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The Young Clementina Paperback – July 2, 2013
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
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"A good, old fashioned romance, nicely plotted and smartly executed." - Fleur In her World
"The Young Clementina was surprisingly engaging and wonderful." - Christy's Books
About the Author
D.E. Stevenson (1892-1973) 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 United States.
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Top Customer Reviews
For those of you that are Mrs. Tim or Miss Buncle fans, please be warned that this is one of her more serious novels.
Mr. Dean (parson of Hinkleton Church) had two daughters: Char (Charlotte) and Kitty (Clementina). Char, the older, was taught at home by her father and spent her leisure hours reading and playing adventure games with her best friend Garth Wisdon (only child and heir of Mr. Wisdon of the luxurious Hinkleton Manor). Kitty, four years younger, doesn't care for boyish games or reading and was sent away to a boarding school to be "finished." Before Garth goes off to fight in WWI he and Char realize their friendship has grown into love. Char promises to wait for him.
When Garth returns he is not the same--he treats Char cruelly and within two weeks he is engaged to marry Kitty. Char is emotionally crushed and after the wedding and the death of her father she leaves the country to work in London. Meanwhile Kitty and Garth have a daughter who they name Clementina.
Just as Lassie always saved the day near the end of her half hour TV program, we know that somehow, despite many bitter moments, Stevenson will find happiness for Char by the end of the novel.
It's not the very best Stevenson novel I have read but I loved it anyway and darn it I'm giving it 5 stars because I want more of her out of print titles to be e published.
Added afterwards: I notice the publisher is Sourcebooks. This is the same publisher who put all of Georgette Heyer back in print so I have high hopes that we shall have more D.E. Stevenson to delight old fans soon.
Charlotte Dean has had a hard time of it. Both her parents have died. She lost a friend and lover, Garth Wisdon, when he went to war and came back wanting nothing to do with her. Worst of all, he married her empty-headed little sister, Clementina (called Kitty), leaving Charlotte to her job at a bookstore. But when Kitty tramps into Charlotte's house demanding a bed for the night, a whirlwind of deceit, confusion, and heartbreak leaves Charlotte traveling to care for Kitty's daughter - the young Clementina.
To make sense of what's happening to her, Charlotte writes a memoir addressed to her best friend. The fact that said best friend is a woman Charlotte only met once and doesn't even know the name of shows how lonely poor Charlotte is. But how often have you wondered about someone you met in passing, wondered if you and (s)he could become friends, could talk about books you want to read and trips you want to take? I know I have. I thought that made Charlotte all the more interesting and believable.
I loved other things about Charlotte too, of course. I loved her honesty and trust in people's virtue that doesn't quite reach the silly naiveté of her sister Kitty. I loved her sensible outlook on everything (a particularly funny scene is one in which Charlotte is inundated by society people wanting to "make friends," which does nothing but bewilder her). And I loved the way she talked to her niece Clementina, person to person, not adult to child. Clementina herself isn't much of a child anyway, but she's mature and interesting, which is better than childish and adorable.
And the plot was pretty good too. Each event seemed to logically follow the next but wasn't especially predictable. The only exception might be the end, but I was willing to let that slide given my love for the rest of the story. Predictable isn't always bad, and it wasn't here.
I'd like to see what else D. E. Stevenson has written. If it's as good as this, or close, I'll be quite satisfied.