Unlike ‘the new Virginia Andrews’, the new D E Stevensons really are books by the popular author which have never been published before. What’s more, in a time honoured way the manuscripts were found in the attic by
D E Stevenson’s granddaughter. Now they’re in print for the first time and available from Greyladies.* Emily Dennistoun was written in the 1920s. It’s the story of an unmarried woman leading a dull, thankless life housekeeping for her domineering father. She has a younger brother, Charles, who undergoes at least two personality transplants during the story. Through friends of Charles, Emily meets ‘the one’ and luckily he thinks she’s the one, too. Unfortunately for the lovers, every plot device from missing letters to malicious interference gets in the way of their romance and they spend most of the book misunderstanding each other. The book is in two parts and I found the second half more enjoyable, even though it’s a conventional missing heir story.
I preferred The Fair Miss Fortune. This was rejected by publishers in the 1930s because it was ‘too old fashioned’. This is odd because I’ve read more old fashioned books published in the 1950s. Jane Fortune arrives in a village, planning to open a tea shop. As she’s very pretty, men come flocking round her only to find that she sometimes seems like another person. No prizes for guessing that there are two Miss Fortunes, twin sisters. It’s a charming little book and my only disappointment was that there was so little about the tea shop which was the whole reason for Jane’s move.
Anyone who likes D E Stevenson would enjoy these books. They are not her best but I find her work variable anyway, much preferring some books to others.
*Apparently, there’s a problem at the moment buying these books from The Book Depository. There are plenty of copies, available from the publisher.