I have to say that out of all the possibilities, D.E. Stevenson is my ‘go-to’ author every time. When I want to relax with a good book, I pick one of hers. Even though I have read and re-read Stevenson over the years, I find something fresh and new each time to enjoy and learn more insight about human character no matter which book I pick!
There ARE a few I haven’t been able to find that I haven’t yet read of hers (but, very few!) “Katherine Wentworth” is one of my top favorites.
Katherine meets an old friend while out one day, someone that she wouldn’t at first glance have recognized, but who immediately recognizes her (which tells you right away that Katherine hasn’t changed much outwardly since her school years). A lot of water has gone under the bridge since her school years though, and she finds to her surprise, that the school mate (that she was never that close to to begin with) seems to want her friendship and pursues her diligently.
Katherine is a busy mother, and a widow. The author doesn’t dwell on how she lost her husband but it is clear that her marraige was nurturing for her, and that her loss has deeply affected her present life. Katherine now has the burden of raising and feeding and providing for her stepson (her husband being married previously) and her own twins. Her late husband’s family has ‘cut them off’ due to a dispute from years ago, so Katherine is pretty much on her own, besides an aunt that does help out now and then with occasional visits.
Zilla, the schoolmate, on the other hand, is well provided for and lives with her brother in a nice home of her own with a lovely garden. However, of the two characters, Zilla is the one with the discontent and the accompanying character traits (‘not enough to do’ my husband calls it!) Zilla makes for a very interesting character and her tendency to manipulate those in her life and how they react to her also make for very insightful reading!
How Katherine interacts with Zilla, her children, and Zilla’s brother makes for a lovely story. Katherine has a refreshingly good relationship with her late husband’s son Simon, who has developed his own set of problems that he feels he must carry on his own.
I was terrifed now. “Listen, Simon. If I promise to keep a secret, you can tell me, can’t you?”
“No, I can’t.”
“Yes, you can,” I said earnestly. “You can tell me if I promise faithfully -”
He turned and looked at me. “But could you?” he asked. “Could you promise without knowing what it was?”
I hesitated. Could I tie my hands like that?
“You see?” said Simon. “You see what I mean? You couldn’t promise without knowing.”
“Yes, I can,” I declared in desperation. “I promise not to say a word about it to anybody.”
Katherine, trying so desperately to make ends meet, is gifted with an unexpected vacation in a cottage in Scotland…and the story progresses from there. There are old-fashioned values, frustrating characters (Simon’s grandfather being one), knights in shining armor (well, maybe just one…), romance, teenage rebellion, and just good ol’ plain reading.
Look for it on inter-library loan when you have a free weekend, get yourself a mug of coffee (or tea and biscuits!), and enjoy.
“It was the first sign he had shown of human feeling and for the first time I felt sorry for him. I realized that he would have to return to Sir Mortimer and admit defeat. I thought of Sir Mortimer and became even more sorry for his unsuccessful emissary! However, there was nothing I could do for Major Wentworth – except offer him tea. He probably was thinking that whisky would have been much more acceptable.
“Tea?” he said with a rueful smile. “Oh, well – why not? But isn’t it a bit early in the afternoon for tea?”
“It’s never too early – nor too late,” I told him. “Mrs. MacRam drinks tea, morning, noon and night. I expect she has got it all ready for us.”