The Two Mrs Abbots by D.E. Stevenson

 The Two Mrs Abbots cover

The Two Mrs Abbots by D.E. Stevenson was first published in 1943 and my copy is an original hardbak, sadly minus the dustcover. It’s the third book featuring Barbara Buncle although she is now of course Barbara Abbot as she’s now married to her editor Arthur and they have two small children, a boy and girl. Barbara is kept busy as a mother, wife and with various war work that she’s involved with, so she has given up her writing for the duration. She’s also the type of person that ends up helping everyone else and giving them her time, and often gets little thanks in return. I think a lot of women will recognise the situations she finds herself in with selfish individuals around her. As you would expect there’s the usual trouble about rationing and evacuees although it’s not the children who are a problem but the mother.

The other Mrs Abbott is Jeronina, usually known as Jerry (a blight on her considering who the enemy is in WW2). She’s married to Arthur’s nephew who is in the army doing his bit in Egypt (possibly). She’s not alone though as Markie her old governess is living with her, and they’ve also had a whole battalion of soldiers billeted on them.

D.E. Stevenson was of course Scottish and if she didn’t set her books in Scotland she often had some Scottish characters in the book. In this one Markie is from Fife and she’s thrilled to discover that one of the soldiers is also a Fifer, well they are very clanish!

There are various stories in this one, quite a lot of characters, one being a young female writer of romances that are very popular but not the sort of thing that Barbara and Jerry are impressed with. I’m wondering who it was that D.E. Stevenson was thinking of when she wrote that character!

There’s plenty of wit and charm as you would expect but this one isn’t as funny as Miss Buncle’s Book, it’s still well worth reading though.

4 thoughts on “The Two Mrs Abbots by D.E. Stevenson

  1. Thanks, Katrina, for reminding me of this delightful book. It’s been a long time since I read the books about Barbara Buncle. Love the cover on yours….her books are getting harder to come by in the US.

    • Paula,
      I find her books quite hard to find here too, but I did very well last month and got several old ones including this one from a charity shop.

  2. The Two Mrs. Abbotts is one of my favourite of DES’s books. It impresses me how most of her wartime books were written during the war, when the day to day dangers, fears and privations were close to hand, and no one knew what the outcome would be.

    • Susan D,
      I think my favourites are often her books that have a Scottish setting (so parochial of me!). I read a lot of books that were written in wartime, usually domestic fiction, particularly Angela Thirkell and I often wish I could say to them – don’t worry, it’s all going to be all right. I do think reading such books at the time must have helped to keep people sane.

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