Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson

Still Glides the Stream cover

Still Glides the Stream by the Scottish author D.E. Stevenson was first published in 1959 but my paperback copy is a 1973 reprint.

To begin with the setting is the Scottish Borders where Will Hastie has returned to his childhood home after being away for twelve years. His return is tinged by sadness as Rae his childhood best friend was killed in World War 2 and everywhere Will goes brings back memories for him and makes Rae’s absence all the more sharp.

To make matters worse Rae’s mother is suffering from some form of dementia and she keeps expecting Rae to turn up at any time, she’s constantly talking about him. Rae’s father is a retired colonel and his family home is entailed so he’s obviously worrying about what will happen to his wife and Patty his daughter when he dies as the house and land will then be owned by a cousin.

Like many elderly parents the colonel is keen to see Patty settled so that he doesn’t have to worry about her being left on her own and homeless when he dies, but his anxiety might be leading him and Patty in an unwise direction.

Will begins to feel left out of things and decides to take a walking holiday in France, in the area where Rae had been killed, hoping to track down the farmer that Rae had been billeted with and possibly get some information from him. Rae’s last letter had been rather cryptic.

This was a really enjoyable read and I particularly liked the settings of rural Scotland and the more exotic ambience of the south of France. D.E. Stevenson often gets in a wee nod to her more famous relative Robert Louis Stevenson and she has Will saying that he isn’t travelling with a donkey.

On the back The Bookman says: “Hypnotically readable.”
and from Books and Bookmen Skillfully blends love of people and love of the countryside.”

What do you think of the 1973 cover of this book? I think it’s ghastly, that era must have been a particularly low point for book covers I think.

14 thoughts on “Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson

  1. That is an awful cover, not inviting at all. The book sounds good for the setting. I was just reading about the Mrs. Tim books by this author, have you read any of those?

    • Jennifer,
      It must have been super cheap for them to produce that cover which is so mean of the publisher as these books sold well back in their day.

  2. I completely agree with your assessment of the cover…just awful and not at all consistent with the richness of the story. You can never go wrong with D. E. Stevenson in my opinion. I think I have read them all at least twice and have several on audio.

    • Paula,
      I have a lot of catching up to do, but have a few unread in the house. I might read Five Windows next as so many people seem to love that one.

  3. I had no idea DE Stevenson was related to RLS – I’ve learned something new! Makes me more tempted to give her a try… đŸ˜€ Yes, the cover is awful – was it maybe from a TV adaptation or something?

  4. I was expecting this post to be about “Still Glides the Stream” by Flora Thompson, author of “Lark Rise to Candleford”.
    Her book was published posthumously in 1948 – unusual for two identical titles to be published so (relatively) close in time?

    D.E.S.’ story sounds very readable.

  5. Thanks for this review, Katrina. It IS a nice story, isn’t it. Although I really felt an awful lot of time had passed between the end of the war and Will’s return home.

    Yes, those 1970s photo covers were dire. They seemed to keep using the same greasy-haired, predatory men. Who IS that guy? Definitely not Will.

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