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Summary

In name and by birth, Celia was a Dunne. She had inherited the beautiful old family home by the Rydd Water – but was she bound to live her life by the principles of her predecessors? Was there some hidden restraint that compelled her to heed the past? Celia’s house is a moving and poignant story of the struggle between old and young: the older generation anxious to preserve the values they have helped create while their children are determined at all costs to make lives of their own.

©1943 D. E. Stevenson (P)2011 Soundings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A gentle reminder of the vanished world

Any additional comments?

It's hard to describe D.E. Stevenson's stories to anyone who hasn't read them themselves. If you find the Joan Hickson / Miss Marple episodes show a long-gone English village life, Ms Stevenson does the same for the borders of Scotland. My beloved Aunts and Great-aunts grew up around the turn of the 19/20th C. These books bring my childhood memories of them back to life. This particular book I discovered around the age of 12 and I still enjoy it. Both Celias, the original and her great-great niece, belong to the house of the title, Dunnian, far more than the house belongs to them. 'Family saga' is a phrase more often associated with descriptions like 'sprawling' and 'tumultuous'. This isn't either, it's a believable family and a gentle story as warm and comforting on a cold night as some of Mrs Drummond's baking fresh from the oven. As another reviewer has said, the story is an homage to Mansfield Park in parts, but that doesn't detract. There are all sorts of audiobooks available, and this is the one for when you want some gentle and comforting unashamed nostalgia.

1 person found this helpful

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An unexpected delight

D E Stevenson is a completely new author for me. This title looked interesting so I took a chance. It was a delightful listen. I was completely caught up with the story. I will certainly look at other books by this author. Well narrated too.

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  • Jerri C
  • 14-03-11

Boarder area of Scotland

What a delight! Another audiobook by author D. E. Stevenson. This is one of her Family Sagas, a story of life in the Southern area of Scotland known as "The Boarders". Lesley Mackie's reading, with her soft Scots accent is perfect. Understandable to the American listener, but with enough "Scots" in it to lend atmosphere! This story blends a gentle homage to Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, with noticable plot parallels, with some additional plot lines. Most notable of these is how the elder "Celia", by leaving her house to her not yet born great neice, "Celia", hopes to change the pattern of her life and find love in the new generation.

I purchased and downloaded and listened to this story as quickly as possible, and now I will have to listen again and hope that Lesley Mackie is invited to do the "partner" title to this one, Listening Valley.

10 people found this helpful

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  • ahafun2010
  • 07-11-11

Another delightful story

D. E. Stevenson wrote a number of absolutely delightful books, mostly set in the lowlands of Scotland. You come to know the characters well and are very interested in what happens to them. Several books have characters in common and there are even some with sequels, but each is good on its own and can stand alone without the reader having any knowledge of any of the others. This book is one who shares some characters with other stories, but knowing those other stories is in no way essential.
Lesley Mackie does a wonderful job reading these books and plays a big role in making the whole experience enjoyable.

6 people found this helpful

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  • sharon
  • 17-10-13

If You have never tried DE Stevenson please Do !

I have read and loved DE Stevenson books for over 50 years. Imagine my delight when I saw that they were available on audible. Thank you Audible!. All her stories are refreshing lighthearted and well. Written . If you get tired of the formula writers of today give her a try.
The narrators are exceptional too.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Harriet
  • 28-05-12

A Middle Class Family living in a Mansion

Where does Celia's House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have really come to enjoy the writings of D E Stevenson. She has very good story development. The books are interesting but still calm. It reminds me of the Miss Reed books. This story takes place in the early 1900's over in England. An older woman rewrites her will at the last minute. She wants her huge house to be lived in by a family that will appreciate it. This book is the story of that family's life. When the family moves in, they have 2 young children and by the end of the book all the children are grown and married and the mother has died. This is really a story about family. This is a book that I would feel comfortable listening to with all the children, and I just may do it. I could easily an happily listen to this story again.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Judith
  • 19-05-13

Visit a grand English Country House

What made the experience of listening to Celia's House the most enjoyable?

D.E Stevenson writes lovely stories. Her books take you back to post WWII England with the manners and gentiality not found in today world. This book is like high tea in a rose garden. Treat yourself to a warm and life affirming story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Celia's House?

Surprise ending ties it all up nicely.

What does Lesley Mackie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I could listen to her read the phone book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kia
  • 08-06-21

Why rehash Mansfield Park?

This book is similar to other D. E. Stevenson books, with an enjoyable tone. But suddenly the plot begins to mirror Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. I'm really not sure why since it didn't start out as a new version of that work. The reference seems random and shallow, and it is very distracting have both plots unfolding in your head while you read. I'm not sure how it turns out, but still deciding whether to finish the book.

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  • Elaine
  • 12-07-16

Not my favorite, but still good

This isn't my favorite DE Stevenson book, though I still like it. It's too long and I had trouble keeping the characters straight (and I think the narrator did as well). It's an important story to read in regards to many of the characters who live in Ryddleton though. Overall, good enough but long.