Saturday, May 12, 2018

"The Musgraves" by D.E. Stevenson

"The Musgraves" is the latest selection from my D.E. Stevenson fan group -- discussions will begin shortly. :)  I procured a yellowing and slightly musty used copy of a paperback edition via the Internet and plunged in. Most Stevenson novels are not a particularly difficult read, and I finished the entire thing -- 256 well-spaced pages of a pocket-sized paperback -- in two nights. It's set in the same village as part of "The Tall Stranger" was, and features a couple of the same characters.

Stevenson's novels are generally short on plot but long on character -- and this is probably one of her slighter novels (that I've read, anyway), plot-wise. The story (first published in 1960 -- and reflecting its era) revolves around Esther Musgrave, a widow with three daughters to worry about. There's Delia, the oldest at 26, prickly and bored. She joins the local drama club and wins a role in its forthcoming production of "The Mulberry Coach."  Middle daughter Margaret is married to the wise and steady Bernard... but something is missing from her happy little home. (Just guess...!!)  And youngest daughter Rose is home from school with no idea of what she wants to do with her life. Their lives are thrown into upheaval when their stepson/stepbrother Walter arrives from South Africa after years of absence -- with a startling proposition for Delia.

It's all a tempest in a teapot -- but it's an easy, gentle, pleasant read, and (surprise!) everyone gets a happy ending. :)  As I've said before, the literary equivalent of comfort food, or perhaps a nice cup of tea.  Three stars on Goodreads. :)

This was book #9 that I've read so far in 2018, bringing me to 38% of my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books.  I am -- for once! ;)  -- AHEAD of schedule to meet my goal!  :)  

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