The Comfort of Miss Read…

Do you ever have those days when you just want to get away?  When the car is making noises and you know it’s going to cost a fortune or when life is just getting you down or, like 9/11, when the world has  gotten to be just too frightening? 

Chocolate works sometimes–or mashed potatoes, but when I need help that is going to last longer than five minutes I go for a visit to Fairacre or Thrush Green — the wonderful villages in the world created by Miss Read.

Book cover for Village School by Miss ReadI’ve tried to explain why these books work so well as mood enhancers for me and what I like about them with varying degrees of success. Usually someone who has read some of them understands, but from those who haven’t I frequently get puzzled looks and polite nods (sort of the reaction I got when I gave my most recent talk when a woman came up to me and complimented me on the fact that I speak clearly — she heard every single word. Yikes.) I’ve given this a lot of thought and decided that I have to give it one more try.

For me, reading these novels is akin to visiting old friends from back home and it’s the back home part that’s important. It’s back home the way you remember it, the way you always want it to stay. I turn to Miss Read for the same reason that I might call my sister or nephew or an old friend — just to immerse myself, for a little while, in the details of ordinary life so I can escape whatever ugliness has imposed itself. I don’t need to dwell on what’s wrong; I need to be reminded that life goes on in all of its ordinary, sometimes wacky details and that it will continue to go on in spite of what seems to be overwhelming me at the moment.

These are books set in small villages in Britain in the 1950s and forward (a bit). You may never have been to England or met anyone who is British, but you will recognize the types — especially if you have ever spent any amount of time in a small town. There are the town grumps; the gossipy, elderly, spinster sisters; the salt of the earth, handyman types; the eccentric, genteel poor; and all manner of rogues and troubled folks. In Fairacre their stories are told by Miss Read, a spinster teacher who is the headmistress of the small village school. The Thrush Green series is written from the third person point of view (unlike Fairacre where we hear directly from Miss Read), but there is still a village school at the center of things.

Book cover for Miss Clare Remembers by Miss ReadLife is not always easy–bad things happen.  People are poor, folks die, children are neglected, wives are mistreated, there is thievery and feuding–but these are the kinds of things that can happen anywhere to anyone and frequently do.  Miss Read writes about them in a down-to-earth, reasoned way that reminds me of listening to my favorite great aunt.  She’s a great storyteller and you never know what nuggets of wisdom she’ll share (and how worldy wise she is even though you wouldn’t necessarily think so).

Miss Read is actually the pseudonym of Dora Saint. She was born in London, but moved to a small village when she was a child and fell in love with the country, nature, and village life. She wanted to be a journalist, but that sort of thing was frowned on for women. She ended up teaching, marrying a fellow teacher, and being a stay at home mom for years. She tried her hand at writing stories and was finally asked to write something of more length. Her first book, Village School, was published in 1955. She wrote for twenty years under the name Miss Read before her true identity was known. She is still living, but she has retired from writing, having ended both series. Her books are still in print.

According to an article in Wikipedia, she is most directly influenced by Jane Austen, and to a lesser extent by Barbara Pym and other comedies of manners written in the 1920s and 1930s. She herself has influenced, most famously, Jan Karon. 

Book cover for No Holly for Miss Quinn by Miss ReadUnder lesser known factoids, the musician Enya has a track on the Watermark album named after the book Miss Clare Remembersand another on the Shepherd Moons album named for No Holly for Miss Quinn

I hope you’ll give Miss Read a try if you haven’t already — or revisit her if you haven’t read any of her things in awhile. With any luck, you’ll find them as enchanting as I do. If you are already a dyed in the wool fan and you’re looking for someone else similar to read, try E.F. Benson. R.F. Delderfield, Paul Gallico, Elizabeth Gaskell, James Herriott, Debbie Macomber, Rosamunde Pilcher, Ann Purse, Barbara Pym, D.E. Stevenson, or Angela Thirkell. 

Did I forget anyone? Please let us all know if you’ve discovered someone else who reminds you of Miss Read. Meanwhile, have fun clicking on the above links to find out more information about Miss Read.

246 comments on “The Comfort of Miss Read…

  1. THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. I HAVE JUST DISCOVERED MISS READ AT MY LOCAL LIBRARY AND WONDER WHERE I HAVE BEEN ALL MY LIFE. I CAN’T PUT HER BOOK DOWN AND THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT IT IS I HAVE SO MANY MORE TO ENJOY. THEY ARE THE KIND THAT ALLOWS US TO ESCAPE TO THAT SIMPLE LIFE WE MISS SO MUCH.

  2. I have read and reread all of Miss Read’s Books and they never fail to entertain. Thanks for these comments about the author and her stories.

  3. I tell anyone who will listen that Miss Read is my favorite author. Over the years, I have checked out her books from libraries in every town we lived in. Now that I can afford it, I am collecting her books. Some are new or like-new and first editions, but I am just as thrilled with library discards. Maybe even more so knowing that the books were read and loved by other Miss Read enthusiasts. Thinking she may have died, I was shocked and thrilled to see a new Thrush Green novel published in October. I fall asleep every night reading one of her books. Sweet dreams.

  4. I have read all of her books, also, and many times over. For you die hard fans, she published a new novel this year!!! It is titled, “Christmas at Thrush Green.” It is available on Amazon. I can’t wait to read it, but am waiting for the Christmas holidays.

  5. I have read and re-read all her books. They are pure joy and transport me to another world. I wanted to scream when I saw some nitwit write that Miss Read writes like Jan Karon, thinking that the Mitford series came first. UGH!!

  6. I have been reading Miss Read for years, and I absolutley love her books and to me when I read her books I always feel like I am there and enjoying every minute of it! I get totally immersed. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have read or listened to her stories, all of them.

    They are fantastic and I only wish I could just jump in one of her stories and live there.

    Yeah, people just don’t get it when I tell who I love to read, they just think I am old fashioned and yes, boring, but I really don’t care because I know I have the best getaway and I can go there anytime I like, and I will never get tired of it.

  7. So glad to see comments by others who appreciate Miss Read as much as I do. My sister and I both find her works satisfying in a way few others are, and have read them more than once. She is one of my favourite authors. I’d suggest maybe Lillian Beckwith would appeal to readers who enjoy Miss Read. I’m always looking for something that I like as well, & don’t often find it.

  8. I’m so happy that I’m not the only person who loves the books by Miss Read! For several years I lived in a village in England that was just like Thrush Green – yes, they DO exist! I lived in Burley, Hampshire, in the New Forest area. I owned a charming bungalow at #10 Honey Lane. I am American and, back then, my mother was rather in control of the money. She insisted that I come over here in the late 70’s. She lived in Las Vegas of all places. UGH!!!! I came over for what was to just be an extended visit, to placate her but, my mother, via the purse strings and her theatrics, made it impossible for me to return… I always thought, “soon…I will get back home soon…”.

    Then my mother died in the mid-80’s and I immediately started making plans to go HOME, to my beloved England, to the life and the people that I understand! To a place that is clean and beautiful and charming, and to people who are honest and straight-forward. A place where your character matters more than your credit rating. I contacted estate agents, got my passport in order – literally began packing, only to discover that my mother had spent and mismanaged my trust fund and I was completely penniless with my two little boys – even lost my house that she had insisted in having in her name. And, to be perfectly honest, I have never gotten over it or adjusted to being here. It’s very hard here, I mean, not just to survive, but the people are hard. And the violence, corruption, gangs, rap music, ‘pop culture’,etc… it’s just all so ugly.

    So, Burley is like a secret place in my heart – I know it is there. I know it is real, and the ugliness that I am assaulted by here that Americans take for granted as “reality”, is NOT the ONLY reality. Sometimes it is almost too painful to read Miss Reads books, but I keep them next to my bed, and I look at them every day, just to remind myself that Burley is real and it is still there. Maybe someday I will get home…..

  9. I too love Miss Read’s writing. Eloquent and comforting. I’m 63, therefore I was ‘at school’ in the 50’s.
    Best wishes, Mary

  10. Nev, try discovering the South. We have lots of wonderful small towns. I live in the Bluegrass area of Kentucky, and though there are many Anglophiles here, they love this area as much as England. I believe even Miss Read would like it here. Check out James Archambeault’s photographs to get an idea.

