Caroline opened the door and saw Mr. Shepperton standing on the step. “Oh, it’s you!” she exclaimed in surprise.
“Did you—were you expecting someone else?” he asked.
“Only the Queen,” replied Caroline, chuckling. “Don’t mind me,” she added. “I often go slightly mad.”
Caroline Dering, a widow with three grown children, lives a cheerful, quiet life near the idyllic English village of Ashbridge. But things are about to liven up, as daughter Leda announces a problematic engagement to the son of the local squire, son James returns from service and pursues romance with the squire’s independent daughter, and sister Harriet, a famous actress who latest play has bombed, retreats to Ashbridge for a break. Then there’s Robert Shepperton, a charming widower recovering from the losses of war at the local inn . . .
These problems, as well as smaller challenges with an overbearing village organizer, the blustering Sir Michael, and Caroline’s daily help (“who rejoices in the name of Comfort Podbury”), are resolved with all of D.E. Stevenson’s flair for gentle humour, clever plotting, and characters who walk right off the page.
Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press have also reprinted Music in the Hills and Winter and Rough Weather, which continue the stories of some of the characters from Vittoria Cottage. All the novels feature an introduction by Alexander McCall Smith.
“A well-balanced novel that moves swiftly enough for any taste.” Manchester Evening News
“It is a family novel, and few writers can do this sort of thing better than Miss Stevenson.” Glasgow Herald