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The Four Graces

(Miss Buncle #4)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  145 reviews

Little Women meets World War II in this heartwarming story from beloved author D.E. Stevenson

Mr. Grace is vicar of a country parish in World War II England. Blessed with four grown-up daughters, three of whom live at home, he has constant help tending to his regular duties and responsibilities toward the war effort.

Liz, Sal, and Tilly Grace have more than enough to k

Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1974 by Fontana Press (first published 1946)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melindam by: CC
Another lovely, enticing book by D.E. Stevenson that warms your heart & delights your soul.

Once again, we are back in the inimitable English countryside, in Wandlebury and in Chevis Place, the lovely settings for Miss Buncle Married & The Two Mrs. Abbotts.

In a way The Four Graces starts where The Two Mrs. Abbotts left off and we can witness the wedding of Archie Chevis-Cobbe & Jane through the eyes of Tillie (Mathilda) Grace, 3rd daughter of Mr Grace, the vicar of Chevis Place. But
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: series
"Life was like that, thought Liz. You drifted on for years and years --
then, suddenly, everything happened at once and all the things that had seemed so stable dissolved and disintegrated before your eyes ... and life was new."

The story revolves around the daily lives of Rev Grace and his daughters -- three, in fact, the fourth is living in London and is only a minor character in this story. The characters from the previous books are secondary characters and only footnotes in some cases.

We see a
Carol Bakker
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol Bakker by: Hope Owsley
I'm giving this five stars because this may be my new favorite comfort read. I imagine re-reading this as soon as a few years smudge my memory of it. It's easy, it's witty, it's English. There's a vicar—Mr Grace. His four daughters. Pots and pots of tea. English village pastoral.

The vicarage is a tight circle: The girls talked..., but their conversation veered to and fro in a manner which a stranger would have found bewildering in the extreme, but which the Graces found perfectly natural.

Not mu
This English village novel picks up where The Two Mrs. Abbotts left off, with Archie Chevis Cobbe's wedding. Archie and his bride only play a minor role in this story, however. The main characters are the Grace sisters, daughters of the vicar in Chevis Green. There's the eldest, Sal, strong and proud; outspoken Liz; Addie in the WAAF and shy Tillie. Does that sound like four other sisters you may know and love? Similar to Little Women, this story is about the daily lives of the four sisters duri ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started to read this book, but alarm bells began ringing as the name "Abbott" was mentioned. I raced to Goodreads to see if this was part of the Miss Buncle series, and after doing a bit of digging, found out that it was #4. That information is not clearly stated, but if you go to the author page and look at the series, you'll see that it is listed.

Since I have not yet read #3 (The Two Mrs. Abbotts), I'm putting this aside for now. (Darn it, I was really enjoying it!)

UPDATE: March 31, 2015

3 s
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Really it's between 3 and 4 stars. It would have been better if it was longer, I think, with more time developed to make the sisters stand out from each other a bit more.
This book can stand on its own, though it has extremely incidental references to a couple of characters from The Two Mrs. Abbotts. It's really not important to get the connection, though, as this book is about an entirely different family.
It's World War II, and the Graces are a family of four daughters and their father. They lea
What a lovely book! I've been a fan of the Mrs. Tim and Miss Buncle series for years but I've never had a chance to read any of her others until now. This is the wonderful story of a widowed vicar living in rural WWII England with his three daughters. (The fourth daughter is in London and doesn't figure in much.) It's about a fete and trouble over the church flowers, rationing, a designing Aunt from the city and young love. A sweet tale that reminded me of Miss Read or Karon, it has certainly en ...more
Kathleen Vincenz
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Four Graces are the four daughters of Mr. Grace a minister during World War II. You feel great poignancy reading this knowing that Britain was fighting for the country that D.E. Stevenson was describing but that when they won, they lost it anyway through modernity and industrialization. Too bad. The country she describes is one where young women are free to work, love, and play. Where friends and family are treasured. As someone said, "It is Little Women meets World War II."