  11. I love Miss Read. I love all the characters—and I wish I lived in a place in England like Thrush Green. Miss Read and Lucy Maud Montgomery—and Jane Austen—are my three favorite authors of all time. Why?—they comfort you —and remind you of the beauty and serenity of the simple things of life: nature, the seasons…and good friends.

  12. I’ve been a fan of Miss Read for many years and have collected almost all of her books. Recent problems, both physical and emotional, have been substanially eased by re-reading her books. I also tried explaining their appeal to people and can only say I wish I could live in those villages and have those people as my friends.
    I sent Dora Saint a fan letter ( the only one ever to anyone) in the late ’90’s and was extremely pleased to receive a hand written reply. Neeedless to say, I treasure it.

  13. I bought my first book as a gift to give away. I decided to read it first and was delighted with the writing! Needless to say, I kept the book and have collected every book she has written. I feel she is the most interesting author I have ever read. When I have finished with the series, I start reading it again. A dedicated and grateful fan.

  14. Miss Read has had more to do with recovery, healing and restoration of health than she has ever have known. 7 years ago I experienced a complete emotional/physical breakdown, and didn’t know how I was going to go on with life. I was a reading teacher, left my job, and was housebound. I felt drawn again to the Miss Read books (I had read many before). I remembered how wonderful they were. So I started reading her complete list of books in chronological order by date they were written, beginning with the very first, Village School. It was like a soothing balm…a calm world that I needed to enter. I loved visiting Fairacre and Thrush Green. I clung to that world for a very long time, and gradually re-entered my own. Well, of course I have been collecting her books ever since, and have read completely through her list twice now (thanks to a wonderful library system). So, Miss Read, wherever you are, I am eternally grateful. You will never know.

  15. Have been reading Ms Read since the 70ies. For those who know the Fairacre books, have you noticed that Tibby changes gender from book to book? And there are inconsistencies re the early years with Amy. Also, Ms Read has no first name. Doesn’t change the affection I have for Ms Read and I do re-read several in the Fairacre series each year. I prefer the Fairacre series to Thrush Green, but Thrush Green does have its moments, they just crop up here and there, where most of Fairacre is consistently excellent and never stale.

  16. Miss Read’s characters have become very dear friends. I can’t think of a more pleasant evening alone than curling up with one of these beloved books. Thank you Miss Read for writing about everyday life and allowing all of us to share it with you.

  17. absolutely my favourite auther of all times, have even visited whitney in oxfordshire which is actually thrush green. have just found out about christmas at thrush green, will be getting that. A couple of authors that i have also read are Rebecca Shaw and Rebecca Tope which are quite enjoyable but they are not Miss Read.I have spent countless hours scouring old book shops (even travelling as far as wales) just to buy Miss Read books and now they are all out in print again.I am now going to order the new christmas at thrush green book immediately.

  18. Wonderful Miss Read. When I’m feeling blue or stressed, there’s always a story to comfort and cheer.

  19. I have been enjoying Miss Read for over twenty years, I have all her books, they are now yellow with age and falling apart, but I wouldn’t swap them for anything, I have read them countless times. Every christmas out comes The christmas mouse and No holly for miss quinn, essential christmas reading.Her writing transports you to another world that we all want to live in. Its such a shame there will be no new books in the future. I love these books, and will continue to read them for years to come.

  20. I have been reading Miss Read faithfully for over 40 years. Nev, whoever you are, please be assured that there are many places in the USA like Thrush Green and Fairacre. I have been fortunate to have lived in several of them.

  21. To Nev from a previous post:

    I agree with the lady who recommended the South to you. I live in a nice small town and would love to tell you about it. It’s not a small village, but it’s written up in magazines as a lovely retirement spot on Mobile Bay. Google Fairhope, Alabama and you’ll see what I mean.

  22. I too enjoy Miss Read, especially the Thrush Green Series. I was lucky enough to find some on CD and an 8 hour road trip flew by. If you enjoy Miss Read , you might also enjoy my favorite author, Elizabeth Goudge , especially the post WWII trilogy about the Elliott family

  23. I dicovered Miss Read 30 years ago and read the whole series. Later when my mother spent her last years with us I enjoyed reading them all over again with her. Recently with a diagnosis I must live with I have turned to Miss Read again to find comfort. I hope she knows how much she is loved.

  24. For Bonnie…I hope you feel as OK as possible. So glad Miss Read brings you happiness. I agree with you…all of life’s happy and sad events can be found in her books.

  25. I just earned my master’s degree, and after spending this past year in rigorous study, I am a willing traveler to Fairacre and Thrush Green. Miss Read’s work transports me to a place where the taking of tea is a universal balm for tricky historical pageants, awkward matchmaking scenarios, and bouts of the chilblains.
    I will be teaching my first English classes in the fall, and Miss Read’s “Village School” and “Village Diary” are where my summer dreams dwell.

  26. I also enjoy Miss Read, she is one of the keepers, another keeper is the “Adobe” series (4 books) written by Dorothy Pillsbury in the 50″s . They take place in northern N.Mex in the Santa Fe area and are what I call ‘gentle’. I reread them from time to time and wish I could have been there.

  27. I discovered Miss Read at our local library many years ago and found myself drawn again and again to her wonderful stories. I was even able to do a book search and purchase her two part autobiography. These books are a treasure, and I have her complete collection. I love the gentleness of the books.

  28. I have been reading and collecting Miss Read’s books for about 30 years now and every time I reread one, I rediscover her ear for dialogue, county inflections and her richly drawn characters I have come to love so much. It is a pleasure to enter Thrush Green or wander on over to Fairacre, enjoying Miss Read’s description of the natural world, to have a cup of tea with your very best friends.

  29. My mother introduced me to Miss Read. When she was ill I read one of the Thrush Green books to her. We laughed at the funny parts with Mrs. Pringle, Mr. Willet and others. My mom’s been gone for 10 years now and I consider these books among the most precious gifts that she gave to me.

  30. Has anyone else read Christmas at Thrush Green yet? One one that was written by Miss read’s editor? I read it about a month ago and over all was disappointed in it. My beloved Thrush Green characters just never sounded like themselves, and there were too many goofy scenes that never seemed remotely plausible. What did anyone else think?

  31. Jean, I have to agree. I was disappointed in Christmas at Thrush Green. I really appreciate the effort, but it just wasn’t Miss Read’s voice.

  32. Carmel, I dreaded thinking it was just me, but you are right. It was not her voice at all. I have loved her books for years and years and I wish the editor had no been so heavy handed. You would think of all people, being Miss Read’s editor, she would never had attempted such a dismal undertaking, but left rest of us the pleasure of visiting with Ella, Dim, & Dottie. I have always thought that her characters were as well conceived as anyone Dickens could have come up with.

  33. Jean, I totally agree…Christmas at Thrush Green was not Miss Read speaking, sadly. Something missing.

  34. I would hate to think that Miss Read would end her career on a down note, so for her sake I hope her editor never writes another word. As for me, besides all the rest of my reading , I have started the Thrush Green series,again. For the umpteenth time. I said goodbye to Mrs. Curdle, Paul is still a little boy , Ben will soon become a Thrush Green resident, and Mr. Piggot, ah Mr. Piggot, wants to make everyone’s life miserable. Now where did she find such a remarkable character? And, perhaps someone knows, in the Fairacre series, is the character Miss Read’s Christian name ever mentioned?

  35. Jean, I do exactly the same thing…read them all over again and I still find delightful things I’ve missed. I’ve never noticed mention of Miss Read’s Christian name? I’ts a good reason to read them all again.

  36. It is assuring to hear so many of you also find comfort in reading these novels. I was an English major and often feel that I should be reading novels of a higher caliber….but when stressed in life….one just wants to return to the comforting novels we consider friends. Has anyone read the Rebecca Shaw village novels? They are contemporary but very similar in scope . They sadly, lack the sarcasm I enjoy in the Miss Read novels. Yet, Rosamunde Pilcher is still my favorite. Her themes of abandonment and survival sustain me. I just wish she wrote a village series!

