a best seller! However, the entire village recognizes that someone in the town has written about them. They recognize all the people and events of the last thirty years. As you can imagine the "nice" people of the town just love the book, but all the "not-so-nice" are enraged to be pictured with such clarity. Everybody is trying to figure out who wrote the book. Barbara has always been a bit of a wall flower, so no one imagines for a moment that the authoress is Barbara Buncle. Poor Barbara now has money, but cannot show she has money because then everybody will know she wrote the book. If you have not read this, you simply must! It will make you laugh! It's good, clean, innocent fun! Miss Buncle Married is the second book, which is when she moves and begins to write about her new set of people. The third book in the Buncle series is The Two Mrs. Abbots.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A 'MODERN' JANE AUSTEN - COMEDY OF MANNERS February 2, 2006
    I've loved this book for years and have ready it many times. If you like Jane Austen, Rosamunde Pilcher, Jan Karon, Miss Read, etc., you will like D.E. Stevenson.

    Miss Buncle's book is the first of a series of 3 - Miss Buncle's Book, Miss Buncle Married - further adventures of the noted authoress, and the Two Mrs. Abbotts. Contrary to what a couple of reviewers have written, the book is set in PRE World War 2 England during the late 1920s /early 1930s. [It was first published in London in 1931]. Book 3 is set during WWII.

    Miss Buncle's book is a book about a woman who wrote a book about a woman who wrote a book. As Miss Buncle admits to her publisher, she can only write about people she knows because she has no imagination. So, naturally she drew her characters from her fellow villagers. Of course, she never expected her book to be a runaway best seller, or any of her neighbors to read it.

    What happens when the villager's attempt to discover the identify of "John Smith", and how Disturber of Peace impacts Barbara's life, makes for delightfull reading.
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    31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favorite book! August 7, 2009
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I don't know who to thank for bringing this back into publication, but I can thank Amazon from the bottom of my heart for making it available! Truth is, I was close to buying an old, tattered copy on ebay for $75 or more, just to own a copy of this book. And now I have my very own brand new, crisp, clean copy - all mine! Whenever I want! I read a copy years ago, and I've borrowed it from my local library several times over the years, but it was just never enough. This brilliant story of a woman who writes a book about the people in her town to make an income, which results in stirring up trouble from the town's inhabitants, is a delight from start to finish. Very easy to read, very light hearted and funny. And this edition is such a nice, sturdy softcover with a dust cover over it! I am so pleased, I just can't wait to delve into it! Couldn't be more pleased.
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    28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    This book is very amusing but also a comfortable read...a comedy of manners set in post WW II England. There is also a sequel which I enjoyed almost as much. Looking for deep thought? Don't read this. Looking for a cosy companion? This is a good one!
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    22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Truth is stranger than fiction November 17, 2009
    Miss Buncle is a pretty average, middle age woman living in an English country village. One day, she decides to write a novel about Silverstream, the village she lives in. The books is published, and instantly becomes a bestseller--with adverse effects in Silverstream, for its inhabitants are furious that someone has dared to write about--caricature--their lives.

    This is an extremely funny book, poking fun at the provincialism of the average English country village in the 1930s. The characters are a howl: Mrs. Featherstone Hogg, who of all the inhabitants of the village is the most enraged; Mr. Hathaway the vicar; Mrs. Greensleeves, the widow who only chases after the vicar because she thinks he has money; Miss King and Miss Pretty; Colonel Weatherhead, the town's confirmed bachelor; and others, including Doctor Walker and his wife, and Sally Carter, who seem to be the only people not offended by Disturber of the Peace (sounds like the title of a mystery, but no matter). Miss Buncle's descriptions of her characters are somewhat cruel, but truthful nonetheless. This novel is hysterically funny as well--I had stitches in my side by the time I got to the description of the film that Mr. Abbott and Miss Buncle go to see.

    It's claimed over and over again that Miss Buncle is a simple creature; but maybe she really does know what she's doing all along? I think she's a lot smarter than a lot of people, including Miss Buncle herself, give her credit for. As events unfold, and life imitates art, so to speak, it becomes clear that truth really is stranger than fiction.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars not really the best of the
    o.k. not really the best of the genre
    Published 1 day ago by Bill
    1.0 out of 5 stars Could not finish
    Normally, I read everything I buy - if I spent money on it, I like to at least see it through to the end. This is first time in years that I've given up on a book. Read more
    Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Absolutely delightful book from the period of early 20th century.
    Published 7 days ago by Kiddie Lit Grandma
    4.0 out of 5 stars Cute old fashioned story
    I enjoyed this book as it was a little different from the ordinary today, because it was written in the 40's. It is a good clean read, nothing offensive and the story was cute. Read more
    Published 7 days ago by preschoolteacher
    5.0 out of 5 stars Just adorable!
    A sweet tale with such charming characters. A touch of Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey. And so funny to boot!
    Published 17 days ago by Cindi
    5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this immensely
    What a clever, darling, lovely, little novel. I enjoyed this immensely. The characters have a lively depth and wit, and I laughed many times at their antics. Read more
    Published 19 days ago by empress8411
    5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, timeless series
    Light, wholesome and entertaining is how I would describe this book. Although simple, it pulls you in. It's a refreshing read!
    Published 22 days ago by Katie Sharp
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Very enjoyable and well written novel definitely s good one
    Published 26 days ago by fb
    4.0 out of 5 stars I like her low key gentle style
    Through the years I have read many of D E Stevenson"s books.. I like her low key gentle style. This one was new to me.It was nice to read a new(to me) book from this author.
    Published 27 days ago by Kindle Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book
    Very entertaining tale of a spinster who writes a book out of financial need, only to find herself under condemnation from all of her community, although they do not realize she is... Read more
    Published 28 days ago by Connie White
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