I’ve decided to only post my thoughts on two books at a time instead of three. I think writing about three books at a time makes a post too long. Also I am feeling pretty loopy due to allergies so I hope these following thoughts make sense.

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson (Bloomsbury Group, 1932) – While browsing through my library’s eBook collection one day I discovered that several of the Bloomsbury Group books are available to check out in digital format. I was surprised and more than a little thrilled to have instant access to Mrs. Tim of the Regiment and immediately downloaded it. Set in the early thirties, Mrs. Tim is written in diary format by Hester Christie, the wife of Captain Tim and mother of Betty and Bryan. She writes about her domestic arrangements, relationships with the other regiment wives, the day to day scrapes and scrambles of a family with wit and lots of good nature. I really enjoyed the first part of the novel, but the second half (when the family moves to Scotland) is pretty weak. I learned from reading other sources that it wasn’t part of the original novel, but rather a separate story called Golden Days. My problem with Golden Days is that it veers very far away from the endearing domestic life of the Christies while Hester and Betty spend time in the Highlands. I found it boring and very different in tone and style from Mrs. Tim. I am now reading Mrs. Tim Carries On and I absolutely adore it because it is a return to the everyday life of a regiment wife.

Family Life by Akhil Sharma (W.W. Norton, 2014) – Family Life is one of the many (many) eGalleys that I’ve downloaded since joining Edelweiss. I prefer reading print books, but you can’t beat being able to read about a wonderful-sounding book one minute and have it on your iPad the very next. This book was a very quick read, more of a novella, that packs a powerful punch. It is a novel about immigration and assimilation and how families deal with new experiences and tragedy when far from their support system. The Mishra family moves from India to Queens in the eighties in order to give their two sons, Ajay and Birju, better educational opportunities. The boys are old enough to miss India and struggle with the adjustment to American life, but their parents push them to fit in at school and excel. When tragedy strikes during summer break the Mishra’s dreams for their sons are crushed and they never quite recover the optimism and hope that propelled them to America. The tone of this novel is very clear-eyed and truthful. It isn’t happy, there isn’t a rainbow at the end of the storm. The family is nearly destroyed by their misfortune and they don’t endure it with dignity. Sometimes such realistic and painful novels are just too depressing, but I thought this was compelling and beautiful misery. This novel will be released on April 7.

More about Mrs. Tim at:

Stuck in a Book

8 Comments

  1. How interesting the Golden Days has been incorporated into Mrs. Tim of the Regiment to create one novel, rather than just leaving it as two stories in one book. I wonder why that decision was made as it doesn’t seem to have been the author’s intentions. No wonder the tone felt so different, haha!

    • I do wonder why they were put together, too! It didn’t feel right having them together, but Golden Days does introduce a few important characters who turn up in the second book in the series. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I have GOT to check out DE Stevenson! She’s one of my mother’s all-time favorite authors, and now that a bunch of her books are being republished, there’s no excuse for me not to give her a try. Maybe I’ll just skip the second half of Mrs. Tim and go straight to the sequel. 🙂

    • Jenny, your mom has great taste! Though I’ve only read Mrs. Tim, I like her writing enough to read some of her other works. I think I have Miss Buncle’s Book somewhere around here. Unfortunately, if you do read Mrs. Tim you can’t really skip Golden Days – there are several characters who you meet in the second half that play an important part in Hester’s life.

  3. I hope that you’re feeling better soon! I seem to be immune to DE Stevenson, which is strange because so many of my favorite bloggers like her. I did enjoy Mrs. Tim, even the Highlands section, but nothing else I’ve tried has appealed.

    • Allergies are really annoying – I haven’t been feeling myself at all this week, but I am more clear today.
      I did try to read Miss Buncle’s Book last year and didn’t quite like it so I know what you mean. I think part of the reason I like Mrs. Tim so much is because it is written as a diary.

  4. I’ve seen about Mrs. Tim mentioned on one or two other blogs but it wasn’t until now that I realized it’s written by D.E. Stevenson! Now I’m suddenly eager to read it (although I think I still might want to tackle Miss Buncle Married and The Two Mrs. Abbotts first).

    • From what I’ve read of Miss Buncle’s Book it seems that Stevenson’s wonderful humor is evident in it just as it is in Mrs. Tim. I think I will read the Mrs. Tim series all the way through and then try some of her other works.

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