  37. Hi Rebecca, I also have read and loved Rosamund Pilcher, but I read that she has retired and is no long writing. I tried the Rebecca Shaw series, and was mostly disappointed, in poor writing and boring characters. I think I will never find another author who can write about English Village life as beautifully as Miss Read. I have even tried Googling “Similar to Miss Read”.. and up come all her stories! She is so unique a writer.

  38. I was so glad to stumble upon this site! The stories told by Miss Read have amused, soothed and sustained me for many years. It is hard to believe that these places are not concrete, that they exist and are peopled by one woman’s imagination. They seem so real. To open one of Miss Read’s books is to enter another time, different space. I have read all the comments and made a list of some of the authors mentioned, in the hopes of discovering a new world to love. Thanks to all. Eileen

  39. What we need is “Thrush Green – The Movie” Now, who would play whom? I see Judi Dench as Mrs. Baily. I wish I could ask Dora Saint herself why no smart director ever optioned one of her books. These days we all seem to need Fair Acre and Thrush Green more than ever.

  40. I am also a great fan of Miss Read’s books and have 30 of her books. 20 Years ago we visited England and we found out where she lived through “the New Berkshire Village Book” in which she wrote a forword. She and her husband welcomed us into her home for some refreshments, she showed us her garden and the shed in which the cat-family in the true story of Tiggy made their home. I was allowed to have a peek at some of her original hand-written stories in binder cahiers. I posed many questions about her stories. For example on which town Thrush Green was based. Woodgreen. Caxley was based on Witney. She presented my son with an autographed copy of Tiggy. It was a holiday I will forever cherish,

  41. I discovered the Miss Read books over ten years ago, and I am still hooked on them. I love reading all of the comments about her stories. I find it wonderful that so many of us enjoy the same things from her writings. Long live Dora Saint, Miss Read, and all of the Thrush Green and Fairacre characters!!

  42. Miss Read is not just for female readers. I am an Anglophile, my mother was English & Dad was Irish, so I am at home with tea and scones. Her writing is best described as “cozy”, which is much needed in these days of turmoil. I have most of the original British paperback first editions which I purchased in a British Book Shop about 25 years ago. Miss Read writes for ordinary folks. I do recognize another favorite author, Barbara Pym, amongst her admirers. The Sweet Dove Died is my favorite Pym novel. It deals with homosexuality without directly referring to the topic. Yet the reader is aware. Of course, Miss Read does not deal with such topics, yet she has actually dealt with the nitty gritty aspects of life in 1950-60 English countryside. I think that her life would make a great film. My favorite literary film is 84 Charing Crossroad, which is no longer available. I encourage the reader of English lit to try and find a copy. The journals of May Sarton are also a good read for a taste of New England life, although much more coarse than Miss Read. My all time favorites of Miss Read are the 3 Christmas novels, which sometime can be found in 1 volume. I am hoping that Dora Saint is in good health. She must be in her mid to late 80s. God Bless Miss Read!

  43. Mark, I believe Miss Read is in her early 90’s. I hope she still has a story line going in her wonderful imagination. I also collect Barbara Pym, my favorite is Compton Hodnet with Excellent Women coming in second. I have been reading and rereading Sarton’s Kinds of Love for about 25 years and still enjoy it. Have you read Mary Wesley? Great stories and great characters. If Miss read didn’t invent the “cozy” genre, then Id just have to try and smoke one of Ella’s cigarettes! Or not.

  44. It is lovely to read these comments.
    I am now 48,and was given “News from Thrush Green”, when I was 14. I have collected Miss Read books, ever since.I read them every year, starting in November,lovely and comforting over the cold winter.I have read them so many times, I have worn them out and had to have new copies of most of them!
    I love the fact that my daughter was born on 17th April,so shares Miss Read’s birthday.
    One of my sons died suddenly in July 2009,and I could not concentrate on any of my usual books, my mind would drift too much. In fact, it still does. But I have still been able to read my Fairacre and Thrush Green books,and they have been a wonderful comfort.

  45. I’m glad to see at least one other guy that likes Miss Read. I get a warm fuzzy feeling reading these books. I also enjoy learning about English rural life, seeming like I take part in it. I grew up in a rural area, went to a school with 36 graduating with me, so I can relate. I read many things, but Miss Read is a “cup of tea, by the fire” comfort book, beleivable enough to transport you away from what ails. I’ve also read Dorothy Pillsbury, same sort of thing and equally enjoyable.

  46. Whenever I feel depressed, I unvariably go to bed with Miss Read! Love her books, have read them all, and only wish she’d get a move on and write some more!

  47. Actually, Mark and Jeanne, Dora Saint is 98 years old. She was born in 1913. I, too, hope her editor does not try to write any more Miss Read. I had so been looking forward to “Christmas at Thrush Green” and was as disappointed as you all were. I think it is time to go brew a cup of tea and start the Fairacre series again!

  48. I’ve loved all the Miss Read books too, but especially relate to the early ones – set in the late 50s/early 60s. That was the same era I grew up in and Miss Read captures the mellowness of that golden time so well. The only author I’ve found to be her absolute equal in dealing with the enchanting ordinariness of everyday life is Lillian Beckwith. I urge you all to read the Beckwith books (unfortunately only a very small number of them) about life in the Hebrides in the 50s and 60s. Like Miss Read, I promise Lillian Beckwith will transport you to her world and let you share her cosy life stories.

  49. Thank you Emma, I have just ordered “The Sea for Breakfast” by Lillian Beckwith from Amazon. I have been missing Miss Read for quite a while now., and casting about for something special to read. I even reread “Enchanted April”, but I have never read Beckwith and I am looking forward to this book.

  50. Jeanne, I hope you enjoyed “The Sea for Breakfast”. I think if you bought a modern edition of the book, you will have missed out on Douglas Hall’s beautiful illustrations in the original editions which absolutely complement the Beckwith stories and in themselves are enough to make you feel you are living in the Hebrides with Beckwith. The same with the Miss Read stories – there’s something about the accompanying illustrations that are so captivating – makes you feel snug just looking at them.

  51. […] if there were other fans out there, I found this post from the blog Eclectic Books which beautifully expresses exactly how I feel about the series: […]

  52. I also love Miss Read. I am 44 and have been reading them since I was in my mid-twenties. My favorite is the Fairacre series. Not knowing Miss Read’s first name will drive me crazy forever! But these books are such a soothing balm. I adore them. I have begun to collect them, buying them new on Amazon (paperbacks are often only $10) and used at book sales etc. They are so relaxing and calming, witty and amusing. I love England and have visited twice. When I pick up a Miss Read book, I am transported back to the Cotswold villages that I visited. I hope she knows how beloved she is all over the world.

    To Nev–try New England–so many small towns and villages here. Many seem so much like the little towns she writes about to me. Good luck!

  53. I just recently discovered Miss Read, and have pratically devoured her books! Her writing reminds me a lot of Rosamund Pilcher’s earlier works. It’s comforting to read about ordinary people living their lives and (mostly) finding joy in everyday things. As someone who works with young children, I find myself relating to Miss Read of Fairacre! I do find that I tend to brew numerous cups of tea when I read these books!

  54. Elizabeth Goudge’s “Herb of Grace” is a beautiful book but, I too am looking for something to match “Thrush Green” and “Fairacre”.
    Much stronger but superbly well written are Patrick O’Brian’s “Jack Aubrey” novels about naval battles of the Napoleonic wars.

  55. May I amend my previous comment? To say that O’Brian is “stronger” is not quite right because Dora Saint’s narrative has considerable strength. Perhaps, “harsher” would be a better word. Jane Austen’s naval brothers (had they possessed her gift) could have described the grim as well as the humorous and sometimes hilarious realities of life at sea during the battles of the late 18th. & early 19th. centuries.
    I still want to escape to Miss Read’s Thrush Green or Fairacre rather than Lilian Beckwith’s Hebredean croft.

  56. Within the last 6 months I have read every one of Miss Read’s books. I got the same reaction when I try to explain to my sister who is a avid reader (best sellers) she replied, “it sounds weird”. Well I’m glad I found this website. I am looking for more books to read similar to Miss Read and I’m hopeful for the suggestions here. I just finished “Lark Rise to Candleford” by Flora Thompson. It is a semi- autobiographical account of growing up in the English countryside before the turn of the century. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it lacks the wit and humor of Miss Read.

