Miss Buncle’s Book By D.E. Stevenson

This book is listed as #81 in the Persephone Books back catalogue.

D.E. Stevenson is all but forgotten today, but independent publishers are keeping her works in print. Stevenson was a Scottish writer who spent most of her life in various parts of Scotland composing her stories. And a fun fact, she was a first cousin to Robert Louis Stevenson.

“Miss Buncle’s Book” takes place in a “cozy” English village called Silverstream where nothing much happens. And Miss Buncle is starting to fall into a penury situation. So she decides to write a book about her fellow villagers. By a quirk of fate it becomes a best seller, and some of her story is becoming true.

The story follows Miss Buncle’s growth as a person and the antics of her fellow villagers. But, what follows the publishing of the book is not all sugar and spice.

Possible spoilers......

Some members of the village are placed in an impossible situation that involves a form of blackmail. This part of the story rose my hackles, for the characters involved didn’t deserve to be trifled with in that way.

The end of the story was very comforting and satisfying. It also sets up the beginning for the sequel, which I plan on reading rather soon.

All in all I enjoyed Stevenson’s writing style. It wasn’t hurried or played down her readers intelligence. Which made this story a fun and delightful book. And now I am more interested in reading more of her stories and learning more about her. Especially if she had interesting exploits with her cousin Robert.

And as always I can be found on goodreads and Litsy as quirkyreader.

Despised And Rejected By Rose Allatini

The lovely people at Persephone Books sent me an ARC to review.

"Despised And Rejected" is often looked over because it was suppressed. And the reason for the suppression was because it was an anti-war novel. If it hadn't been suppressed because of its stance on the war, it could have also been banned because of its other subject matter. Which was the love that mustn't be spoken.

Like with many LGBTIQ novels from the first part of the 20th Century it went "underground" and unnoticed except by avid readers of the genre. In the late 1980's a new edition was published and finally started to get noticed again.

Now, with this new edition from Persephone Books, hopefully it will now join with other classics from the genre such as "The Well of Loneliness" and "The Price of Salt".

Now onto the review.

First off, this story made me cry. The anguish that the main characters, Dennis and Antoinette, went through was heart wrenching. They both knew from an early age that they were different somehow. They did their best to fit in and make it through life, even though they knew there were difficulties going on.

During the story Dennis and Antoinette find each other. They decided that the only way they could lead a "happy" life is with each other. But a series of obsticals appear. The main one is The First World War. Dennis lets his anti-war stance out and he gets persecuted for it from almost every quarter. He leaves home and heads to London to escape his village's views. But, it is here he encounters his girl Antoinette and eventually something else he is trying to suppress.

This story left me emotionally undone. Even though this story is heart wrenching it is well worth the read. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.

As always I can be found on goodreads and litsy.

Young Anne By Dorothy Whipple

I was given an ARC of this story by the lovely people at Persephone Books.

Many of today's modern readers have probably not heard of Dorothy Whipple. During her prime writing years, which were the interwar years, she was very popular. The author J.B. Priestley likened her writing to that of a modern Jane Austen. And this of course was for the 20th Century.

Her years of obscurity are coming to an end. Her work has been reprinted and there have also been recent radio plays. Hopefully these radio plays will come out as audio books.

"Young Anne" was Dorothy Whipple's first published book. And it is also the first DW story that I have read. Now that I have been introduced to this vibrant writer I plan on reading her back catalogue.

Now, onto the review.

This story starts when the character Anne is quite young and it at church with her parents. Anne being a young child is bored and distracted. She is looking around and then sees something that will being a precursor for the rest of her life.

Like many characters from interwar fiction she goes to school and is taught to become more lady like. Then first love happens. After first love comes the First World War. During the War Anne makes herself useful to the Homefront and second love happens.

And it is this second love that picks up the next story line in this book. Anne needs to figure out what her next step in life will be.

I enjoyed DW's writing style and look forward to the rest of the back catalogue.

As always, I can be found on litsy and goodreads.

Open Letter To All The Authors I Read, Both Mainstream And Independent

Thank you for all of the wonderful books that you have written over the years. And thank you for all of the opportunities to read ARC's both in print and eBook form. Due to vision issues I have to cut back on ebooks. So if I unsubscribe my following it is not because of the writing. It is because you currently don't have a format I can read it in.

I can still read paper books and audio. So if you have those formats available for review I can still do those.

Once again thank you for giving me the oppertunity to read your works.

Theresa Dhondup

P.S. Like always I can be found on goodreads and Litsy as quirkyreader.

Forgotten Fiction The Expensive Halo By Josephine Tey

This was another story that Josephine Tey wrote under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot. It was published in 1931 just after her famous story "A Man In The Queue."

This is another lesser known story that passes under the radar because it wasn't one of her mystery stories. It is from the interwar era when many women writers created some of their early work that often gets overlooked.

It deals with class structure and where people fit in. After the First World War the class system was often challenged and questioned. That is especially seen in Jazz Age novels. And this particular story is set in the Jazz Age.

And the question of morals come into play in this story. Should one allow themselves to be a plaything of the higher classes and lose their reputation and self worth. Or stand their ground and keep their morals and reputation intact. It was the question is old fashioned better than modern.

I want to thank the people from Project Gutenberg Australia for transcribing this story on their website. This was another hard book to find.

I have one last Tey/Daviot story to read. It is called "The Privateer".

Always try to make time for a book.

Forgotten Fiction: Kif By Gordon Daviot

This year I have been working on finishing the fiction written by Elizabeth MacKintosh. She wrote under the pseudonyms Gordon Daviot and the very famous Josephine Tey.

"Kif" was one of her first novels written under Gordon Daviot. It was published in 1929 during the inter-war years in England.

