Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson, published in 1937, is a charming small town novel about Barbara Buncle, who needs money to continue to support herself and her former nanny. After considering raising hens, she instead writes a novel about her charming small town that hews too closely to the real lives of her neighbors, despite her introduction of a magical plot element that changes her characters’ lives. Once the book is published and becomes popular because of its compulsive readability, many people in her village recognize themselves in the fiction, and realize they want more from their lives, some becoming more like their fictional reflections. But none realize the author of Disturber of the Peace, “John Smith,” is their own shy, middle-aged Miss Buncle.
I wouldn’t have normally picked this book up, but I enjoyed the humorous commentary on publishing, popular literature, and village life as well as the lowkey romance between Barbara and her publisher. It’s definitely a book for long, quiet evenings and cups of tea.