  57. I have been reading Miss Read’s novels for the past twenty years. I recently introduced my mother ( who is 92) to these wonderful books. She is now a devoted fan.
    Some time ago I managed to get some of the Fairacre stories on tape, read by, I believe, Prunella Scales. Even if you have read the books it is lovely to get someone else’s ‘take’ on the text. And what a lovely way to cook dinner, listening to Miss Read.

  58. There couldn’t be a closer description of how I feel about Miss Read. I feel as if her characters have been a part of my life since I read the first book 30 years ago. It especially is a part of my “going home for Christmas” to read “Miss Read’s Christmas” every year. The values, the genuine characters, the feel of the vilages, give me the peace of the season hard to find elsewhere. If I were able to tell Ms Saint what her books have meant to me it would be…Thank you so much for the memories!

  59. I love Jan Karon and have been searching through read-alike websites for books like hers’. Here’s some of what I’ve read in the last year:

    – Philip Gulley (Harmony Series; small town Indiana life from a Quaker pastor’s perspective, although told in the 3rd person) good, well-told, funny
    – Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Creek Quilters) well developed characters, well told stories, some modern times, some historical; her writing got more and more political and was not as light-hearted as I would have liked
    – James Herriot (All Creatures Great & Small, etc) great writing, although some descriptions of various maladies/procedures on the animals left me squeamish!)

    I am looking forward to reading all about Fairacre & Trush Green. I’ll be stopping by the library to check out the first of the Fairacre series.

    Thanks for your blog entry – I enjoyed reading it!

  60. Some of you may be interested to listen to a half hour interview recorded with Dora Saint in 2006 by someone from the publishing house Orion Group. She gives a fascinating account of her life and reasons for writing the books. Here’s the link:
    http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/authors/interviews/miss-read-author-of-thrush-green-and-village-diary-talks-with-paul-blezard-part-1

    I’m planning to do a “pilgrimage” round England this summer and seek out the haunts of my favourite writers – Miss Read is definitely one of them. The places to see are Newbury (where Dora Saint now lives), Wood Green (Thrush Green), Whitney (Caxley), Chelsfield and Shoreham (Fairacre). Should be great fun!

  61. Dear Emma
    I was interested to know that Chelsfield and Shoreham were the basis for Fairacre.
    Many thanks.

  62. I LOVE Miss Read….especially the Fairacre series. I have at least two thirds of her Fairacre books in my own library. And she’s exactly that: a refuge, like sitting on grandmother’s lap while she tells you stories. They make good bedtime reading, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them……maybe I’m weird, but Mrs. Pringle is one of my favorite characters,,,she makes me laugh…

    I also love Rosamond Pilcher , James Herriott and Lillian Beckwith. I believe the strongest common bond with these authors is that they are British. North American authors may try to emulate them, but ….

    Thank God for these writers! They keep me sane. (I think)

  63. The My Friends series by Jane Duncan is very enjoyable. I am keeping track of the many suggestions made in this thread. I am eager to find other places as inviting as Fairacre.

  64. Thank you so much for posting the audio interview in which “Miss Read” is interviewed by Paul Blezard. I shall treasure it always. I have 28 of her books and this Christmas I received “Christmas with Miss Read” . I started reading them about 25 years ago. I am an avid reader of many books such as Robert Goddard, Nicci French, Ian Rankin and many more, but Miss Read’s books are always present on my bed stand and I still find great comfort and enjoyment in reading them.
    Years ago we actually visited her at Shefford Woodlands and my son, who was then 12,
    got an autographed copy of her book “Tiggy”.

    Greetings from Holland.

  65. Hi Ineke. I read your post written a couple of years ago where you said you visited Dora Saint. What an amazing day that must have been, and from your account, Dora Saint was a gracious and informative hostess. I doubt if I’ll be as lucky as you to actually talk to her in person when I go to England this summer, but I’ll certainly visit her home town and drink in the atmosphere of all the small English villages. Did you, by any chance, ask Dora Saint if there were any more autobiographies in the pipeline? I found her “A Fortunate Grandchild” and “Time Remembered” to be fascinating and would love to read more about this most interesting woman’s real life stories.

    Lovely to correspond with fellow Fairacre and Thrush Green devotees! I pick up the books, read them, or sometimes just gaze at the covers whenever I need to escape back into a more polite and sympathetic society than the one we live in now. We are so lucky to have Miss Read.

  66. Hello Emma,
    Yes it was quite an experience.
    I would have been contented with just driving by her beautiful cottage and garden, but thanks to my travel companion, who was a bit more forward than I was, we ended up being invited in for an unforgettable visit!
    Sorry, I didn’t ask about her autobiographies, but asked many other questions (when having recovered from the initial shock of actually meeting my favorite author in person).
    During that vacation I visited many bookstores and added several of her books (Penguin series) to my collection.
    In part one of the audio-interview she speaks of her early childhood and it was lovely to hear her actually talk about what we could read in her autobiography, “A Fortunate Grandchild”.

    May I ask if you live in the United States?

    Happy Reading!
    Ineke.

  67. Hello Ineke. It’s great to have extroverted friends that encourage you to do things you’d never normally do! Lucky your friend was with you when you were passing by Dora Saint’s cottage!

    In answer to your question, I’m not American. I’m from New Zealand and my childhood was spent in the 50’s and 60’s when New Zealand was really a “little England”, so many of Miss Read’s stories ring true for me. I didn’t live in a village, but the small city I lived in was divided virtually into little villages so that all the children knew all our neighbours in the nearby streets and we attended the same school. We’d do nature walks, just like Miss Read, and would run in and out of each other’s houses as if they were our own. Some mother would always feed you, or pick you up if you fell over and care for you, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t your own! There was a sense of community and certainly security in that environment, and although it wasn’t the Cotswolds, it had the same atmosphere. So the Miss Read books resonate with me.

    I think I’ll start reading the whole Fairacre series again now, starting from book one. I may be some time….!!!

  68. Anyone else watching Downton Abbey? I get the same feeling watching it as I do reading Miss Read’s books. Also when I watch or read Anne of Green Gables. It’s like going home, and I’ve never been to England or Prince Edward Island. :o)

  69. My fav author is the wonderful Miss Read and have all her books (adult) in 1st editions.
    She lives only a few miles from my own home and I should love to meet her, but, she is around 99 years of age now.

    My fav character is Mrs Pringles, who is very like my husbands’ awful Grandmother.

  70. I discovered Miss Read around 1989, and was delighted.
    During breast cancer treatment years later her books were such a source of comfort..

  71. Dear Lisa
    I understand what you mean, when you say ‘her books were such a comfort’. I too have had some unpleasant events, and Miss Read’s books always calm me. She touches on serious life events. All is not a bed of roses in her books.
    Best wishes to you.

  72. I’ve loved Miss Read for years and find her so comforting as many of you do. My sister and I read her books to each other while travelling and enjoyed her so much. We laughed heartily when I got to a section referring to “two old poppets.” We identified. I’ve been searching for the entire quote and which book so I can add the quote to a journal we’re working on. Can anybody help?

  73. I loved reading all the comments here. I, also, love love love Miss Read books. I first found them when I was 12 in our old dusty library. I am now 42. I’ve have all the audiobooks I can find of hers and I just saved the interview a poster linked to above (thank you!) as well as many copies of her hardback books. For me, the illustrations really make the books more wonderful than they already are. I find it a shame that it is considered “not adult” to have illustrations in our books. I disagree!

    Thank you so much, Miss Read, God Bless you.

  74. Liv
    I couldn’t agree more! I think the illustrations enhance books. I’m 65, so would have been at school when Miss Read was teaching. God bless Miss Read as well.

  75. I too adore the Miss Read books, and Dora Saint lives just anew miles from my own home !, alas we have never met.
    I first discovered her books approx thirteen years ago when I was working a a small village school and the title of one of her books caught my eye in the bookshop.
    I now have all her editions in hardback.
    My favourite character is Mrs Pringles who reminds me very much of my husband’s grandmother.
    Miss Read’s books bring calm, are never twee and are much cherished.