The story starts with Kif being a farm boy who loves horses. Then "The Great War" starts. Kif lies about his age and joins up. From there we see how his character develops. He falls into many different groups of friends who influence his future decisions and life choices. And Kif's final outcome is heartbreaking.

I have included "Kif" as Forgotten Fiction because it is very hard to find. When I looked for it on WorldCat.org there weren't any avaible copies in the area where I lived, so I had to do some searching. I found a txt. file on the Australian Project Gutenberg website. Thank you to whomever typed it out and posted it.

I am not sure why this book is never included when Josephine Tey's works get re-printed, but it should be. Granted it is not a mystery story, but is on par with "Miss Pym" and "Brat". And another reason why it needs a new re-printing is because it is an important piece of woman's writing during the inter-war years. All to often those works get looked over. Thanks to publishers like Persephone Books and Source Books for keeping the writers in print.

Try and find this one.

And keep on reading.

Madame Solario By Gladys Huntington

I received an ARC of this book from the lovely people at Persephone Books. It is one of the three tittles being released this fall by their imprint.

A brief history of this book, it was initially published in 1956 under a pseudonym. It was only many years later that her name was attached to the story. Huntington also wrote plays along with her novels. As far as I know this story was last reprinted in the 1980's by Penguin.

Now onto the review.

The first impressions I got of this story were that it combined elements of "Lolita", "Sophie's Choice" and "Mansfield Park". At the time when the book came out, "Lolita" and "Sophie's Choice" still had yet to exist. It is the story of a woman who became the obsession of more than six men. Each of these obsessions caused different forms of strife. It makes you wonder if Madame Solario welcomed there attentions or abhorred them. Was she an attention seeking and vain creature or just a victim of circumstance. Or finally just a plain victim.

This is one of those stories that reamains with you after you finish it. Could the characters done other things to alter their outcomes to make them happier or did some form of narcissism or self importance win out in the end. The European setting of the early 20th Century before The Russian Revolution and World War One also helped to amplify the proceedings of the story.

I would highly recommend this story to readers of Vladimir Nabakov, Leo Tolstoy, Angela Carter, and Margaret Atwood. I hope this edition becomes a big seller in its latest imprint.

Keep on reading everybody.

Forgotten Fiction Frank Belknap Long

Having just finished a spate of H.P. Lovecraft stories I wanted to continue in that vein. So I selected Frank Belknap Long. He wrote under his name and two pen names. One of those being his wife. So if you ever find stories written by Lyda Belknap Long you are reading Frank.

Many of his early stories were part of the Lovecraftian mythos and then he branched out to other genres such as Science Fiction, Gothics, and Westerns. What ever the reading public wanted he wrote. Thus keeping his stories in many magazines for years.

I have yet to read any of his novels, but he is a master at the short story form. I recently read "The Man Who Died Twice", "The Man From Time", "The Man The Martians Made", "Humpty Dumpty", "The Calm Man", "The Sky Trap" and "The Missippi Saucer". From the previous tittles you can tell he liked to use the word man.

I found some of the stories on Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, and the obsolete Munsey's Mobile site. "Humpty Dumpty" took a while to find, but I had sucess in getting it. Many of the stories are out of print, but now that the copyright on some of them has expired we might start to see more. I have a feeling we won't see reprints of the Gothics until at least 2020 when the copyrights start to run out for those.

Frank Belknap Long is an author that needs to be brought back.

Now onto other forgotten fiction that I am reading. The first is Weird Tales Magazine. Volume 24 #3. I am currently into the first story which is by Seabury Quinn. I will try to do a review on the whole issue after I finish it.

The other piece of forgotten fiction is "Madame Solario" by Gladys Hunting. It has recently be re-printed by Persephone Books for their fall releases. The last major re-print of this book was in the 1980's by Penguin. Persephone Books kindly sent me a copy to review and so far I am enjoying it greatly.

So those dusty tomes sitting in the back of a great aunts or grandparents library are worth dusting off and rediscovering.

Keep on reading everybody.

The Crimson Petal And The White By Michel Faber

This was a long and very impressive novel. During my time spent with it, I kept looking forward to reading it. And yes, I would like to read more of Faber's work.

This is a story about a woman named Sugar and the people in her circle. Sugar happens to be a prostitute in Victorian era England who will do anything. But she has a secret. She has educated herself in literature and other subjects of the day. She is a very intelligent woman and that makes her different and special. She meets a man by the name of William that will lead her into a whirlwind.

I am having a bit of a book hangover, but Faber did write some short stories about his characters in a book entitled "The Apple". I will get to that story very soon.

Don't let the legenth of the novel be over daunting. It is a very brilliant story and well worth reading.

Keep on reading everybody. As usual I can be found on goodreads, Litsy, and Open Library.

The Virago Book Of Food.

I like the quality of books that Virago puts out. That said many forgotten authors were mentioned in the book "The Virago Book of Food: The Joy of Eating". There were snippets of writing by authors such as Enid Blyton, Barbara Comyns, Edna Ferber, Rumer Godden, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dorothy Wordsworth.

The food writing in this book featured recipes, journeys to out of the way places to taste regional food, dinner successes, and dinner failures. The writers noted down childhood favourites and hates.

But what made this book for me, was how cooking has evolved over the centuries. A meal that used to take days, such a sumptuous wedding feats would take days, sometimes weeks to complete. Now there are venues with industrial kitchen that can prepare feasts in hours.

A person from the 15th century might get confused and bemused with all the items it now takes to cook something in the 21st century. One or two knives that were probably used in the 15th century are now replaced with five or more in this century. For me living in an Asian household there is the small cleaver and the big cleaver. There is a butcher knife, but I brought that with me as part of my stuff when we set up housekeeping.

This book is an enjoyable time out from the cuisine that is prevalent in the world today.