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Celia's House

(Celia #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  923 ratings  ·  121 reviews
There's no place like home

Celia Dunne may be an old spinster, but she's no fool. She knows that changing her will to leave the grand family estate, Dunnian, to her grand-nephew will ruffle feathers within the family. But Celia also knows that Dunnian has stood solemn and empty for far too long, and she intends for that to change after she's gone. Humphrey's children will t
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1943)
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4.01  · 
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 ·  923 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Celia's House, written in 1943 by popular Scottish author D.E. Stevenson, is a cozy, charming read, a little old-fashioned, with some lovely moments. Readers who like nostalgic books with some light romance, like The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, will probably enjoy this book. Also, about half of this novel is a 1920s retelling of Mansfield Park, so how you feel about retellings generally and that Austen novel in particular will affect how well you like Celia's House.

Scottish border country

Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hoped – in fact I expected - that I would fall in love with ‘Celia’s House’.

It promised things that I love, and things that I know D E Stevenson is very, very good at:

•A Scottish setting
•A big house
•The history of a family.

I did fall in love with the story as it began, but sadly I fell out of love again before very long. I found things to love, I found moments to love, but it wasn’t the same. Because the spell had been broken.

Let me explain.

The story opens early in the twentieth century. Celia
Julie  Durnell
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk
An enchanting family saga that I am so fond of!
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dunnian is a Scottish estate that has been home to the Dunnes for generations. The story begins at the end of the 19th century with the elderly Celia and takes the family through WWII. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Abigail Bok
When is a story an homage and when is it a ripoff? Celia's House invites such speculation. Homage, I would say, requires at a minimum open acknowledgment, and never does this book let on that it is Jane Austen's Mansfield Park retold in the first half of the twentieth century. There is one chapter titled "Persuasion" but that's as close as we get to a hint. For an homage to succeed it also needs to go beyond mere plot points and similar characters by reexamining and working within the themes of ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Celia's House. The funny thing is that I read this as a teenager, and I've often tried to think of the title through the years. I knew it had something to do with Celia. Well, a friend in my bookclub requested to read it. guessed it....I rediscovered a book I read probably 30 years ago. How fun is that?

The book is an old-fashioned, comfortable read from 1943. So, I guess people were wanting a pleasant book to escape from the war. Celia Dunne decided to change her will to leave the fami
classic reverie
Enjoyed this historical read where history was in the progress of being at time of significance since it was written in 1943 during world war 2 but the book starts at 1905. A family history of Dunne's live in this house built long ago by a past family member & all the drama that goes with friends & family.
It was hard to put this book down & I wanted to start this one before reading more of Listening Valley which while reading even though they say the stories are different many chara
Celia Dunne has lived 90 years at Dunnian. She was born the day after Waterloo and has lived into the new century. Now she's elderly and dying and knows she has to leave her beloved Dunnian. There have always been Dunnes at Dunnian, even before their house was built. Her nephew, Maurice, and his wife Nina are dying to get their hands on Dunnian to make "improvements," but Celia has other plans. She summons her great-nephew Humphrey, on leave from the Navy and determines he loves Dunnian as much ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book covers about 40 years of one family's history. In 1905, old Celia Dunne is deciding who should inherit the family estate. She settles on her great-nephew, Humphrey Dunne, after she assures herself that he really loves the place like she does and would settle down there and raise his family. Her condition is that even though he already has 3 children, he must have another daughter and name her Celia, and that daughter must be the next heiress to the estate.
The Dunnes move in, years go b
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
1943. So, MID-2oth century women's lit rather.

Historical interest. Written by a woman, in the midst of WWII Britain (or Scotland).

So sweet. But not TOO sweet, and not too fluffy. Sure, it's a charming little romance that well beguiled my Sunday afternoon, but it also had a few little thoughtful moments.

Stevenson does relationships pretty well. She also does slightly to quite broken heroines pretty well (and helps them become whole again in a fairly realistic manner).

And she always (okay in t
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, historical-fiction, e, cozy
Another delightful book by D.E. Stevenson. I didn't want it to stop, ever!
Loveable characters and a great plot in which the family house is almost a character.
I can't wait to start reading Listening Valley. Although I do know it's not exactly a sequel.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoever recommended D.E. Stevenson, thank you!!
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is only the second D E Stevenson book I have read, most of her books are now out of print, and they are hugely sort after and very difficult to find. Therefore even though this is a registered bookcrossing book, I am keeping it for now - instead of passing it on ( bad bad bookcrosser!) and if I do come across another copy I will then let it travel on.

I absolutley loved this book. The book opens in 1905 with the first Ceila Dunne - 90 year old owner of Dunnian house. She informs her astonish
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The tale of a grandmother leaving her house to her namesake granddaughter instead of the oldest son. Very untraditional back in those days. However, what Celia wanted, Celia got.