  76. I stumbled onto “Thrush Green” while looking for large print books for my mother many years ago. I was drawn to the title and felt it had to be
    British. I have since read all of Miss Read’s books many times and each time I pick one up it is like visiting old friends. My kids gave me a Kindle for Christmas and Thrush Green was the first book I downloaded. I adore character driven books and I often recommend Miss Read and things like Georgette Heyer’s “The Grand Sophy”.

  77. After my Mum died, I had a breakdown, I wouldn’t leave my bedroom as my head was all over the place.
    Istarted listening to the Miss Read audio books, to take my mind off things, over the next few months, i was addicted as she took me to a different world.
    Dora Saints magic worked better than any medication i had from my doctor. I still listen or read her books.
    In some respects i really believe she saved my life.

  78. I looked at these books for the longest time everytime I went to our neighborhood library, would pick them up and then put them back on the shelves. Finally, I took one home, read it and was from that time on a wishful inhabitant of Thrush Green and Fairacre! I am re-reading a Winter in Thrush Green now and I am enjoying it as much as the first time I read it. I love how you can SEE the flowers, HEAR the birds singing, FEEL the sunshine on your face, KNOW the villagers intimately as if you are one of them… these are wonderful, wholesome, relaxing and yet stimulate my mind to think of England. I have also read James Herriot and found myself laughing but not relaxing as I do with Ms. Read’s book. I now work in that little neighborhood library and enjoy looking for new British authors who write relaxing and enjoyable tales.

  79. Janie, Miss Read is hard to match, but I do rank Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery right up there with Miss Read’s books. Unfortunately, the rest of Montgomery’s book aren’t quite as good. A more recent book I often recommend is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

  80. I have read some of the Anne of Green Gables set and liked them. Thanks for the reminder, I will have to get back to them. A co-worker bought the set for me so they are sitting on my shelf looking pretty… Too funny, I also read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society recently.

  81. Fiona Coxall, I’m so glad Miss Read gave you comfort and hope when you needed it most and, in the end, salvation. What better tribute can an author have? I hope your spirit is now truly healed and you can face each day with some degree of happiness.

    Janie Obermier, I loved the James Herriot books too and have read them many times as well. I think it’s his compassion and humorous take on human failings that make his books so enjoyable. I would highly recommend the Lillian Beckwith books if you want to journey down a similar road, laughing with her characters, and feel, smell and taste the beautiful Hebridean countryside. In my opinion, she’s a match for Miss Read in capturing all that. Incidentally, I wrote recently to Lillian Beckwith’s daughter saying how much I loved her mother’s books, and got the most delightful response, filling me in on all the background to her mother’s stories. People in this world can be so wonderful!

  82. I would like to visit England and see the Miss Read sites and James Herriot sites. Any advice for my journey?

  83. Love Miss Read and have collected many…am rereading one right now for comfort. Has anyone ever read Margot Benary Isbert’s books? They are usually categorized as children or young adult books, but I have loved them, especially The Ark and Rowan Farm. They were orginally written in German and have been translated. They are not in the same vein as Miss Read books, but the homey qualities are there.

  84. I believe Miss Read passed away today; she’ll be greatly missed. She was 99 years olf. Wonderful lady.

  85. Mary, thank you for letting us know. How sad that our treasured author has passed away. She has written of things in and of her time and, by doing so, she has left behind a social history that will be so important for generations to come. Her books are her legacy to us all. Thank you, Miss Read, for the countless hours of comfort and enjoyment you have given us. Yours was a life well lived. You will be truly missed.

  86. Well said, Emma. I would never have had the opportunity to meet Miss Read in this lifetime, but hopefully in the next, when I can thank her for the hours of contentment her work has given us all.

  87. Miss Read, a remarkable, woman who touched the souls of many people.

    Astutely describing village life in the countryside following the seasons, bringing humor and comfort to us.

    Her books will continue to be heart-warming reading.

    Greetings,
    Ineke.

  88. Heidi, Miss Read’s first name was Dora – Dora Saint. Perhaps you know this by now. I am re-reading some of her books again.

  89. Miss Read will be forever missed!! I love all of her books, and have reread them so many times. They are such a great pleasure for me, especially during stressful times. I can always go back to that time period and put myself there and wish I could be there forever! May you rest in peace.

    Pam Savell
    Mobile, AL

  90. Mary Young,
    Thank you so much for your good thoughts about me.
    The very same to you.
    Miss Read should be so pleased that her work inspires such good will.
    Hope you and everyone else on this site are well.
    Fondly,
    Lisa

  91. Hi Lisa
    Isn’t it wonderful that Miss Read lived to such a wonderful age. I believe she had trouble with her eyes, in later life, but she enjoyed audio books. I’m re-reading her books as they fill me with happiness.
    Good wishes, Mary

  92. Lisa, I found a very lovely obituary for Miss Read in The Daily Telegraph. Most touching. All the best, Mary

  93. Just thought that I would like to add to this; my mother introduced me to the ‘Miss Read’ books when I was around 9 or 10 years old. (am nearly 50 now)
    I have never stopped loving them, and they are a hugely comforting read, especially when you feel in the need for a little spiritual ‘chicken soup’ .. 🙂

  94. My mother also me to the joys of Miss Read when I was in my 20’s. I am 63 now and I can’t see myself every tiring of her stories. I have everything of hers but the cookbooks, I’ll send away for them now. She was an absolute joy and I will miss sher.

  95. As a teacher in a small Episcopal church school myself, with multiple age levels in one room and occasionally in danger of closing, I have identified with the Miss Read books, poured over their pages, and treasured every word. I actually found the books through the titles of the songs Enya used–heard the music and looked the books up later. I re-read them every summer. As others have said, they are restful, like meeting old friends again. I too will always wonder as to her first name! So glad to know others love this series as much as I.

  96. I am an American librarian living in Japan. I have loved Miss Read’s books for nearly forty years and have introduced them to my high school library here (if only one student takes to the world of Thrush Green and Fairacre as I did, I will consider that a job well done). Like the others who have commented above, I find these books immensely comforting. I have most of them in hard copy. Now I’m loading them onto my Kindle!

    Linda Hayakawa
    Tokyo, Japan

  97. I’ve just completed my lovely trip around Britain. I did my “Miss Read Tribute” walks around the villages and countryside Dora Saint mentioned in her interview. The whole experience was magical. England’s villages and countryside are truly the most beautiful places on Earth! If you’d like to look at some pictures I took on my pilgrimage, you should be able to see them here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rarajelly/sets/72157630892515732/

    I hope you can access the photos and see the places I went to. I would encourage all of you to save up your money and do a similar journey. It was more wonderful than words can describe.

  98. Emma
    Your photos are wonderful and greatly appreciated. I am too old now to travel far so you have provided me with more pleasure than you know! I’m so happy that you enjoyed yourself. Miss Read was such a blessing wasn’t she?

  99. Hello Emma,

    Lucky you!
    I still have her address and in the years around 1990 have received 3 Christmas cards and an Easter card; I also sent her cards, Dutch koffie and Hollandse drop (Dutch licorice).
    Her cottage is for sale and if I’m not wrong and my memory serves me well this should be it. Especially the picture of the living room with the cupboard containing her hand-written multi-cahiers (at the back on the left) looks like the living room I was so lucky to visit.
    http://search.knightfrank.com/HNG120139

    Emma, I have her exact address if you’re interested.

    Greetings,
    Ineke.

  100. Mary and Ineke,

    Thank you for your comments. Mary – I’m so pleased I can share Miss Read’s countryside with you through my photos and that they brought you as much pleasure as they brought me. I wish I was a better photographer! You are so right that Miss Read was a blessing to us all. Her books took me on journeys to places I would probably never have thought to go to on my own. The reward of walking in the footsteps of her characters was just so wonderful.

    Ineke – I was such an idiot not to get Dora Saint’s address from you before I left on my journey. I thought as I was driving around Shefford Woodlands how stupid I was not to have done so. The real estate agent’s pictures you have sent of her place are gorgeous, and the price for that beautiful property seems so reasonable for what you get. Thank you so much for sending them. I’m off to buy another lottery ticket now and would buy the house like a shot if I won! You’d all be invited to visit!!!

