Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Miss Read Novels

Dora Jessie Shafe 1(April 17, 1913 - April 7, 2012), was best known by the pen name Miss Read, an English novelist, by profession a schoolmistress. Her pseudonym was derived from her mother's maiden name. She is best known for two series of novels set in the British countryside – the Fairacre novels and the Thrush Green novels.

I have been familiar with both series for some time, but have, as yet, to join the collective of devoted fans.  I'm not really sure what the hesitation has been, other than the fact that aside from vintage children's literature, I'm not a big fan of fiction. I even came across several titles at our local library and with a little research found that the entire series is available, although a few would have to acquired through inter-library loan.

Then last week as I was searching for a few titles for my homeschool resource blog, A Considered Childhood, I discovered that all but two (one title in each of the respective series), is available for loan through The Internet Archives. Admittedly the loan period is best through your local library as The Archives typically only allows you to keep a title for 14 days, but for some of you, that may be enough. This discovery has lead me to consider perhaps giving the series a go and trying out at least the first one or two titles to see what I think. Also included are two autobiographies as well as other works she has written, including a delightful Christmas book which I have checked out from the library in the past. At any rate, I wanted to pass on the discovery, in case there are others of you who also have yet to dip your toes in.

The Market Square (1966) and The Howards of Caxley (1967) are set in the historical past of Caxley, the nearby market town to Fairacre where Fairacre people go from time to time. Fairacre and Beech Green, a nearby village, are mentioned. The events in these books end before the events of the first Fairacre books start.

The Fairace Novels
Village School – 1955
Village Diary – 1957
Storm in the Village – 1958
Miss Clare Remembers – 1962
Over the Gate – 1964
Village Christmas – 1966
Fairacre Festival – 1968
Emily Davis – 1971
Tyler's Row – 1972
Christmas Mouse – 1973
Farther Afield – 1974
No Holly for Miss Quinn – 1976
Village Affairs – 1977
The White Robin – 1979 ($)
Village Centenary – 1980
Summer at Fairacre – 1984
Mrs. Pringle – 1989
Changes at Fairacre – 1991
Farewell to Fairacre – 1993
A Peaceful Retirement – 1996


Thrush Green Novels
Thrush Green – 1959
Winter in Thrush Green – 1961
News from Thrush Green – 1970
Battles at Thrush Green – 1975
Return to Thrush Green – 1978
Gossip from Thrush Green – 1981
Affairs at Thrush Green – 1983
At Home in Thrush Green – 1985
School at Thrush Green – 1987
Friends at Thrush Green – 1990
Celebrations at Thrush Green – 1992
Year at Thrush Green – 1995
Christmas at Thrush Green – 2009 ($)
The World of Thrush Green – 1988. This book discusses the real place that inspired Thrush Green and has excerpts from all Thrush Green books published as of 1988.

Autobiography:
A Fortunate Grandchild – 1982
Times Remembered – 1986
These two were also published in an omnibus edition titled The Early Days.

Others she has written:
Fresh from the Country – 1960. The story of a young country girl who has taken a first teaching job in the big city.
Tales from a Village School – 1994. Short stories.
Miss Read's Country Cooking – 1969.
Mrs Griffin Sends Her Love: and other writings - 2013. ($)
A selection of journalism, published posthumously.
Miss Reed's Christmas Book

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