Characters and Locations
by Alison

More On Locations
by Alison

One of my favourite features of D.E.Stevenson books is just who pops up where. Most of her books have links to other books; she invented the hyperlink long before the Internet.
D. E. Stevenson invented three main geographical areas for her characters to inhabit. My favourite Ryddelton, Wandlebury and the area around Mureth and Drumburly.
Miss Buncle spills into the Four Graces as well as Spring Magic . This was only the beginning. Celia's House inspired Listening Valley , where Celia made a welcome reappearance. We hear of her again during Anna and Her Daughters . Anna pops up briefly in the Katherine books which link nicely with Charlotte Fairlie . Later Sarah Morris also ends up in Ryddelton to be befriended by Debbie, who made her debut in Celia's House , to say nothing of mentions of Tonia ( Listening Valley ) and Charlotte from her own book.
More links from the Katherine Books, via Mr. Sandford, to House on the Cliff which links via Miss Martineau to The Blue Sapphire . The Katherine Books also tell us more about McAslan who we first meet in Smouldering Fire . The House of Deer carries on with the McAslan clan, (although I do not believe that Phil would have forsaken Simon in this way, and Gerald should have married Penny the American from his boat trip). Gerald and Elizabeth enter into the saga around Drumburly and reintroduce Freda from Five Windows . Jock from The Music in the Hills trilogy also knows of Freda and of course Bel Lamington links into these books. Bel's friend Margaret was a Musgrave and there are strong links from The Musgraves to Tall Stranger which was a sequel (of sorts) to Five Windows . The Musgraves give a tenuous link back to Ryddelton via The Mulberry Coach, a story written by one of Anna's daughters and nearly performed by Delia Musgrave. The Amberwell books link closely to Still Glides the Stream which tie in with the Sarah books, in that Will and Sarah both visit Nivennes and visit the Delormes family, although many years apart.

We know DES liked to use names from one part of her life, etc. in her books. After finishing the Drumburly Trilogy I read Five Windows (it was delicious) and am now onto The Tall Stranger . This book tells us a lot about Sheperdsford, as well as more about the Kirkes (spelt Kirks in TS, but KirkEs in FW). In this book it again mentions that Shepsford is in Gloucestershire. An additional piece of information is that Edward and Barbie go into Cheltenham to do some shopping. I returned to my trusty map and looked further North, closer to Cheltenham and lo and behold two villages leapt out at me. Little BARRINGTON and Gt. BARRINGTON. You will remember that Barrington's was the name of the store that Sarah Morris worked for in Sarah Morris Remembers . I strongly suspect that DES used this name as she was familiar with it. We know that Fletcher's End was based on her son's house in the Cotswolds, and Fletchers End is near Sheperdsford.

These two villages are just inside Gloucestershire and close enough to Oxford to be said to be "near" (Mark Armstrong in Bel Lamington ). Cheltenham would certainly be the nearest shopping town and there is a railway close by for Ellis to commute to London. Quite why Louise went to Newbury from here is a mystery but not impossible. Coincidentally they are also close to Witney which is "Lulling" in Miss Read's Thrush Green books. I have visited Witney and the Green on which she based Thrush Green.

These village are only about one and a half hour's drive from here so I intend to visit in the not too distant future. I shall be looking for a pub which fits the description of the Owl, and of course and a shepherd's ford.

I wish that some of you could come along with me.


Character Links from Smouldering Fire by Alison
Direct Links

Iain MacAslan (MacAslan)
MacAslan appears in Katherine's Marriage as well as in Smouldering Fire . Katherine and Alec camp on Ardfalloch land and eventually meet Iain. Iain visits them in Edinburgh and spends Christmas with them. Whilst in Edinburgh he forms a strong bond with Katherine's stepson Simon Wentworth. In House of Deer we are told that MacAslan has bronchitis and is staying with Katherine and Alec (the Mclarens). Margaret Finlay (Meg) (I feel so sorry for Meg!). Meg is at least mentioned in Katherine's Marriage . Her spaniel is the mother of Phil's dog Hero. Also Phil plans that one day her father, MacAslan, will marry Miss Finlay.