  101. Emma, your comments made your beautiful pictures even more enjoyable and brought Miss Read’s stories back to life for me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  102. Thank you, Carmel. You are so sweet. I’m re-reading “Village School” at the moment and now think that Eynsford, where I took some pictures, may be Springbourne in the book. Miss Clare says in “Village School” there was a ford where the horse and cart used to cross the river before a bridge was built. That’s certainly Eynsford. I didn’t take a picture of the bridge and ford because there were hundreds of people splashing about in the river when I was there, but here’s a picture somebody else took.
    http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2406249

  103. Another beautiful picture. I’m amazed that you figured out all the real places that correspond with the stories. And I thought *I* had read Miss Read’s books over and over. :o)

  104. Dear Emma and Ineke

    Thanks so much for the links to such wonderful photos. The house is gorgeous and the pastoral scene is blissful. It’s difficult to find places ‘where peace waters flow’.
    With fondest wishes.

  105. Hello.

    Click on the left at the bottom of the main menu of Chelsfield Primary school, Kent to read a newspaper article on Miss Read revisiting her village school on May 2nd 1975 with her childhood friend Norah and Norah’s granddaughter of 6. She attended this school from 1921 – 1924 from the age of 8.
    http://www.chelsfield.bromley.sch.uk

    Greetings from Ineke.

  106. Ineke
    Many thanks for the link to Miss Read’s school. How fascinating. I’m 66 therefore I was taught at her type of school in the 50’s. I have many happy memories, although most of the time I was as shy as a church mouse!
    Best wishes to you all.

  107. Thank you, Ineke, for that fascinating newspaper article. Dora Saint writes so well. Whether she’s writing a novel or a newspaper article, it’s always fascinating.

    I did go to Chelsfield on my journey, but unfortunately the village is not at all nice now. (I do apologise if Chelsfield is anyone’s hometown who is reading this!) Some pretty cottages survive, but most of them have been pulled down and replaced by newer (and uglier) ones. The school is still there but the trees around it are so tall and dense, I couldn’t get a picture of it. I went to the gate, but there are new additions to the building and it didn’t look “right”. The Five Bells pub is still in the main street just as Dora Saint describes it in “Time Remembered” and looks beautiful, but nothing else in the village was at all captivating. I guess the town planners were allowed to modernise this town because it’s probably the last of the outlying “commuter belt” towns to London, but fortunately they were stopped in their tracks before they could destroy the infinitely more beautiful villages of Shoreham, Otford and Eynsford, just 10 miles alway.

    But thanks, Ineke, for finding the article. I loved reading it.

  108. I truly enjoyed the photos of England and the 1975 article. Thank you both for posting them. Years ago we were on a long distance car trip I forced my husband listen to the last Miss Read book. Interestingly enough, he loved it! I showed him the photos last night and his response was….We Need To Go There!
    Thank you again!

  109. You’re welcome Emma.
    Maybe you’ve already found her maternal grandmother’s house she often stayed at during her early childhood.

    267 Hither Green Lane, in Lewisham. can be found on “google maps” and it has a street view.

    Greetings,
    Ineke.

  110. Thank you Emma for your beautiful photographs.
    Dora Saint only lived approx 15 miles from my own home, hoe I should love to buy hers.
    I am moving house soon and have been sorting through my books, I don’t get far though as a chapter or two from a Miss Read stops me from ‘doing’.

    I have many of her books on audio for my iPod and find them invaluable for my daily commute.
    Sometimes it’s quite a shock to come out of her world, and suddenly find myself behind my desk in my office as I have been lost in Fairacre.
    True fans will know exactly what I mean.

  111. I just wanted to ad my thanks to both of you for the wonderful links. I enjoyed photos so much, and not only could I see Miss Read leading her students on a Nature Walk, but I could see Thrush Green in there,too. Right now I am rereading, “Over The Gate”, which I always thought was one of her best. I have also discovered the books of Gervase Phinn, who was a teacher and School Inspector in Yorkshire. I find his books to have the same love of students, teachers , and country side,that Dora Saint did in her part of England. She is missed by so many of us, and she cetainly won’t ever be forgotten.

  112. Hello to all

    Nobody can better Miss Read’s skillful writing, but I have been reading’ Pastures New’ by Ann Purser and it’s quite charming and written in a similar style to Miss Read. I can recommend it; there are plenty of interesting characters and excellent descriptions.
    Good wishes to all
    Mary
    Somerset UK

  113. Thanks for the recommendation, Mary. Pastures New isn’t on Kindle, so I’m going to try one of Ann Purser’s mysteries. She’s being compared to Agatha Christie, another favorite author of mine.

  114. Thank you Mary. I’ve just ordered “Pastures New” from Amazon. I’m really looking forward to reading another series of books where I can immerse myself into another piece of English village and country life.

  115. Dear Emma
    I hope you enjoy Ann Purser’s books. She has a varied style. Some are simply gossipy, ‘over the gate’ books and others are quiet thrillers, which are wonderful.She is more modern, but she’s still a worthy read. It’s getting difficult to find decent authors who write elegantly, without describing graphic violence and ‘bodily functions’!
    Warm wishes, Mary

  116. Just love all of the Miss Read books and nice to find this page. I am originally from England and grew up in a small village near the Cotswolds. My school was 2 roomed like Miss Read’s school and I can relate to just about all the things in the books. Now I live in the US and am missing my homeland and the English countryside – and these books bring real joy to my heart and soul. Each page reminds me of my childhood and it is so much fun to go back in time in this way. In this troubled world filled with violence and stress it is nice to return to the simpler things in life and a time not really that long ago which I remember as an idyllic time for me as a young child. I am glad there are others who love these books too.

  117. So glad that you enjoy them—there are lots of us. I’m envious of your childhood, but glad for you. Whenever things get to be just a bit too much, I retire to the villages of Miss Read.

  118. That is what I do too Becky, in fact I spend a few minutes before bed each night with a little Miss Read, it is a good way to go to a happier place and time before sleeping.

  119. I did not care for the Anne Purser’s book that I read – it was too sad and emotional and too much like bad life! The emotions I attribute to Ms. Read’s books are peacefulness, calmness, funny, and just plain good enjoyment.

  120. Janie
    I agree with you. I didn’t care for Anne Purser’s books. I thought at first (made a mistake) they were going to be a good read, but after a while they became quite depressing.

  121. I did not like Anne Purser’s books either…I think the Miss Read books were a one off, and I am grateful there are so many…..they are treasures.

  122. Just thought I’d say a warm hello to all the lovely ladies that post on here. I’m re-reading Village Diary. I need cheering up!

  123. A warm hello back Mary, I am sure Village Diary will fit the bill and cheer you….must be the time of year, I am a bit in the doldrums too…however I have just started Changes at Fairacre, so I am sure I will be smiling with the memories soon….have a lovely day and enjoy your read.

  124. Linda, many thanks for your kind thoughts. I live in Somerset UK. It’s Autumn here. Misty, chilly and grey. I can recall Miss Read saying that the term from January to Easter was long and cold. I’ve just bought some daffodil bulbs for my small garden… tomorrow, I’m going to bake an apple cake for my daughter.
    Again, thanks.

  125. I am originally from a small village not too far from Stratford on Avon – and I must say I miss England a lot…have never quite settled here, possibly because I am older and came here only 6 or so years ago…so Miss Read is very special to me…mind you having said that my daughters miss England too…I guess you can’t take England out of a person….once English always English. I have not spent a lot of time in Somerset, but what I have seen is beautiful… – hope you can get the daffs in without catching a chill…the apple cake sounds delicious. I love Autumn, snuggled up in the evening with a good book or a craft….and of course that goes through the winter too…I love cooler weather, the heat and I don’t agree. Anyway, enjoy your book, planting and baking…sounds perfect to me.

  126. Hi Mary,

    Sorry you’re feeling a bit down. I’m giving you a vicarious hug from across the seas!! Hope you feel better. I’m sure Village Diary will cheer you. And remember, winter in England may be a little dismal, but it can certainly be livened up by a warm fire (and hot apple cake!). How about taking a long walk somewhere, Mary, enough to make your face freeze but glow, then snuggle up with Miss Read when you return home! Bliss!