As I read it, I h
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-reading
The vicar of Chevis Green is a widower with four daughters, each of whom is splendidly drawn by Stevenson with her own personality and challenges. Addie is serving the war effort by living and working in London. Liz is a "land girl", serving as a farm hand in place of a young man who has gone off to fight. Sal and Tilly live at home, helping their father with his parish responsibilities. Though a couple of the girls have love interests, this book cannot be classified as a romance. It doesn't rea ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
What can I say about this book? I really really enjoyed it. This is the first book by this author that I've read and I'm hoping to collect the rest.
It's a book that has no great adventure, no mysteries and no great secrets yet it's a very good read. Human nature is the thread running through the book. The characters were wonderful. The four sisters and their father were nice genuine people with out being boring. But I loved William. From the start I wanted him to find happiness and contentment
A happy read. I do enjoy D.E. Stevenson books. It's called the Four Graces, but it's really about 3 sisters as the 4th is out of town during much of the book. The story takes place in an idyllic English village during WWII - but the focus is on the Grace family, not the war. The story picks up where the last of the Buncle books left off. As with the 3rd book - you don't need to have read the others to read this one. You may want to hop back to the 3rd after reading this, however, as the story is ...more
Jannah (Cloud Child)
Damn that ending! Come on come ON! WHAT do we need to do to stop getting all these half baked endings around here dear D. E. Stevenson?

Of course it was a good book. It always is. Touch of a meandering dream of course but I wouldn't have it any other way. What I would like to have is less cowardice on the ending style. -_-

The three of the four Grace girls (Liz, Sal and Tilly) are delightful in their own ways (feel the title is a little misleading as the fourth, Addie, is barely in the book) along
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the 4th book in the loosely connected series that started with Miss Buncle. I have enjoyed all these books but this one really resonated with me for whatever reason. I think it reminded me of the best parts of Little Women with the interactions between the four sisters and I picture Mr. George as being very similar to Anthony Hopkins in the movie Shadowlands. I read several passages aloud to friends and went to look for my own copy on the used book market. Alas, this seems to be one of t ...more
Make yourself a cup of tea, and settle down for a cozy English village read! A charming tale.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 18tbr
I loved this humorous romantic comedy with the four Grace sisters set in a small English town during World War II, so in addition to the usual romantic vicissitudes, the characters have to cope with rationing, blackouts, etc. I find this prolifIc author can be very uneven, but this is one of her best, and if you enjoyed Miss Buncle’s Book, you’ll probably love this one, too.
The Four Graces
1946. Published as if the war is not yet over.

So delightful. Can be read as "Miss Buncle #4" or can be read alone. I did enjoy revisiting some of the Buncle characters.

I'm going to experiment a little (I just found a library with LOTS of D. E. Stevenson). I want to know if the earlier works, especially the war years books, are substantially better than the later ones. So far, I agree with that.

I didn't LOVE "The Two Mrs. Abbots" (Miss Buncle #3) nearly as much as the first two.
"You drifted on for years...then everything happened at once, things...dissolved before your eyes...and life was new"
By sally tarbox on 27 July 2017
Format: Paperback
An absolute delight of a book - not great literature but intensely lovely and joyous without being in the least soppy and sentimental.
The Four Graces are the daughters of a country vicar; WW2 is on, and while Liz is a Land Girl and Addie living a rather more sophisticated life in London, Tilly and Sal focus on domestic and parish aff
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved D.E. Stevenson's MISS BUNCLE, because it was fun and funny. I recommended it to friends, and even gave it as a gift to my mother.
Stevenson is an excellent writer and tells a pleasant story. That's what THE FOUR GRACES is -- a pleasant story, with nothing too upsetting, a comfortable English setting and a HEA. But in my view, the tale wasn't weighty enough to fully reveal the four people of the title -- maybe really of only two? And for many rather obvious reasons (war time, four sisters
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book just begs to be re-issued by Persephone. Beautiful, beautiful story of four sisters in England during World War II. Very quiet, and yet very, very funny. One of my favorite lines: "even the best people have at least one bat in the belfry."