The story steeped in traditions was about a family of 7 and a cousin all growing up in Dunnian. It was a very entertaining story with laughter, joy, love, jealousy,sadness and strong family ties. A time when there were several maids and a Gardner and a cook, only they were workers, not slaves s
Mary Catelli
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-books, mundane
Forty years in the life of a family and a house. . . in 1905 the elderly Miss Celia Dunne is visited by her grandnephew Humphrey and tells him, contrary to the expectations of her oldest brother's son, she's leaving the house to him, and after him to his daughter Celia -- even though he has only a son and two daughters, neither named Celia.

This meanders into a tale of the family growing up; the son Mark getting his feeling for the place and being told by the gardener that he could eat the apples
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE this book. It was my first D. E. Stevenson and is still my favorite.
There was a little too much inspiration from Mansfield Park. I am afraid, that someone could have called it in a way less politely. Sometimes, the similarities were too obvious, even to me. Nonetheless, there were the differences (from Austen's book) too - fortunately.

Most of all, there was a bigger potential, the atmosphere of changing times and on the other hand - not changing values (in the good sense of the word). There was a bitter-sweet tone that could have created a remarkable novel.

I was
This was a fun story that told the story of a family across four decades. There was one curse word that was used about five times throughout the book so that detracted a little. Still I would read more by this author.
Kelsey Bryant
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful book! Review coming soon.
Reading "Celia's House" is as comforting as sipping a cup of Earl Grey tea while looking looking out into a wildflower garden.

Re-issued from its original printing in the 1940's, the book covers several generations of the Dunne family residing at at the Dunnian estate in the U.K. When the book opens, we meet Celia, the elderly, unmarried auntie who will choose Dunnian's fate when she passes on. Bucking convention, she makes a very unusual choice, setting the book's plot in motion.

Stevenson inclu
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so adorable. Like Rainbow Valley meets Rilla of Ingleside meets Mansfield Park. I really enjoyed it, especially the first half, with Humphrey as more of a character and when the children were small. The Mansfield Park retelling in the middle was a little overdone--I would have preferred a more subtle retelling than the scene-by-scene retelling we got--but even still, I was willing to stay up very, very late finishing it, because it was just so sweet and I liked it so much.
Cricket Muse
Some have compared this as a rewriting of Austen's Mansfield Park, yet I don't totally see it being so. And if it was it was badly pulled off since there are too many characters, some which add nothing to the plot and quite superfluous. What DES does provide, is what she is quite adept at doing-creating a family saga centering around a beloved family estate.

What doesn't work is the fragmentation of plot by skipping from one character focus to another. It overall had a sense of needing some more
I think if I had known in advance that the plot would follow so closely to Mansfield Park, I would have liked it better. I was really enjoying it, until I started to recognize the familiar plot line and then it fell flat because I knew exactly what was going to happen and it was only a matter of laboring through the rest of the book. The storyline was drawn out for several chapters more after the Fanny-equivalent and the Edmund-equivalent got together, so it seemed to drag at the end. Unfortunat ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e, historical-fiction
Another lovely book by D E Stevenson. My only regret is that I read it AFTER "Listening Valley", but one really should read it BEFORE, so that the people and events are placed in the proper chronology. The story starts in 1905, skips over WWI and ends in June 1942. I didn't find it quite as good as "Listening Valley", but it was a very comfortable experience and I enjoyed reading about the Dunne family, their lives and their relationships. It conjures up very well what home life was like in the ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think anyone can claim that D E Stevenson is a great literary talent, but what she can do – write gentle undemanding family stories - she does very well indeed. I really enjoyed this uncomplicated tale of a house and its occupants, set in Scotland, over a number of years, and with all the ups and downs of family life amidst a middle-class environment. No great dramas, no great tragedies, no literary devices or modernist twists, just a lovely tale to relax with.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book this time through. It takes many aspects of Austen's 'Mansfield Park' - without copying it. There were a few story-lines or characters we wished she had told us more about - but a very satisfying story, that centers around an estate in Scotland. The house really is almost a character in the story, and I enjoy this type of book.
Gina Boyd
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generations of a happy family living in a big country house in Scotland? Starting in 1905? It's ever so sweet and comforting! EVER. SO!

Seriously, I love these kinds of stories. Charming, warm, predictable...sometimes it's just the thing.
A clever retelling of Mansfield Park, if you pay attention to the way the characters follow the story.. Mark is Edmund, Debbie is Fannie, Tessa is Mary Crawford, Ect. However, the whole plot is not the same, and Celia has her own fresh story. Quiet good.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
Another winner from D.E. Stevenson. Like Amberwell, it highlights a home in the country and the various generations that live there. No huge plot. Just her trademark cheerful conversation and interesting relationships.
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Full name: Dorothy Emily Stevenson.
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 or Dorothy L. Sayers (to name but a few) her books are funny, intensely readable, engaging and dependable

Other books in the series

Celia (2 books)
  • Listening Valley
“People are apt to take you at your own valuation . . . I mean if you lie down on the floor and look like a doormat people can't be blamed for wiping their boots on you.” 2 likes
“It's a great blessing to have a good memory . . . it's my picture book and I can turn over the leaves when I like. So many of my memories are centred here in Dunnian, so many people have lived in the old house. There were seven of us and they're all dead except me, but I can see them if I shut my eyes. Their youth is here—still here in Dunnian.” 0 likes
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