Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Vittoria Cottage" by D.E. Stevenson

"Vittoria Cottage" is the latest book we're reading & discussing together on my online D.E. Stevenson group.  It's a typical DES read -- the literary equivalent of comfort food, or a nice cup of tea.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around Caroline Dering, a 40-something widow, whose life revolves around her three grownup children in post-WWII England. Picking blackberries one day, Caroline meets a mysterious stranger, Robert Shepperton, who has come to stay in the village. Of course she winds up falling in love with him -- but alas, he seems to have fallen for her visiting younger sister, Harriet (and Harriet for him).

Meanwhile, Caroline's son returns home from military service in Malaya, and her spoiled, headstrong older daughter becomes engaged to the son of a prominent local nobleman, against the wishes of both families. It's not much of a plot -- it ends rather abruptly, and in some ways, it's very dated.  I wouldn't say it's the best DES novel I've read, but the characters are well-drawn and endearing, and the writing draws you in to the story. On its own merits, it was enjoyable, and I'm having fun taking part in the online discussions.

While I wasn't entirely satisfied with the abrupt ending, there are two more books about the Dering family we'll be reading & discussing in the months to come:  "Music in the Hills" and "Shoulder the Sky."

ALI note: Caroline assists at a difficult delivery of a premature baby. And she has another sister who has no children. She is mentioned but not seen in this book, but I understand she figures more prominently in the next novel.  Hmmm...

This was book #10 that I've read so far in 2016.


  1. Sometimes, I desperately want "the literary equivalent of comfort food, or a nice cup of tea." I haven't managed to find any DE Stevenson yet - though to be honest I've only looked online. But I do like the idea. I think I'd do some baking before opening the book, to go with my cup of tea when reading it.

    1. I meant to mention that this was the very first book I've tried reading on my new smartphone. ;) I have a Kobo, but I also have the Kindle app on both my phone & laptop. The phone, obviously, is less cumbersome. I prefer my kobo's bigger screen, but this wasn't too bad. There are a few of her titles available only on Kindle, and a few on both Kindle & Kobo. They have been reissuing some in paperback, but sadly, there are still a lot that are out of print -- unless you can pick up a copy in a used bookstore, etc. ;)

  2. I need to start reading these books. Very curious about the mindset on family and love from this era.