    I was just thinking: how about we all say who our favourite character is in the Miss Read books? For me, it’s definitely Joseph Coggs, but I’m rather partial to Mrs Partridge, the vicar’s wife too. How about you?

  127. I am with you with Joseph Coggs, he reminds me of a little boy in my school from a family very much like the Coggs family…he was a sweetheart and had a dreadful time of it….no-one wanted to sit by him or his siblings because they were dirty and a bit wiffy…but I really liked him and we played together a lot…just a sweet boy. I am also fond of Mr. Willet and the vicar who reminds me of our vicar growing up….sometimes I think we must have been all a lot alike in the English schools of the 50s and 60s in small villages….

  128. Hello Ladies!

    I love all of Miss Read’s books! My favorite character is Mrs. Pringle, she is such a hoot!!

    Pam/USA

  129. My favorite series is the Fairacre one, so I have to say I love Miss Read best and have envied her independence at times. :o) Miss Clare is my second favorite.

  130. My favorite character is Miss Read, and after her would be Miss Clare.

    I had difficulty getting into the Thrush Green books, though they are good.

  131. Linda and Emma and all the other ladies

    How kind you are to wish me well. I feel better already. Even though I never had the pleasere of meeting MissRead, I miss her. Ionce heard this. A lady placed a big bowl of heavily perfumed roses in a ro0m. The roses died and were removed but the ‘scent of roses continued. That’s how I feel about Dear Miss Read…the scent of roses continues, thank God. Miss Read was more than an author, she was a skilled historian, which brings authenticity to her wonderful books. I simply can’t find an author like her.

  132. Mary, Try Gervase Phinn – His is a series of 5 books – so not very many, but if it’s the warmth and humor of the English people set in the beautiful countryside of North Yorkshire amongst sweet and irrestible school children you might enjoy these books. There is even a Mrs. Pringle – Connie the queen of clean!

  133. I think, apart from Miss Read’s character, I love the doctor’s wife, Winnie. I am caring for my unwell husband, and Winnie’s bravery and steadfastness inspires me.
    Fond thought to you all.

  134. Lovely hearing all your comments on your favourite characters. As I read them, I keep saying to myself “Oh yes, I like him/her too!” I continue to be amazed at how Miss Read created and “peopled” two villages with rich, full lives, and wrote so many convincing storylines out of ordinary lives. What a master storyteller she was!

    Mary, I do hope you’re coping o.k. I’m sorry to hear your husband is not well at the moment. Keep strong.

  135. Dear Emma
    I don’t have a big family so thanks very much for your kind thoughts. I suppose that’s why I’ve always loved Miss Read’s created families; people to relate to and treasure. I never get bored of reading her books and I’m always discovering new things!

  136. Like me Mary I have a small family and Miss Read has families and people that are interesting and fun and sometimes serious. I have the set of books on my shelf and it gives me endless pleasure. Have a happy weekend everyone…Miss Read is a treasure I think we can all agree.

  137. Hello ladies!
    First frost of the season in Somerset. Do you recall how Miss Read developed chilblains in the cold weather and Mrs Pringle suggested that she beat them with holly? That’s a pretty nasty thought isn’t it?

  138. Mrs Pringle and her remedies! I wonder why she can’t find a remedy for her bad leg?! I’ve loved re-reading Village Diary and particularly liked the March segment where Miss Read has a bad day, breaking the coffee pot in the morning and everything escalates from there. We’ve all had many a time like that, and Miss Read is so good at telling us about that day. I really appreciated how she finally climbed into bed at the end of it and sought sanctuary under the covers. It’s such a universal feeling!

    Keep warm, Mary.

  139. Dear Emma,
    I think Mrs Pringle’s leg is a means of emotional blackmail and a way of gathering sympathy, and very effective it is! It appears that Mrs Pringle has had a demanding childhood. I used to work as a dispenser, and we had a manager who was closely like Mrs Pringle. I hoped and prayed she had a soft centre somewhere, but I never found it! She had a back injury that she used as a weapon of war! She gave me palpitations.

  140. I began a Miss Read marathon after receiving my Nook at Christmas. My happiness in visiting Fairacre and then settling in Thrush Green (where I live at present), was tempered by the realization that, no doubt, dear “Miss Read” had long ago gone on to her reward (although each book’s closing bio blithely averred that she lived in….etc.). So it was ironic when, in the midst of this happy reunion with these wonderful characters, I learned that Miss Read had indeed still been alive, living in the Berkshires. To think that she was still here when I began, added a special poignancy to the sorrow of learning that she passed away in April. Thank you, “Miss Read,” for your wonderful books.

  141. Hello Ineke, I just saw your note on the site with the link to Miss Read’s home for sale. It looks as if it is now “Under Agreement” for what here in Massachusetts would be sold for three quarters of a million dollars. Amazing. If I had the money to be able to afford the home, I would be standing in line,too. For so many of us that come to this site, find we turn to her beloved storied in times of stress. My husband is recovering from his second heart attack, and may not be able to return to work. I have started rereading her books once again, from start to finish, and although it’s November, I am reading “Summer in Fairacre.” These books are such an enormous comfort and lift my spirits. In my mind I am watching over the shoulder of the fictional Miss Read as she tries to keep up with house work, I am with Winnie Bailey watching over her husband, and I am with all the students learning to appreciate the natural world around them. Dora Saint was an amazingly talented writer, who could take us all into her imagination. Thanks,
    Jeanne

  142. Hello Jeanne,

    Her books will always remain an uplifting balm to the spirits and also have a permanent place on my nightstand.

    The characters described in her refreshing astute manner showed her great insight and understanding of the real things in life that matter.

    I wish you and your husband all the best.

    Greetings from Holland,
    Ineke.

  143. Dear Jeanne

    I am truly sorry to hear of your husband’s illness. I will say a special prayer for him. I too, have an unwell husband and I always turn to Miss Read’s books for comfort and inspiration in such times. Miss Read was such a clever and inspired lady. I’m readin ‘Winter at Thrush Green’ at the moment.
    All good wishes to you.

  144. I am always amazed at how much common sense there was in Miss Read’s day and I suppose in my growing up years. Also, the neighborliness of the people and the compassion…it never ceases to comfort me and makes me feel that maybe in some ways we could return to those gentler days. They were not easy days, I remember England in the 50s and 60s well, and village life did have its issues…but the people in the main, pulled together, shared and cared – I think that is lacking today. With the world in so much turmoil, I find myself back again in Thrush Green reliving life and smiling at things I recognize from my own childhood in a little Shires village.

    Mary, I do hope your husband is doing better and that you are well. By the way in Thrush Green I like Winnie too…. Linda

  145. Dear Linda
    Many thanks for your kind wishes. Dennis is doing fairly well thanks.
    Yes, indeed…the 50’s and 60’s were a much kinder time in the villages. I lived in Richmond on Thames for my early life, and it was a lovely place to live. Now it’s simply an annexe to London. I live in Somerset now, but it’s difficult to find the ‘milk of human kindness’. Miss Read has created a delightful world in which to mentally retire.
    Warm wishes, Mary

  146. Mary, I am so glad that Dennis is doing better, I will continue to pray for his health. I lived in a small village outside of Stratford on Avon and it was a lovely time and a most special childhood. We were not wealthy but we were wealthy in ways that mean far more than money – friendships, love and nature and above all else a caring family. Richmond is a beautiful place at least it was the last time I saw it, many moons ago..and like many places it now seems to have been swallowed up by the city. I know that Somerset is also lovely, but you are right, people caring about one another in a genuine way, seems a lost art. Enjoy your weekend, and I will be thinking of you. All the best to you both. Linda

  147. Dear Mary, thank you so much for you lovely comments. Just about now I wish I could summon up Mrs. Pringle to come over and “bottom out” this house. Sometimes the anxiety I feel for him, translates into nagging that he hears. So that is when I go to Fair Acre or Thrush Green for a bit, let things cool off. Then I am able to put a more peaceful composure on, and like a comfortable old sweater, I snuggle into it. I hope you husband is doing better and is on the mend. Take care,
    Jeanne

  148. Dear Jeanne

    Fear not! I too have nagging moments. I also have nasty ‘rattlesnake moments’, so I send myself to my room and do exactly as you do….I pick up a Miss Read book. Stress manifests itself in various ways and we are only human. You are not alone.
    Mary

  149. Dear Jeanne – I am sorry you are having to go through struggles with health and your husband….I hope he is doing better. I am also glad to know that those ‘rattlesnake moments’ are more common than I thought, as I have them too I am ashamed to say. There is a lot of pressure in life today, and illness magnifies that. I wish you and Mary and anyone else struggling, peace and rest in Fairacre or Thrush Green, what a blessing those books are. Hugs to you both…Linda

  150. Linda
    How kind you are and I have received your hug!
    Thank you to all the lovely ladies in our small circle. It’s frosty in Somerset but sunny. Lots of birds on the lawn and a couple of big crows who mean business!
    Love Mary

  151. It’s so lovely to find a site where others are extolling the virtues of Miss Read.
    I think of her as a real tonic and never tire of her books.

