The storyline of Miss Buncle’s Book (1934) is a simple one: Barbara Buncle, who is unmarried and perhaps in her late 30s, lives in a small village and writes a novel about it in order to try and supplement her meagre income.
Miss Buncle, now on reduced means, writes a book about the village she lives in. It gets published under the nom du plume “John Smith”, and to her surprise is a publishing sensation, turning her fortunes around.
However, not all of the villagers are happy. Miss Buncle has portrayed them as they are, and some take offence, particularly those who are not portrayed in a particularly good light. (“It’s not me, I’m not like that, but it’s clearly me and I declare it libel!”).
Months are then spent trying to find out who John Smith is and when incorrectly identified, the woman is persecuted, snubbed and her children kidnapped. Meanwhile other more positive outcomes occur as a result of the book – the Colonel and his next door neighbour get married, and the vicar escapes the clutches of a gold digger who thinks he has more money than he does.
So many lives are changed, and Barbara Buncle gets more than she ever imagined…..
A book within a book, within a book, it is a lovely afternoon read, well worth the republish by Persephone in one of their classic grey covers – not like the image above!.