Janet, the Lowland servant who is difficult to get on with, appears in Smouldering Fire , where we learn that she was a major influence in MacAslan's upbringing, and now takes care of his mother. In Katherine's Marriage she helps Phil make tea, etc.

Donald / Dugal
In Smouldering Fire MacAslan's man is Donald (wife Morag) who would do anything to help MacAslan. In Katherine's Marriage his "man" is Dugal (wife Catriona). For along time I thought this was the same character. however once I actually owned copies of both books, the have different (if similar names) and the two wives are very different.

Morag appears to be straightforward and down to Earth, whereas Catriona lives behind a "blanket" and can possibly see into the future. No explanation is given about Donald in Katherine's Marriage and I'm not certain whether DES meant for this to be the same person or not.

Richard Medworth
Linda's son from her disastrous first marriage. In House of Deer we find out that he is running a successful business in Canada.

Indirect links

Phil MacAslan
Iain's Daughter from his marriage to Linda. We meet Phil in Katherine's Marriage where she becomes friendly with Katherine and a love interest to Simon Wentworth. In House of Deer she is a major player in the story.

Gregor MacAslan (Mac)
Iain's son, again from his marriage to Linda. Mac will eventually inherit Ardfalloch. He appears to have inherited many of his father's characteristics. He finally falls in love with Donny Eastwood.

Donny Eastwood
Made her first appearance in Charlotte Farlie . Her tyrannical parent is
again mentioned in House of Deer . This link ties the MacAslan books in with Charlotte Farlie .

Time Scale to the "MacAslan Series"

Smouldering Fire was written in 1935 and appears to be set in about this time.

In Katherine's Marriage Phil is about 16. We know from House of Deer that Greg is one year older than Phil. Therefore Katherine's Marriage must be set at least 18 years after Smouldering Fire making it set in at least 1958 ( it has a more sixties feel to me).

In House of Deer Greg is 23 and so this book is set 6 years after Katherine's Marriage and at least 24 years after Smouldering Fire . This book must be set in 1964 at the earliest. It was published in 1970.

On the whole the timescale works reasonably well.

Books that Connect by Kristi
They are linked by plot, location, or character.

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment
Golden Days
(Most people have these first two as Mrs. Tim Christie )
Mrs. Tim Gets A Job
Mrs. Tim Flies Home
Mrs. Tim of the Regiment

Kate Hardy I include here because it is set in Old Quinnings at an earlier time than Mrs. Tim Flies Home and has similar characters. It's not a sequel, but we catch up with several minor
characters in MTFH whom we first met in KH.

Barbara Buncle's Book
Miss Buncle Married
The Two Mrs. Abbots
Four Graces - we meet several characters from the later Miss Buncle Books.
Spring Magic (thanks to Jerri Chase) connects to the Barbara Buncle books because Janetta Walters books are read by the characters and one of her plot devices, being cut off by the tide, is used amusingly in the plot of SM.

Vittoria Cottage and all the books in that series (which follow immediately) have a connection to these books through location and the person of Arthur Abbot's old friend Dr."Monkey" Wrench who lives in or near
Wandlebury and also delivers the baby in VC.

Vittoria Cottage
Music in the Hills
Shoulder the Sky - Winter and Rough Weather in the UK
Bel Lamington
Fletcher's End (these last two are a series of their own, but interact with the characters from the first three books.
The Tall Stranger - Underwoods, where Barbie grows up is in Shepherdsford where Louise Armstrong and her father live.(Just to confuse us a bit, the Mainwarings, minor Shepherdsford players, live at Melville Manor, whereas Tonia Melville from Listening Valley inherits Melville House in Ryddleton.)
The Musgraves is also set in Shepherdsford.

