So it seems I may be starting my very own private Persephone Reading Week here, as I just finished Miss Buncle’s Book this evening! I’ve got it plus To Bed With Grand Music and The Victorian Chaise-Longue, both by Marghanita Laski, all on inter-library loans, ordered during the official Persephone Reading Week at the beginning of May and I need to return them soon, so I’ve been busy reading and laughing excessively.
Somehow Miss Buncle’s Book (by D.E. Stevenson, her novel Mrs. Tim of the Regiment has recently been republished by the Bloomsbury Group too, so I’ll need to get myself a copy) is even more adorable than Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, at least to me! I want to give it a hug and we can become best pals and braid each other’s hair (and I’d better stop before I get too carried away on that note!) In some ways it’s similar to Miss Pettigrew, both feature older women who have to earn their living somehow, but Miss Barbara Buncle decides to write a book about all the people in her country village and she’s naive enough to capture their faults down to a hair and enrage a good half of them utterly. It’s delightful seeing the good changes that happen in the village as a result of her book and how everyone tries to figure out just who wrote about them.
It is absolutely refreshing to read a book with at least half the characters being genuinely nice, good people (the other half are amusingly and increasingly out of control in meanness) and with a few small gentle romances that are quiet and unsentimental. It’s adorable, it has fresh country air about it, old men say “hurrah!” in it (and how often does that happen, really?) and my library has the next book, Miss Buncle Married. Hurrah, as they say! I wish I had my own dove grey copy of it, but in the meantime, library copies are lovely. I’m not sure if quotes will really capture the magic of it, there are late night reading sessions in old leather armchairs next to crackling fires and grey tweeds are worn by breathless young girls and there are autumn bonfires and daffodils in spring and oh just read it, it’s the perfect cup of tea for what ails you.