In name and by birth, Celia was a Dunne. She had inherited the beautiful old family home by the Rydd Water – but was she bound to live her life by the principles of her predecessors? Was there some hidden restraint that compelled her to heed the past? Celia’s house is a moving and poignant story of the struggle between old and young: the older generation anxious to preserve the values they have helped create while their children are determined at all costs to make lives of their own.
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A gentle reminder of the vanished world
It's hard to describe D.E. Stevenson's stories to anyone who hasn't read them themselves. If you find the Joan Hickson / Miss Marple episodes show a long-gone English village life, Ms Stevenson does the same for the borders of Scotland. My beloved Aunts and Great-aunts grew up around the turn of the 19/20th C. These books bring my childhood memories of them back to life. This particular book I discovered around the age of 12 and I still enjoy it. Both Celias, the original and her great-great niece, belong to the house of the title, Dunnian, far more than the house belongs to them. 'Family saga' is a phrase more often associated with descriptions like 'sprawling' and 'tumultuous'. This isn't either, it's a believable family and a gentle story as warm and comforting on a cold night as some of Mrs Drummond's baking fresh from the oven. As another reviewer has said, the story is an homage to Mansfield Park in parts, but that doesn't detract. There are all sorts of audiobooks available, and this is the one for when you want some gentle and comforting unashamed nostalgia.