Smouldering Fire
Katherine Wentworth
The Marriage of Katherine
Gerald and Elizabeth
The House of the Deer
The Enchanted Isle
(Known as Charlotte Fairlie in the UK and also as Blow the Wind Southerly in the US) - because of the Donny Eastwood link to MacAslan. The MacAslans from the first three books reappear in The House of the Deer (and Simon Wentworth is mentioned) which is a sequel to G&E. Donny Eastwood from The Enchanted Isle reappears as an older young woman in The House of the Deer .

The Sarah Morris books (thanks to Susan Daly) Mr. Heath, the vicar from the Katherine Wentworth books, goes over from Limbourne to officiate at he funeral of Sarah's mother. Also - Sarah's brothers go to the boy school, Bell's Hill in Larchester. They are day pupils. This is the school close to St. Elizabeth's in Charlotte Fairlie .

Five Windows connects to The Tall Stranger , through some characters. And Barbie France is the only character to connect to both the Drumburly world through her friendship with David Kirk (or Kirke) who grew up in Haines, five miles from Drumburly, and also because she goes to Ryddleton to get to Oddam castle.(There is a Barbie France blooper because her first mention in FW says she lives in a beautiful home near Loch Lommond, and in TS she has clearly lived with her Aunt Amalie in Underwoods, by Shepherdsford Village. And Edward Steyne from TS appears in The Musgraves which is also set in Shepherdsford which ties these books to Bel Lamington and Fletcher's End which house was supposed to be based on DES son's home in the Cotswolds.

Anna and Her Daughters is a stand alone story, but connects to The Musgraves because of the dramatic society's performing The Mulberry Coach.

Sarah Morris Remembers
Sarah's Cottage - Sarah grows up near Larchester, lives in London during the war, and spends much of her life at her grandparent's home, Craignethan, near Ryddleton which may be based on Moffat. The two Sarah books are a linked story, but many of the characters and place in them link to the Celia's House books which follow. Still Glides the Stream has a very tenuous connection to the Sarah books through the Delorme family in France. When Sarah's grandmother needs her appendix removed in Sarah's Cottage , they get Mr. MacTavish, the important doctor who saved Julia Harburn's Uncle Randall in The Blue Sapphire . I think both operations took place in or near to Edinburgh.

Summerhills , a sequel to Amberwell, Still Glides the Stream where we see Stephen Ayrton, his parents and cousin Emmy.

Looking for connections and 'pop ups' is as dreadfully addictive as looking up words in a dictionary or encyclopedia. I begin, and immediately see hundreds of others byways I have to explore. I just must . -- Kristi

Celia's House
Listening Valley
Anna and Her Daughters contains mention of Tocher House in Ryddleton (a tie in to the Mrs. Tim books) and Celia Dunne and also Tonia Melville (Mrs. Bay Coates) and her two children and husband who lost a leg in the war and is active in Boy Scouts and Town Council.....And because Jane's book the Mulberry Coach is produced by an amateur dramatic society in Shepherdsford, we have another tie between the Drumburly world and the Ryddleton world...

Did you know that Freda Lorimer appears in three books? Five Windows and Gerald and Elizabeth , and according to Alison Bunting, she is also in Music in the Hills . (I have to search out that one.)

(I have also identified Winteringham Square as the original London home of Anna and Her daughters, the home of Tonia Melville during the early part of her marriage, the home of Hester Christie's brother Richard and wife Mary, and, of course, Frances Field's childhood home. I certainly wonder if it had a real prototype in DES mind. If it doesn't, it is very difficult to keep the details straight through so many books.)

Books which seem more alone (alas) and don't even have minor links to other books as far as I can remember, are:

Rochester's Wife
The Young Clementine (aka Divorced from Reality and Miss Dean's Dilemma)
Green Money
Crooked Adam
The English Air
The Baker's Daughter
The Story of Rosabella Shaw
Young Mrs. Savage
A World in Spell


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