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Music In The Hills

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In this sequel to Vittoria Cottage, it has been five years since James had been at Mureth House, and he has traveled throughout the world. Now that he has left the army, he is ready to settle down to farming but still yearns for golden-haired Rhoda Ware, who had turned away from him. Not until a certain wise lady gave fate a nudge, did James even hope he could have both Rh In this sequel to Vittoria Cottage, it has been five years since James had been at Mureth House, and he has traveled throughout the world. Now that he has left the army, he is ready to settle down to farming but still yearns for golden-haired Rhoda Ware, who had turned away from him. Not until a certain wise lady gave fate a nudge, did James even hope he could have both Rhoda and Mureth Valley, that together they could learn to see beauty in the wild moorlands and hear the music in the hills.


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In this sequel to Vittoria Cottage, it has been five years since James had been at Mureth House, and he has traveled throughout the world. Now that he has left the army, he is ready to settle down to farming but still yearns for golden-haired Rhoda Ware, who had turned away from him. Not until a certain wise lady gave fate a nudge, did James even hope he could have both Rh In this sequel to Vittoria Cottage, it has been five years since James had been at Mureth House, and he has traveled throughout the world. Now that he has left the army, he is ready to settle down to farming but still yearns for golden-haired Rhoda Ware, who had turned away from him. Not until a certain wise lady gave fate a nudge, did James even hope he could have both Rhoda and Mureth Valley, that together they could learn to see beauty in the wild moorlands and hear the music in the hills.

30 review for Music In The Hills

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kim Kaso

    These books are comfort books for me. They may not be "great" literature, but they make me feel better when I am stressed and sad, and deserve every star for just that. The author creates a quiet world in which small things happen, but they happen to lovely characters about whom I care deeply. In this world, small events have a big impact. These books are a bit old-fashioned in the way they see the relationships between men and women, but it reflects the time during which they were written, and These books are comfort books for me. They may not be "great" literature, but they make me feel better when I am stressed and sad, and deserve every star for just that. The author creates a quiet world in which small things happen, but they happen to lovely characters about whom I care deeply. In this world, small events have a big impact. These books are a bit old-fashioned in the way they see the relationships between men and women, but it reflects the time during which they were written, and I take it in stride. It is lovely to know her books are being re-issued, and I have many left to read. It is an abundance of comfort awaiting me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bookworman

    Another cosy and satisfying read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    D.E. Stevenson is such a good writer. Unfortunately I guess I can understand why she's not more popular today--her style doesn't necessarily have a lot of zip. But sometimes you don't want zip. I like what one review (quoted on the back of this book) said: "She creates a small world of tempests and ripples in a teacup." So, this book is a bit different from the Miss Buncle books, or from Bel Lamington (although there are some crossover characters with Bel Lamington). This one is set in Scotland. S D.E. Stevenson is such a good writer. Unfortunately I guess I can understand why she's not more popular today--her style doesn't necessarily have a lot of zip. But sometimes you don't want zip. I like what one review (quoted on the back of this book) said: "She creates a small world of tempests and ripples in a teacup." So, this book is a bit different from the Miss Buncle books, or from Bel Lamington (although there are some crossover characters with Bel Lamington). This one is set in Scotland. So there's much more of a country feel to it, and it's quite reflective. There are plenty of well-written characters. James, who is somewhere in his 20's, has come to live with his uncle and aunt and learn the business of farming. He's fresh off a disappointment in love, and he is sad over it, but determined to make a go of his chosen career, farming. His uncle and aunt quickly take him to their heart and see with pleasure the way he loves the land and how he makes their way of life his. The rest of it is neighbors, friends, episodes, actions and reactions, etc. I think I've used this word about a number of books recently, but it truly is cozy. I think D.E. Stevenson and Angela Thirkell could both drive me slightly crazy with the way that characters keep showing up in subsequent stories. It seems they don't either of them exactly write sequels, but they re-use enough of their people to where one still feels obligated to go and hunt up the DOZENS of other books, because they're all connected. It would be much less of a hassle if my libraries actually had some of their books, but instead I am forced to monitor used book sales. Oh, well, I guess that means that for a while to come I can enjoy a slow trickle of new and enjoyable books, since it will take me a while to accumulate more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    4.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    3 1/2 stars I like borrowing a free Kindle book once a month (I'm a mooch at my core), but life is too short to scroll through all those titles which don't interest me. But one of my friends mentioned getting D.E. Stevenson's books on Kindle Prime so I checked one out. This is comfort reading through and through, along the lines of O. Douglas, Miss Read, Elizabeth Goudge, and Barbara Pym. Stevenson has been called Mistress of the Light Novel. The plot was predictable, but one thing made me nervous. 3 1/2 stars I like borrowing a free Kindle book once a month (I'm a mooch at my core), but life is too short to scroll through all those titles which don't interest me. But one of my friends mentioned getting D.E. Stevenson's books on Kindle Prime so I checked one out. This is comfort reading through and through, along the lines of O. Douglas, Miss Read, Elizabeth Goudge, and Barbara Pym. Stevenson has been called Mistress of the Light Novel. The plot was predictable, but one thing made me nervous. A friendship between our twenty something hero and a lonely young teen girl was developed as a potential romance if said hero was willing to wait. What may have been plausible in 1950 had an 'ick' feel in 2016. Recently I had a lambing experience with my grandson in which I was instructed on the placement of a ewe' s udder (it was much closer to the hind legs than I had supposed, based on my knowledge of human anatomy). So the synchronicity of reading this simple sentence at this moment of my life was sweet. "Daniel was sitting at a table studying a book about the anatomy of sheep." (smile) New words: pawky (showing a sly sense of humor) and thole (endure without complaint) Fun quote: It was pleasant to feel free. Sometimes when you stayed with people they insisted upon entertaining you, filling every moment of your day so that you felt 'cribbed, cabined and confined'..."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    I read this on the heels of book one (Vittoria Cottage) and I'm so glad I did. It was wonderful reading a story in which you knew the back story of the characters. Stevenson's writing is lovely. Mureth Farm is enchanting. I loved young James and his kindly ways. A lovely book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    A quiet and beautiful read-I really enjoyed this story!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cricket Muse

    The sequel to Vittoria Cottage focuses on James, who has taken up his Uncle Jock's offer to learn how to run his farm nestled in the picturesque Scottish countryside. Pining after the beauteous Rhoda, the golden-haired girl of his dreams who turned down his offer of proposal because she is dedicated to painting, James devotes himself to learning how to become the best farmer he can be. This proves difficult at times, for he must deal with sheep rustlers, getting to know the local customs, and no The sequel to Vittoria Cottage focuses on James, who has taken up his Uncle Jock's offer to learn how to run his farm nestled in the picturesque Scottish countryside. Pining after the beauteous Rhoda, the golden-haired girl of his dreams who turned down his offer of proposal because she is dedicated to painting, James devotes himself to learning how to become the best farmer he can be. This proves difficult at times, for he must deal with sheep rustlers, getting to know the local customs, and not being distracted by the temptress niece of the local gentry. While the story at times seems to be ever so slowly pedaling along to an anticipated conclusion, it's at the same time a pleasant exercise in learning how to revel in the pace of Scottish country life. This is DE Stevenson at her best. Her characters, from minor to main, are drawn out into fully-developed people with likable nuances that make them practically walk off the page. As James yearns for Rhoda, we hold our breath as he nearly makes two very bad decisions with his future. Jock and Mamie's relationship makes a person believe in marriage, which compounds James' longing to settle down with the right girl. It's not until the last page readers get a hint of this being a possibility. Stevenson knows how create a cliff-hanger, that's for sure. All the more reason to look for the next book in the series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    classic reverie

    You can read Vittoria Cottage to get a beter understanding of this story but as the author stated before starting the story, it is not necessary but I am glad I did. Each story is quite enjoyable following the family of Caroline Derek. In this story focus is on her sister and her husband's farm, which is colorful with the area and the people. Caroline's son James is the focus here. You find out about some other characters they were in the first book but the focus is this Scottish farming town. T You can read Vittoria Cottage to get a beter understanding of this story but as the author stated before starting the story, it is not necessary but I am glad I did. Each story is quite enjoyable following the family of Caroline Derek. In this story focus is on her sister and her husband's farm, which is colorful with the area and the people. Caroline's son James is the focus here. You find out about some other characters they were in the first book but the focus is this Scottish farming town. The first book and this book give you a taste of socialism via the United Kingdom and how it effects the lives of the community, interesting for this American girl. Love this series and looking to read the 3 and last book of this series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Stevenson's style of writing. However, I had a couple of bones of contention: 1. Did anyone else want to slap James upside his head? Firstly, because of his petulent attitude towards his mother's remarriage, and secondly, because of his complete lack of constancy toward the woman he loved. I just couldn't view him with a very sympathetic eye. 2. I'm not a fan of such an abrupt ending.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Basically, you spend the entire book waiting for something to happen. Then it ends. Stevenson is the worst at endings. The WORST. Luckily I read the last book in this trilogy first, or I would have given up on it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    These abrupt endings are a bit frustrating! First Vittoria Cottage and now this one. This second book in the Dering family trilogy focuses on Caroline's son, James. Caroline herself is hardly mentioned which was frustrating as I wanted more about her and what happened after Vittoria Cottage's abrupt ending. Instead I just get another abrupt ending involving different characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Re-read as audiobook.

  14. 5 out of 5

    CLM

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A delightful reread. The only flaw with this book is Rhoda's certainty that she has to choose between being an artist and becoming James' wife. I understand she is a product of her era but 1) she is portrayed as being modern, and 2) being an artist is far more compatible with marriage than most careers and she will have plenty of domestic support. Not to mention, I recall her painting away in the third book of this trilogy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I got a little bit bogged down in the domesticity of this little novel for a while, but things brightened up a bit towards the middle. It is, after all, comfort reading, so one can't expect many twists and surprises, but the writing is excellent, as usual, even if it is one of D E Stevenson's lesser works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I loved this book, at least as much as Vittoria Cottage. Such a subtle story, where what matters is the characters and how they interact, all set in as charming and peaceful a setting as is possible to imagine. The older I get, the more I love reading D.E. Stevenson; I could not fully appreciate her books as a younger woman.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Claude

    Another lovely read. Not much is happening, but reading D.E. Stevenson is always a pleasure. On to "Shoulder The Skies"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    An old fashioned comfort read with a Scottish setting. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2017/1... An old fashioned comfort read with a Scottish setting. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2017/1...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    3.75 stars She knew how wonderful married life could be, but she knew it could be wonderful only if two people were absolutely right for one another and could share all of their pleasures and interests. This is definitely a 'Marriage Plot' sort of novel, but with two large side dishes of farming life and Scotland to round it out. Mamie and Jock are the elder couple - the owners of a largish estate called Mureth - and they serve as a happy example to Mamie's nephew James, who is 'in need of a w 3.75 stars She knew how wonderful married life could be, but she knew it could be wonderful only if two people were absolutely right for one another and could share all of their pleasures and interests. This is definitely a 'Marriage Plot' sort of novel, but with two large side dishes of farming life and Scotland to round it out. Mamie and Jock are the elder couple - the owners of a largish estate called Mureth - and they serve as a happy example to Mamie's nephew James, who is 'in need of a wife' (to quote Jane Austen). The character of James connects the plot to the first novel in the Dering Family trilogy. Not long returned from his post-war military service, James is casting around for a career and a place that he can make home. His mother's marriage (which takes place in Vittoria Cottage, the first novel in the series) has altered his plans of returning to his childhood home; but unbeknownst to James, his childless aunt and uncle have long cherished the idea of making James the heir to Mureth. Now all he needs is the right helpmeet. After being rejected by his childhood love Rhoda, James is briefly attracted to a lovely and charming visitor in the neighbourhood. Of course everyone but James can see that this beguiling match would be a disaster. The predictable workings of this aspect of the plot in no way detract from one's enjoyment of the whole, though, as Stevenson's marriage plots are always just the frame around the more important business of sketching a complete scene. There is a troublesome neighbour and a sheep stealing side-plot, but it all feels like background for the Stevenson's wise musings on human nature and her vivid descriptions of this Scottish Borders community. The character of Mamie - humble-hearted, but so emotionally astute - is really the centre of the novel, much more so than James. The reader feels connected to the novel through her, and she certainly wields the pen of fate. Although this novel doesn't engage the interest or emotions to quite the same degree as Vittoria Cottage it was still a pleasure to read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Predictable in parts, but unpredictable in its disturbing (if acceptable-at-the-time, I suppose) misogyny. And I never saw the utterly repulsive whiff of romance between an adult man and a fourteen-year-old girl coming. And are you telling me that in the 40's if you suspected a man put cocaine or marijuana in the cocktails at his party you wouldn't go to the police? Really? Wow. I don't know if I want to read the third book of the trilogy or not. I like Stevenson as a rule, but this book went a l Predictable in parts, but unpredictable in its disturbing (if acceptable-at-the-time, I suppose) misogyny. And I never saw the utterly repulsive whiff of romance between an adult man and a fourteen-year-old girl coming. And are you telling me that in the 40's if you suspected a man put cocaine or marijuana in the cocktails at his party you wouldn't go to the police? Really? Wow. I don't know if I want to read the third book of the trilogy or not. I like Stevenson as a rule, but this book went a long way toward canceling out the enjoyment I took in the Miss Buncle or Mrs. Tim books, or even Vittoria Cottage, the beginning of this story. Part of me wants to see if the third book reveals whether (view spoiler)[Rhoda really does give up her art. Because she said she would have to. And I think that would just bring rage. It's hilarious (in a nauseating way) that she admits to being dog-in-the-mangerish, and Mamie tells her it's not true - honey, no, it's true. And it's bad. If James is wandering around the countryside kissing other girls (which he didn't, but everyone assumed he did), is this someone you ought to give up your vocation and life's work for? REALLY? (hide spoiler)] I don't know if I want to know. I liked the characters (misogyny apart). I liked the setting. I hated everything else. I think I'll move on for a while.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mela

    Another charming cozy reading. Well written. Likable characters (besides main persons, Lizzie, Greta and Mr Couper are especially worth mentioning). Homelike setting. And a bit of wisdom between lines. "She was like a person with too many clothes on, you know. She couldn't feel the warmth of the sun" One of those books that make you feel better, not in a way that rom-com or chick-lit do it - but more smoothly. You can read it as a standalone book but if you can - read first Victtoria Cottage. It is Another charming cozy reading. Well written. Likable characters (besides main persons, Lizzie, Greta and Mr Couper are especially worth mentioning). Homelike setting. And a bit of wisdom between lines. "She was like a person with too many clothes on, you know. She couldn't feel the warmth of the sun" One of those books that make you feel better, not in a way that rom-com or chick-lit do it - but more smoothly. You can read it as a standalone book but if you can - read first Victtoria Cottage. It is curious but true those who make a habit of saying unkind things are often the most easily hurt and offended when their victims retaliate.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Of course I've read this many times before, probably 40 or more years ago, and I own a print version (US book club edition) as well. But the story of James and Daniel and the sheep-stealers never seems to pall. And the aristo who is so busy taking care of others' children that she neglects her own is also a good theme!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    If you like D. E. Stevenson's books, then you will like this one. It takes place on a farm in Scotland. You will get caught up in her descriptions of the Scottish countryside and her characters. I suppose these days you would call this a 'cozy' read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I liked the first one better (Vittoria's Cottage), but this book was good, too. I'm looking forward to reading the third (Shoulder the Sky). This is a sweet, bucolic book set in the Scottish countryside during WWII.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jannah (Cloud Child)

    4.5/5 Lovely book of course. But what is WITH the author continuously cutting off the MOST IMPORTANT PART of an ending? DAMN AND BLAST. I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEEEEXT.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Niki (nikilovestoread)

    D. E. Stevenson had such a talent for writing. The story in Music in the Hills is rather a simple one, but the characters go straight to your heart. I am really enjoying this trilogy. It doesn't have the humor of the Miss Buncle series and the Mrs. Tim series, but it is all heart. Her love of Scotland and its people comes alive upon the page. "At a time when fiction is probably at its lowest ebb, the appearance of a new D. E. Stevenson novel is cause for rejoicing. Miss Stevenson's deft handling D. E. Stevenson had such a talent for writing. The story in Music in the Hills is rather a simple one, but the characters go straight to your heart. I am really enjoying this trilogy. It doesn't have the humor of the Miss Buncle series and the Mrs. Tim series, but it is all heart. Her love of Scotland and its people comes alive upon the page. "At a time when fiction is probably at its lowest ebb, the appearance of a new D. E. Stevenson novel is cause for rejoicing. Miss Stevenson's deft handling of characterization and superb delineation of social patterns earns her a place in literature which may be compared with that of Jane Austen." A reviewer wrote this review with the publication of one of her books. High praise for such a wonderful author.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meta

    Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Iffah

    Easily of my favourite DE Stevenson books. I am so glad that Kindle has it and that it has been recently republished. I can't wait for the book to arrive!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    #DEStevensonReadAlong on IG

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "Here's a refreshing, appealing story of love with a beautiful rural setting and with the charm and poignance of a lilting, haunting melody. It's the story of the love Mamie and Jock Johnstone have for each other, the deep, trusting love of a happily married couple, and of the love they feel for their farm and their chosen way of live. But it's the story, too, of the more troubled hearts of the younger generation. "James Dering, the Johnstones' nephew, has come to live with them and learn farming "Here's a refreshing, appealing story of love with a beautiful rural setting and with the charm and poignance of a lilting, haunting melody. It's the story of the love Mamie and Jock Johnstone have for each other, the deep, trusting love of a happily married couple, and of the love they feel for their farm and their chosen way of live. But it's the story, too, of the more troubled hearts of the younger generation. "James Dering, the Johnstones' nephew, has come to live with them and learn farming. He quickly shows a natural bent for the work, but he cannot be truly satisfied with his present or the promise of the future because golden-haired Rhoda Ware has turned him down for a career in London. Holly Douglas, Lady Steele's pretty, gay niece, tries her best to help James forget Rhoda, and Eleanor, Lady Steele's romantic, impetuous young daughter, complicates his life still further. The course of love is far from smooth in youth! "To add to the problems, Daniel Reid, the able but unusual shepherd who is also a newcomer to the farm, becomes the center of a disturbing mystery that leads to an exciting climax. Music in the Hills is a story about likeable people which unfolds with suspense and drama, and which will delight as well as tug at the heartstrings." ~~front & back flaps What can I say? I would so much rather read about a world where things come right in the end, a world where people are just people, and generally more good than mean or evil. Somehow, a world where tea is the fourth meal of the day fits that preference very nicely. This is the second book in the trilogy, and can be called a sequel to Vittoria Cottage, but only tangentially.

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