Monday, October 05, 2015

Katherine's Marriage, or The Marriage of Katherine, by D.E. Stevenson

I have fallen in love with the works of D.E. Stevenson, having first been introduced by Sarah from Library Hospital (which she is not running at present, but I still keep up with her). When our family went to England last month, one of my book missions (actually, my only one) was to find books by Stevenson that I have trouble finding here. I felt surely it would be easier to find them over there. I was partly right. I found a few titles at Barter Books. Then too, we took advantage of Amazon Prime UK and I snagged another title by that means. (Way cheaper than buying here. There may or may not have have been some gleeful chuckles involved.)

One of the titles I picked up was The Marriage of Katherine (or, Katherine's Marriage). This is the first of the Stevenson titles I picked to read upon returning home. Unfortunately I discovered in the first few pages that this is a sequel to Stevenson's Katherine Wentworth. I paused and wondered if I should try to find the first title but then grimaced over the price. I guess there just has to be a book or two to travel back to England for, yes? Ultimately I figured I might as well go ahead and read this one.

Now, you can be in love with anyone or anything and still understand and accept the fact that it has flaws. (At least, I fancy you can do that if you are being honest with yourself.) I have come to love Stevenson but I cannot say that I cared for this particular title. I wish to be careful about spoilers, but suffice it to say that The Marriage of Katherine picks up where I assume Katherine Wentworth left off - with her marriage to Alec MacLaren. Katherine and Alec are off on their unconventional honeymoon when this book opens. We find them in the Scottish Highlands, staying in a remote, mysterious and incredibly beautiful cave. (I know that sounds weird but you've just got to go with it.) The characters they meet there are intriguing and interesting. There seems to be a bit of a mystery introduced around a local couple and an antique jug but that story line ends up dying at the conclusion of the honeymoon. You might logically assume that the jug is going to pop up later in the book but you would be wrong. You will wonder about the jug for all time.

Katherine and Alec return back home to Katherine's three children (and now Alec's stepchildren). There is a matter of trying to live alongside Alec's cantankerous sister. There is actually quite a little feud going on with the sister and you wonder what kind of trouble she is ultimately going to make for Katherine and Alec. But have no fear! Ultimately, the sister has no relevance to the story. She just disappears, all handy-like. Lastly, about halfway through the book, Katherine's oldest boy suddenly enters into an inheritance, drawing to a halt all previous happenings. The remainder of the book deals with inheritance matters which raise a few issues, none of which turn into anything remarkable. At the conclusion, I really couldn't tell you what the book was ultimately about because I don't think that Stevenson knew either. If Stevenson doesn't know, how should I?

Am I glad to have purchased this book? Oh yes! As I say, I've come to really love Stevenson and I find her books delightfully distracting. For me, they are just plain fun, except for when they apparently aren't. I can't say how Katherine Wentworth plays out but I would say don't bother trying to locate the sequel.

Do note though that my opinion of this title differs from Goodreads Reviewers who are doling out 4 and 5 stars at a dizzying rate. I might be tempted to think they are somewhat delirious but perhaps we should accommodate for tastes? (HA!) Perhaps I had better say of this title, "Enjoy it if you can!"

Personally, I'd suggest checking out one of these titles instead (linked to my reviews):

In the meantime, there's a Powell's trip in my future and I might see if I can snatch a few more titles. Fingers crossed!!


Heather VanTimmeren said...

Have you read Miss Buncle Married? I don't think you'd be disappointed in that one.

I've read the first 2 Miss Buncle books in the past month or so and thoroughly enjoyed them. My library has the 3rd one on order, so I'm looking forward to reading it soon, too! I agree that they are just perfect for fun reads!

Sarah said...

(I tried to leave a comment via mobile, but I don't think it went through)

After reading your review I can say, I think a lot of the random/seemingly sudden events and people that appear and then go away are actually just part of tying up of any loose ends from the previous book, Katherine Wentworth. The sister-in-law was a big part of the first book and it's a relief to the reader when she does FINALLY go away. There's also a whole lot more with Katherine's first husband's family in the first book, which leads up to Simon inheriting. I did enjoy Katherine's Marriage, but not as much as it's predecessor. That said, neither were my favorite of D. E. Stevenson, but I think they are best read together and in order and are good that way. I wish I could offer a copy of Katherine Wentworth, but I obtained it from ILL at my local library, so I actually don't own it. (Frustrating when I know people who'd like to read it.)

I echo Heather's comment above, I loved the Miss Buncle series (there are 4) and The Mrs. Tim series (though you can only get your hands on the first book except via ILL, if you're lucky) and The Blue Sapphire. Crooked Adam is another good one.

Carrie said...

Yes! I have read Miss Buncle's Book (and also Miss Buncle Married, I just didn't link to that one). Listening Valley is on its way to my doorstep and I picked up a few more in England that I'll work through.

@Sarah - So glad you commented as to the sequel aspect and the desire to tie up loose ends. All that you say makes sense. Apparently I SHOULD have held on to it until reading the first title.

Unknown said...

I love D.E. Stevenson but have not read these two. I recently found both "Katherine Wentworth" and "The Marriage of Katherine" but have not read them yet. I love the Miss Buncle series and the Mrs Tim series. I also really enjoyed "Listening Valley".

Ginger Mae said...

You lost me at "honeymoon in a cave" but your review made me laugh really hard. I LOATHE books where the problems and mysteries just disappear. What would be a good one by her to start out with? Also, insanely overwhelmingly jealous about the Powell's trip.

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