Monday, March 02, 2009

Mrs. Tim News

In August, Bloomsbury will reissue D. E. Stevenson's charming Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, the first novel in the out-of-print Mrs. Tim quartet. It is one of the launch titles of Bloomsbury's new reprint library, the Bloomsbury Group. I raved about Mrs. Tim last fall when I found it at the library - it is one of those books you can't help but laugh aloud over, even if you wake up your spouse while reading in bed - and if you're apprehensive about the prospect of militaristic overtones, the breezy Mrs. Tim of the Regiment has none. The intelligent, witty Hester records her daily life in a gossipy diary, which is loosely based on D. E. Stevenon's own diaries. Published at approximately the same time as The Provincial Lady, the narrative is to my mind much more fleshed-out and amusing. But it's safe to say that if you like The Provincial Lady - and even if you don't like The Provincial Lady - you'll like Mrs. Tim, because she is frankly less dry and snobbish. I can't wait to acquire it: when I looked last fall, the prices were too high, though they might have come down since. Remember last summer when the Virago edition of Rachel Ferguson's The Brontes Went to Woolworths was selling at the scandalous price of $50? So was Mrs. Tim. (And, by the way, The Brontes Went to Woolworths is another of the Bloomsbury Group titles, so we can also buy that in an affordable edition).

Here is the link to Bloomsbury's Mrs. Tim page:

And here is the link to my review:


Anonymous said...

I am glad that DE Stevenson's books are back. I have recently bought and read with delight "Miss Buncle's Book" edited by Persephone Books and tried to find more books by this author. They do exist in second-hand online bookshops but their prices are out of one's reach. Therefore I am happy to see that some printing houses are willing to risk a revival of these 1920-1950 novels which I find more and more relevant as we plunge a little more every day in the economic crisis that looks so much like the 1929 recession.

Mad Housewife said...

Laura, I love what you say about the economic crisis and the relevance of 1920-1950 books. It hadn't occurred to me, but you're so right. And perhaps the reprint publishers will encourage bookstores to expand their backlist. I'm always fuming about that.

I enjoyed Miss Buncle's Book. I scan the Persephone website periodically and find out about so many good books that way.

But the two Miss Buncle books and the Mrs. Tim books are the only ones I've read. I preferred Mrs. Tim, possibly because I read her first. Stevenson wrote so much - and our library has so little. It is a little overwhelming to have to choose titles at random, though perhaps if one likes a few of her books one likes all. (This has happened to me often!)


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