Miss Buncle's Book in a previous post so I was happy when the sequel, Miss Buncle Married, went on sale for Kindle. In Book One Barbara Buncle is a successful author (much to everyone's surprise) who happens to end up marrying her publisher (much to her own surprise). In Book Two the Abbotts move to a new city to begin their new life together and Barbara is thrown in with a whole new set of odd and delightful neighbors.
Over and over again Arthur Abbott is amazed at the perspicacity of his seemingly droll wife:
Arthur Abbott gazed at his wife in amazement, which gradually gave place to amusement - she was a priceless person, his Barbara. Life was so simple to her; she was so matter-of-fact, so absolutely and peerlessly sane. (p. 9)
The strangest thing about Barbara, Arthur reflected, the strangest thing about this strange woman who was now his lawful wedded wife, was that although she understood practically nothing, she yet understood everything. . . . Without being conscious of it herself she was able to sum up a person or a situation in a few minutes. People's very bones were bare to her - and she had no idea of it. (p. 75)
Miss Buncle Married is a book about "friendly love" versus passion. Barbara and Arthur are supremely happy sitting in comfortable chairs, reading in the garden, just being together. Arthur's nephew falls in love with Jerry, a young penniless woman who makes a living running a horse-riding school. Here is a wonderful description of when he discovers he loves her:
Jerry took a large slice of wheaten bread, spread with golden butter, and bit into it with her small white teeth. It was a natural gesture - she was very hungry indeed - but to Sam, there was something symbolic about it. Jerry was like bread, he thought. She was like good wholesome wheaten bread, spread thickly with honest farm butter; and the thought crossed his mind that a man might eat bread forever and ever, and not tire of it, and that it would never clog his palate like sweet cakes or pastries or chocolate éclairs. I do care for her, Sam thought. I do care for her - it's different. It's not so much that I'm in love with her as that I love her. I'll always care for her if she'll let me. (p. 126)
Another winner from D. E. Stevenson!