D. E. Stevenson

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D. E. Stevenson, date unknown

Dorothy Emily Stevenson (1892–1973) was a best-selling Scottish author. She published more than 40 "light romantic novels"[1] over a span of more than 40 years.

Life[edit]

Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1892. Her father was David Alan Stevenson, a lighthouse engineer and first cousin to author Robert Louis Stevenson. A commemorative plaque marking the house where she was born was mounted in 2016.[2] She began writing at a young age but hid her efforts because her parents and governesses disapproved. Her father refused to send her to university, lest she become a bluestocking.[3]

In 1916 Stevenson married James Reid Peploe, a captain in the 6th Ghurkha Rifles.[3] Her 1932 novel Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, which describes her life as a British army wife,[4] was based on her personal diary.[3]

She wrote most of her books while living in the town of Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.[3] Her novels were best-sellers, with more than seven million copies printed[2] and translations in multiple languages.[3] Her last book was published in 1969.[3]

Stevenson died in 1973.[3]

Bibliography[edit]

Stevenson published under the name "DE Stevenson" or "D.E. Stevenson."[1][4]

Poetry[edit]

Stevenson published three volumes of poetry,[5] two of them before her novels.[2][3]

  • Meadow-flowers, 1915
  • The Starry Mantle, 1926
  • Alister and Co., 1940, 1943 (alternate title: It's Nice to Be Me)

Novels[edit]

Stand-alone novels[edit]

  • Peter West, 1923 (first published in serial format in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal[2])
  • Divorced From Reality, 1935 (alternate title: Miss Dean's Dilemma; republished in 1966 as The Young Clementina)
  • Smouldering Fire, 1935
  • The Empty World: A Romance of the Future, 1936 (alternate title: A World in Spell)
  • The Story of Rosabelle Shaw, 1937 (alternate title: Rosabelle Shaw)
  • Miss Bun the Baker's Daughter, 1938 (alternate title: The Baker's Daughter)
  • Green Money, 1939
  • Rochester's Wife, 1940
  • The English Air, 1940
  • Spring Magic, 1942
  • Crooked Adam, 1942 in US, 1969 in UK
  • Celia's House, 1943
  • Listening Valley, 1944
  • The Four Graces, 1946
  • Kate Hardy, 1947
  • Young Mrs. Savage, 1948
  • Five Windows, 1953
  • Charlotte Fairlie, 1954 (alternate titles: Blow the Wind Southerly, The Enchanted Isle)
  • The Tall Stranger, 1957
  • Anna and her Daughters, 1958
  • Still Glides the Stream, 1959
  • The Musgraves, 1960
  • The Blue Sapphire, 1963
  • The House on the Cliff, 1966

Mrs. Tim Christie[edit]

  • Mrs Tim of the Regiment, 1932 (alternate title: Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, or, Leaves from the Diary of an Officer's Wife)
  • Golden Days, 1934 (alternate title: Golden Days: Further Leaves from Mrs. Tim's Journal)
  • Mrs Tim Carries On, 1941
  • Mrs. Tim Gets a Job, 1947
  • Mrs. Tim Flies Home, 1952

Note that Mrs Tim of the Regiment and Golden Days were originally published separately, but all subsequent reprints combined the two halves into a single volume titled Mrs. Tim Christie.

Miss Buncle[edit]

Vittoria Cottage trilogy[edit]

  • Vittoria Cottage, 1949
  • Music in The Hills, 1950
  • Winter and Rough Weather, 1951 (alternate title: Shoulder the Sky)

Other series[edit]

Amberwell

  • Amberwell, 1955
  • Summerhills, 1956

Bel Lamington

  • Bel Lamington, 1961
  • Fletcher's End, 1962

Katherine Wentworth

  • Katherine Wentworth, 1964
  • Katherine's Marriage, 1965 (alternate title: The Marriage of Katherine)

Sarah Morris Remembers

  • Sarah Morris Remembers, 1967
  • Sarah's Cottage, 1968

Gerald and Elizabeth

  • Gerald and Elizabeth, 1969
  • House of the Deer, 1970

Posthumously published works[edit]

Five additional works were published after being discovered in a box in the Stevenson family attic.[3][6][7]

  • Jean Erskine's Secret, written 1913-1917, published 2013[7]
  • Emily Dennistoun, written 1920s, published 2011[6]
  • Portrait of Saskia, written 1920s, published 2011[7]
  • The Fair Miss Fortune, written 1930s, published 2011[6]
  • Found in the Attic collection of papers, published 2013[7]

Inter-book links[edit]

Some of Stevenson's characters appear as supporting characters or make cameo appearances in her other novels. She also sometimes reused settings.

Miss Buncle spills into The Four Graces as well as Spring Magic, and her book is described in Anna and her Daughters. Celia's House inspired Listening Valley, where Celia makes a re-appearance. We hear of her again during Anna and Her Daughters. Anna pops up briefly in the Katherine books which link with Charlotte Fairlie (Mr. Heath the vicar makes a re-appearance this time). Later Sarah Morris ends up in Ryddelton in Sarah's Cottage to be befriended by Debbie (who made her debut in Celia's House) and to hear about Tonia (Listening Valley) and Charlotte Fairlie.

More links exist from the Katherine books, via Mr Sandford the lawyer, to House on the Cliff which links via Miss Martineau the landlady to The Blue Sapphire. The Katherine books also tell us more about MacAslan who we first meet in Smouldering Fire. Stevenson's last book, The House of the Deer (a reworking of a serial published in The Glasgow Bulletin in 1936) revisits the MacAslan family in the second generation, and is a sequel to Gerald and Elizabeth.

Gerald and Elizabeth enter into the saga around Drumburly and re-introduce Freda from Five Windows. Jock from the Music in the Hills trilogy also knows of Freda. Bel Lamington links into these books. Bel's friend Margaret was a Musgrave, and there are links from The Musgraves to The Tall Stranger, which was a sequel (of sorts) to Five Windows (though Stevenson, uncharacteristically, makes an error between the two books - in Five Windows the main character is David Kirke while in The Tall Stranger his name is spelled Kirk). The Musgraves give a tenuous link back to Ryddelton via "The Mulberry Coach", a story written by one of Anna's daughters and nearly performed by Delia Musgrave.

The Amberwell books link closely to Still Glides the Stream which in turn ties in with the Sarah books, in that Will and Sarah both visit Nivennes and meet with the Delormes family, although their visits are many years apart.

Another recurring character is the author Janetta Walters, whose light romantic novels are either loved or loathed by Stevenson characters. We first hear of her books in Mrs. Tim Carries On and Spring Magic. She appears in person in The Two Mrs. Abbotts and The Four Graces.

Republication[edit]

Some of Stevenson's most popular books are being reissued.

Persephone Books reprinted Miss Buncle's Book in 2008 and Miss Buncle Married in 2011. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment was reprinted by Bloomsbury in 2010.[4] Sourcebooks Landmark released the latter two Miss Buncle books in the U.S. in 2012, followed in 2013 by The Young Clementina and The Two Mrs. Abbotts.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bannon, Alan (2 August 2016). "Commemorative Plaque due to be mounted on Stan Laurel's Glasgow home" (Press release). Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust (3 August 2016). "3 Edinburgh Women Writers Honoured with Commemorative Plaques" (Press release). Edinburgh City of Literature. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Smith, Mary (April 2011), Photography by Phil Rigby, "STAYING POWER: Almost 40 years after her death, the author DE Stevenson is still so popular that fans from across the world are coming to Moffat for the re-issue of one of her books" (PDF), Dumbfries & Galloway Life, pp. 102–103 
  4. ^ a b c "Mrs. Tim of the Regiment: A Novel". Bloomsbury Publishing. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Daly, Susan. "D. E. Stevenson's Books". Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Johnston, Willie (5 May 2011). "DE Stevenson novels published long after author's death". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d "D. E. Stevenson's "lost" books". Anglophile Books. Retrieved 29 January 2017.