What Was Your First D. E. Stevenson Book?

From Mrs. Tim Gets A Job 1947

A member of the DES Onelist asked, "What was your first DES book?" Here are answers from some of her readers:

First DES book? I'm sure it was The Blue Sapphire at about age 18. A
friend lent it to me saying it was unlike anything she'd read before, and very enjoyable. It was, but I didn't catch the bug. A little later, a different friend recommended Amberwell, with a similar commendation. I enjoyed it, but again no catch. Then I found Miss Buncle's Book in the local bookstore, and was intrigued by the premise, so I bought it and the rest is history. It wasn't until I started devouring all I could find that I recognised the earlier two books as
being by the same author.
Susan D

My first DES book had a WW II cover and that intrigued me - so I got it and
read and enjoyed Spring Magic. The next one I read was Miss Buncle's Book -I read the bit about the author writing a book about a lady writing a book
and I was hooked on DES. I love Miss Buncle's Book and have read it more
than the others.

My first DES was Miss Buncles's Book. I was in Thailand, doing research on family life in a Northern Thai village, and I had just given birth to my daughter. There were complications, and the doctor told my husband to send for my mother (very frightening). She brought a copy of Miss Buncle's Book to read on the plane. She read it all, and then, since the flight was so long, and the book was so good, she figured she'd just read it over again, so she did. I inherited that copy.

The first one I read was "Shoulder the Sky". I bought it at a junk store that was selling paperback books for 5 for $1.00. That was in about 1974 I think. I loved it and read it over again a couple of times before it occurred to me to check the library for others by the same author. They had a few which I checked out on a regular basis then we moved and the library in the town we moved to had a large collection of them...I was delighted! I later ended up working in that library and at one point we got a new and modern librarian who withdrew almost all the DES's. Lucky for me I was working in the catalogueing dept. by then as was able to confiscate them before they went to the dumpster!


My first was Miss Buncle. We ran across it by accident, but my Mom and I were hooked. We took to scouring booksales for copies no matter how tatty. Now with the Internet, I have to budget myself in completing my set. Easier but more expensive. Blue Sapphire wasn't my first, but with Listening Valley it is one of my favourites. Here at the Library most of our DES is large type, since the originals are falling apart. The large type reprints were the only way to replace them at the time.

The first one that I read was The Blue Sapphire. I borrowed it from the high school library. The blurb on the cover compared DES to Emilie Loring. I had read a couple Emilie Lorings and enjoyed them so I dove right in. I don't care for Emilie Loring anymore, too soap-opera-like and too much petty intrigue, but I will enjoy DES forever. It was a couple of years before I found any more. I think the next ones I read were Gerald and Elizabeth and The House of the Deer. Barbara

I don't remember which was the first DES title I read. I came across them in the school library, along with Georgette Heyer, and Daphne du Maurier. I started buying them in Fontana paperbacks when I saw them in our local newsagent's store. The bookshops were all in the town centre, and we didn't go down to town very often. Too expensive to take all of us children on the bus, and the younger ones couldn't walk that far. When Dick and I started going to book fairs about 10 - 15 years ago, I upgraded to hard backs, and completed my collection of DES novels eventually, partly also from sending out want lists to book dealers.

The first D E Stevenson book I read was Katherine Wentworth. My aunt had that one and The Marriage of Katherine. I am so glad I started out that way. I still really enjoy reading that set over and over. From then on I went to used book sales and library sales (this was in the early 70's) and looked everywhere for her books. Then I found an ACE paperback of Amberwell, and saw in the back of the book an order form for more of her books. I ordered 15 ACE books and after that picked up one now and then at a library sale. That was in the 70's. After that, I didn't have the pleasure of finding the rest of her books until I discovered E-Bay last August. Then I spent my savings on collecting the rest of her books, with the exception of Peter West and Empty World. Those, I will not second mortgage the house to get.

