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D.E. Stevenson could be described as a version of Marmite, only a case of 'love her or appalled by her'. I grew up with her books and had read them all by the age of 12 - a long time ago. My favourite was always Celia's House, closely followed by Katherine Wentworth and Katherine's Marriage.
Stevenson writes of a vanished world that was gentler - for some. Class distinctions are still very clear in both attitude and language which some modern readers might find uncomfortable, but that was how the world still was both between the wars, and in this case just after the 2nd World War. The books are of their time and in that context they are stories of kind people with the same struggles as anyone else, particularly about widowhood, children and money worries. Overlaid on that is a gentle love story with a genuinely happy ending.
Lesley Mackie is the perfect narrator for D. E. Stevenson's books. I've heard her read Celia's House and the Amberwell books, and she brings them all to life. I hope they never commission anyone else for any further Stevenson books.
Relax, immerse yourself in the fairly recent past, accept the slower pace - and enjoy it.
Those of you who have already listened to the audiobook of Katherine's Marriage, also read by Lesley Mackie, will know how this book will turn out. For some reason, Audible released the sequel years before the first book in the set! If you are new to the delightful works of D. E. Stevenson, or to this series, please listen to this one first.
Lesley Mackie's soft Scottish accent is perfect for this book, set almost completely in Scotland. The book opens with Katherine enjoying a beautiful early spring day in Edinburgh. The descriptions of Edinburgh at the beginning and of other portions of Scotland later in the book are so delightful that they inspired me to travel there in real life, and see them for myself. The streets and landscapes mentioned are still there, and D. E. Stevenson, with Lesley Mackie's help can transport you there.
Katherine soon meets with her former school friend, Zilla and through her meets Alec. Zilla doesn't value her brother, but soon Alec is becoming a firm friend to Katherine and her children, especially step-son Simon. A summer holiday at a cottage in the Highlands serves as a catalyst that changes the friendship between Katherine and Alec to something more romantic.
But this book is more than a simple "romance". Other plot points are plentiful. This family story is full of characters with real personalities. And, when these delightful people are added to the evocative descriptions of locations, which can transport the listener to Edinburgh, a loch in the Highlands of Scotland or an English estate, the sum total is a wonderful listening experience.
I wait impatiently for more unabridged recordings of the works of D. E. Stevenson.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Heart warming story with perfect narration. I read this many years ago and the story has improved with age and enhanced by listening to it. More Stevenson Please!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful