The Young Country Doctor Books by Vernon Coleman

Vernon Coleman


The Young Country Doctor Books is a series describing the work, life and adventures of a traditional country doctor in the 1970s – living and working in the English village of Bilbury, which is situated in the north of the county of Devon. The series of books have the generic title of `The Young Country Doctor’ but each title in the series has its own subtitle – eg the first book in the series is `The Young Country Doctor Book: Bilbury Chronicles’. The books are all written by Dr Vernon Coleman, a former general practitioner. The first book, Bilbury Chronicles, was originally published in hardback in 1992 by Chilton Designs Publishers (ISBN 0950352756). The Bilbury books were serialised in a number of publications, notably The People’s Friend in the UK. Other books have been added steadily over the years with the 15th book, Bilbury Memories being published in 2018. All the books are now available as paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon. In 2020 the first three books in the series were made available as unabridged digital audiobooks.

Plot summary
In Bilbury Chronicles, the first book in the series, the doctor arrives in the village of Bilbury. He is very inexperienced and has never worked in general practice. His employer and mentor is Dr Brownlow, the ageing family doctor who runs a single handed practice in the village. To begin with the Doc stays at the local public house (the Duck and Puddle) where he meets Patsy, a farmer’s daughter, who is working as a waitress. The first book follows the young doctor as he becomes accustomed to work as a GP, develops a romance with Patsy and makes good friends with several of the villagers. Many of the stories in the books are medical but there are also a number of situations which describe village life in more general terms.

A few reviews of the Bilbury books:

`Coleman handles the humour with the assured touch that comes from having already written a string of successful titles (and) manages to retain a heart-warming affection for his fellow man.’
Yorkshire Evening Post

`You can sniff the clean Devon air and, despite the fiction, hear and recognise characters indigenous to any West Country village. Dr Coleman harnesses the essence of village life with a wealth of characters and strings them along on a tide of gentle humour. One of the pleasures of this tale is that so many people will recognise Bilbury under a different name.’
Western Morning News

`Very readable, funny and full of richly drawn characters.’
Southern Evening Echo

`A cornucopia of colourful characters helps to weave a rich tapestry of village life subtly tempered with the gentle humour which hallmarks this author’s work. Set in 1971, the mixture of rural beauty, human nature and the odd whisper of nostalgia combines to make this book a real delight.’
Western Gazette

`The stories have moments of poignancy and tragedy as well. And how splendidly he mixes all the ingredients to produce a startling, but still credible tale about the local bobby and his man-eating wife. Dr Coleman’s book is a real delight from cover to cover. As the first in a series, it holds out the promise of entertaining things to come.’
Huddersfield Daily Examiner

`Captures the essence of old fashioned village life where you never needed to lock your door.’
Western Evening Herald

`A wonderful book for relaxing and unwinding…makes you want to up roots and move to the rural heartland.’
Lincolnshire Echo

`For sheer relaxing pleasure here’s another witty tale from the doctor whose prolific writings are so well known to many of us.’

`A pleasure to read from cover to cover.’
Kentish Express

The main characters in the series are:

The Doc (never named but assumed to be Vernon Coleman)
Patsy, his wife
Thumper Robinson, a tough jack the lad who takes the Doc under his wing and, for example, helps him buy his first motor car
Patchy Fogg, an antique dealer (who later in the series marries Patsy’s sister)
Peter Marshall, proprietor of the village shop
Frank Parsons, landlord of the Duck and Puddle public house
Gilly Parsons, landlady of the Duck and Puddle public house
Miss Johnson – doctor’s receptionist
Dr Brownlow – old fashioned GP and the Doc’s employer; drives an old Rolls Royce and patches his stethoscope with a bicycle inner tube repair kit

Bilbury Series
There are (at April 2020) 15 books in the series.

The Young Country Doctor Book 1: Bilbury Chronicles
The Young Country Doctor Book 2: Bilbury Grange
The Young Country Doctor Book 3: Bilbury Revels
The Young Country Doctor Book 4: Bilbury Country
The Young Country Doctor Book 5: Bilbury Village
The Young Country Doctor Book 6: Bilbury Pie
The Young Country Doctor Book 7: Bilbury Pudding
The Young Country Doctor Book 8: Bilbury Tonic
The Young Country Doctor Book 9: Bilbury Relish
The Young Country Doctor Book 10: Bilbury Mixture
The Young Country Doctor Book 11: Bilbury Delights
The Young Country Doctor Book 12: Bilbury Joys
The Young Country Doctor Book 13: Bilbury Tales
The Young Country Doctor Book 14: Bilbury Days
The Young Country Doctor Book 15: Bilbury Memories