My parents and 10 year old sister and I took a long family vacation. ....as we took the highway across the top of Wyoming, the trip had gotten DESstinctly dull, and the countryside was flat and brown and tumbleweedy. When we got to a wide place in the road that called itself Moorcroft, Wyoming, my dad decided he couldn't drive any more. Moorcroft had a motel and a cafe and a drug store. I regret to tell you that 15 year old Suzi and her 10 year old sister, Christy, did more than their share of whining: "there's nothing to DO here" "there's nothing to SEE here" "there's nothing HERE". ...we all went to the drug store to look for some entertainment. The paperback books in the store were all either westerns or war stories. Mom started hauling the books off the rack, going through them one at a time, to see if there was anything at all for me to read. Buried in the bottom of a stack on the bottom shelf, was Miss Buncle's Book.I read it 4 times before we got home.
So, of all the things I saw and places I visited on that trip: theSpearfish South Dakota Passion Play, Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, the Rocky Mountains -- the trip to the drugstore in Moorcroft, Wyoming may have been my most valuable, because that is where I met D. E. Stevenson, and Miss Buncle.

I was working for American Airlines in about '67 or '68 and on my lunch hour walked over to the nearby department store to look at their books. I asked her [the lady who ran the books department] to recommend a book for me, and The Marriage of Katherine was just out and on the shelves. I bought a copy and was 'hooked for life'. Read all I could from the library, which had most of her
books. I didn't find any to buy for myself except the ones which came out after The Marriage of Katherine until the late'70s when I came across several Ace paperbacks in a truck salvage shop. And in the 80s I began seriously looking in used book stores. My big thrill was finding a first edition of A World in Spell for $10.00. And once I bought 17 copies from a nearby library which wanted to get rid of them. They were 50 cents a piece......

My first introduction to DES was Mrs. Tim of the Regiment. I was browsing through the library and found several DES books and being smart, picked up the second one first and had to go back after I read the jacket to get the first one. I was completely hooked. I am now trying to buy the books.

The first one I read was Miss Buncle's Book, and it was because my mother
owned that one and Miss Buncle Married that I read them. At that time
those were the only DES books she owned, and we read most of the rest from
the library. Since they started to disapear from the libraries, we started
to collect other titles.

The first DES book I ever read was Celia's House recommended to me by my
friend from Kansas City. Once I had started it I literally could not put
it down and soon after I read that I was off to find all the DES books I could get my hands on. I feel very blessed that the St. Louis library system owns almost all the DES books(I believe we are missing three novels and the poetry books....something like that).

Miss Buncle's Book and Miss Buncle Married were my first DES's, lent to me by a teacher in 7th grade. Ironically, I don't have those two even though I loved them.

My first book was the Baker's Daughter, I think. Back in the early 70's I was browsing in the library in Butler, PA and they had a wonderful selection of DES, most of which I liked better than TBD. I've lived in several towns since and not come across as good a selection but other towns have offered some good used book stores so I now have a pretty complete collection. I did get some through a used book store in Salisbury (Beach) that my sister found for me when she went to England in the 80's. I think Listening Valley is my favorite but quite a few others are lined up with it.

I think it is interesting how many of us started with Miss Buncle. As much as I love the others, Miss Buncle (which included Miss Buncle's Book and Miss Buncle Married) has always seemed to have a special magic. Perhaps because of the Golden Boy.

My first DES was The Baker's Daughter. I didn't care for it much and it's surprising that I ever tried another. I actually bought it as a brand new ACE paperback in a local bookstore. The second one I bought was The Blue Sapphire and then I was hooked. I was able to buy The Musgraves, Vittoria Cottage, and Celia's House all brand new before they went out of print and were impossible to find. I've read them all now with the exception of Five Windows, The Two Mrs. Abbotts, and Spring Magic. I count myself fortunate! My goal is to buy the ones I haven't read first, and then go back and build up the rest of my collection. I have 18 so far, largely because of many of you lovely Dessie Duchesses who so generously share.



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