Definitely recommended--and I'm keeping my eyes open for more Stevenson.
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This was just okay for me. I wasn't even sure how this book relates to the first three in the series. It is fun to read of times gone by when life seemed more simple, although I'm not sure it really way.
I usually give higher stars to D.E. Stevenson books, and this one was enjoyable as usual, but the plot thickened and then thinned much too fast and I missed Barbara Buncle. She wasn't in it at all, even though its 4th in the Buncle series. It's still a pleasant book with engaging characters and a lovely English village setting.
Always a delight.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely ending to a sweet series.
Stevenson ' s characters, as delightful as they are, are usually just portraits. Barbara Buncle, for instance, lives a charmed life and one can't really imagine anything seriously going wrong in her life. The only REAL person in that while series seemed to be the Dr's wife. Which is why I was surprised when, a couple of chapters into this book, William Single calmly walked off the page in 3-dimensional form.

The novel was delightful and, as many others have said, had much in common with Little W
Corrie Ann
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just the sort of book that I love. Whilst I read many different genres, this type of lighthearted, romantic style of novel filled with social observation is really my favorite type of book to curl up with and forget about the world.

The Four Graces tells the story of four sisters, their parson father, and the village that they call home. The family is very close, and although the four sisters are all quite different, they have a beautiful bond with one another and with their father. This
Norma Huss
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historic, non-mystery
The four Graces are four sisters with that surname. This book is historic now, but not when it was written. It takes place in England during World War II, but the story-line rather reminds me of something between wars---graceful (of course) and mannerly. The sisters and their father (the local Vicar) get along just fine in their small town---until Aunt Rona and a couple of men enter the scene. Actually, one daughter works in London in the war effort.

The cover of the current reprint book I read
Kilian Metcalf
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
War is so inconvenient. That horrible man, Hitler, has reached into every life in Great Britain. What can the people of rural England do but respond with grace and humor? The idea to keep calm and carry on comes from this period, and D E Stevenson lived it herself, trying to keep her own family together while her husband, a member of highland regiment, was often deployed. Instead of losing herself in fear and grief, she watched and learned from the people around her and used what she learned to ...more
Stephanie C
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of L.M. Montgomery, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Dorothy Sayers
Rarely have I read a book that makes me feel so much like the author could be my best friend. Or at least her characters could be.

My favorite discussion in the book: "I don't mind much," declared Liz. "I look forward to this all day--sprawling and drinking tea and saying whatever happens to come into my head. Heaven will be like this--not golden gates and harps."

"Some people want harps," objected Sal.

Thank you, Sal, for understanding that some of us would be incredibly bereft if we were deprived
Niki (nikilovestoread)
While the main characters happen to live in the same town as Barbara Buncle/Abbott, I wouldn't consider this a fourth installment in the Barbara Buncle series. She is not even mentioned once. Only two people from the previous three books make a few brief appearances. Honestly, this is easily my least favorite of the quartet. Maybe it's just that I'm busy with the season, but I just was not drawn to the characters like I was in the first three books. (Maybe I missed Barbara! lol) I'm rating it 3. ...more
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The blurb states Little Women meets WWII. I'd say Stevenson is a 20th century shadow of Jane Austen. Her female characters are so delightful and whimsical and she captures village life in full. The four Grace sisters are anything but typical of their time and yet they're so much fun to meet and know it's no wonder so many people are attracted to them! This is a perfect curl up in a blanket with a cocoa, tea or coffee and wile away an afternoon book.
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Dorothy Emily Stevenson was a best-selling Scottish author. She published more than 40 romantic novels over a period of more than 40 years. Her father was a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson.

D.E. Stevenson had an enormously successful writing career: between 1923 and 1970, four million copies of her books were sold in Britain and three million in the States. Like E.F. Benson, Ann Bridge, O. Douglas

Other books in the series

Miss Buncle (4 books)
  • Miss Buncle's Book (Miss Buncle, #1)
  • Miss Buncle Married (Miss Buncle, #2)
  • The Two Mrs. Abbotts (Miss Buncle, #3)
“The best way to plant happiness is to do at least one thing every day to make one person happier, and to do it for God. That shouldn't be difficult. we can all do that.” 3 likes
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