    Her old house is only a few miles from my own, how I should have loved to have brought it.

    Are there any other writers in a similar vein to Miss Read ?

  152. Hello Suzanne
    Lovely to meet you. I’m afraid I have never found another writer as skilled as Miss Read. I’ve tried plenty of authors but have always been disappointed.
    Good wishes, Mary, in Somerset

  153. Hi Suzanne, like Mary I have never found another author so complete that she touches my soul – I am grateful that she wrote so many books and that I can revisit them so often. Lucky you to live so near, that must be nice.

  154. I love the illustrations too and bitterly regret not buying some of the originals that were on sale a few years ago.

  155. I think original copies are very hard to find now….I found a few in a store, but the others are more recent copies…still I love the text and am very glad to have the set, I think I am only missing a couple of the anthologies…

  156. Hello Suzanne, welcome to the best site on the internet. I have never found another author who even came close to Dora Saint. She was one in a million, and I am so thankful I came across her books 30 years ago, and they continue to delight, inspire , comfort and make me laugh out loud after so many years. Many times I see gift books on “The Wisdom of Jane Austin”. I expect to see the same for Miss Read any day now, she was a treasure.
    Jeanne

  157. Hello ladies
    I thought you might be interested in knowing that BBC Desert Island Disc Radio 4 have now made available their interview with Miss Read. You can hear her lovely voice and listen to the 8 pieces of music she has chosen
    Mary

  158. I have been reading Gervase Phinn and Jack Sheffield and though they cannot rival Ms. Read, I have NOT been disappointed – if you need a dose of the Yorkshire Dales try Gervase Phinn.

    And here’s a little info I found out about Jack Sheffield.
    Jack Sheffield was born in 1945 and grew up in the tough environment of Gipton Estate in north-east Leeds.

    In the early 70s, he was a teacher in Keighley in West Yorkshire, during which time he earned a reputation as a hard-tackling wing-forward for Wharfedale RUFC.

    In the late 70s and 80s, Jack was headteacher of two schools in North Yorkshire before becoming Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds. It was at this time he began to record his many amusing stories of village life.

    Jack shares his time between York and Hampshire.

  159. Dear Linda
    I was peeking at Amazon and noticed that 2 of Miss Read’s books…’Hob and the Horse Bat’ and ‘Hobby Horse Cottage’ are for sale listed over £150 !! Golly, that’s a huge amount of money. I’ll do some research I think.
    All good wishes, mary

  160. Mary you are quite right that amount of money is out of many people’s reach including mine! Goodness me, I have to admit I don’t have those two books, and at that price I am unlikely to receive them…I got all my books the Fairacre and Thrush Green books plus a couple of anthologies at an estate sale, I think it was 25 books for $80, so I got a bargain I think and all the books were in perfect condition. It made me rather sad, because they did not look like they had ever been read..I am glad they made their home with me, because I read them over and over. By the way I really enjoyed the Desert Island Discs programme, thanks for mentioning it to us. I hope you are having a lovely week. Linda

  161. Dear Linda
    I think you got a real bargain with your books. It was indeed sad that they were perhaps, not read, but on the other hand, they were destined to be owned by you!
    I have bought many of my books in charity shops and sometimes have doubled up…mainly due to a senior moment of memory.
    It’s been raining non stop all day.
    Mary

  162. Thank you Mary, I think it is a good bargain because the pleasure these books have given me is worth far more. I too have a couple of duplicates, I got them at the same sale and did not realize until I got home. I gave them to another lady and now she is busy collecting them.

    I am sorry it is raining it sounds miserable, it is nice here today, but by evening the chill sets in and we are having to pop the heating on every so often. Linda

  163. I live in Yeovil, Somerset and it’s been extremely wet over the last week. Sadly, some poor souls have been badly flooded in Devon and Cornwall. I’ve been reading ‘Changes at Fairacre’, to brighten my life and was again delighted by Miss Read’s description of ‘Splashem’! I’ve no doubt that today’s rascals still play the same game, much to their teacher’s disgust. They had enough water this week in which to splash!
    Good wishes, Mary

  164. I love how Miss Read’s books have come alive for everyone. She really does live in Fairacre, right? My daughters and I have the same sort of thing going on with Anne of Green Gables.

  165. Hello all and greetings from Tennessee, USA,

    I discovered Miss Read through an interview with Jan Karon. So far I’ve read Village School, Village Affairs, and No Holly for Miss Quinn. I began Over the Gate at my lunch break today.

    Even though I’m 54 years old, I’m glad I’ve just now discovered Miss Read. The world has only gotten more stressful and Fairacre is a peaceful place. I love the thought of living in a little village.

  166. Hello Sheila
    It’s so cold in England right now !
    How lucky you are to have just discovered Miss Read, so much to look forward to.
    Happy Reading.

  167. Hello Sheila, I too am in my 50s and found Miss Read recently, I have read the Fairacre series through once already and only have three more to go in Thrush Green – as you can tell I am rather addicted. I am now living in Illinois, but am originally from England (Stratford Upon Avon) and the Miss Read books bring back many happy memories of my childhood and my own village school. You are quite right the books are stress relieving and that is why I read each night before bed – it helps to dispel some of the worries in the world. Mary, my mother always said the same thing about the Christmas cards in England, and so I used to send her some from here while she was still alive. They are getting pretty strange though and many of them have lost the meaning of Christmas which is sad. I actually ency you the cold in England, it is rather warm here today about 58 degrees and I have been working in the garden in a t-shirt. I like the cold weather far better than the warm – so perhaps we should swap….

  168. Thank you so much for the article and the other authors to offer. I was looking for writers similar to Miss Read and wound up here. The only comfort food I had for a while was L.M. Montgomery and much via audio through the library. Quite by chance I discovered Farewell To Fairacre b/c the library had Sian Phillips reading of it on cassette. I trusted her to read a light book. Not the best to start with chronologically but better than not at all. I’ve been devouring Miss Read’s books, Fairacre mainly, for years since. But that first introduction was interesting: My chap (now husband,) would drop in on weekends and he was okay with audiobooks being on to help me sleep. However he was used to hearing L.M. Montgomery world without end as my choice. At some point in the wee hours he sleepily blinked, “Hmm? A car? … well maybe there was someone in 1906 with an automobile…” and drifted off again. Later on he was even more puzzled to hear a television mentioned and thought, “Huh? TV!?? This can’t be Anne of Green Gables!” So, I just wanted to share that story. Hope it amused!

  169. I’m getting an iPod for Christmas and can’t wait to fall asleep to Miss Read and AoGG! Easier on the eyes and probably faster to sleep too.

  170. Emma
    How very kind to think of me. We live in Yeovil, Somerset, and at the moment, it’s more wind than rain. The sky is grey and sullen, but the birds are out and about! Near Glastonbury, the Somerset Levels are flooded, but they are 10 miles away. I’m going to take a brisk walk soon, to the postbox. I think the exercise will do me good.
    Best wishes, Mary

  171. To all my friends, I bought a Christmas bouquet today. Not big, but it contained red carnations and white chrysanthemums, and some ‘sparkly’ stuff! I’v always loved the beautiful way that Miss Read describes the interior of her churches…’swathes of greenery, branches of berried holly, great mop-headed chrysanthemums and Christmas roses’. What a peaceful world she created, which lives in our hearts today and always will.
    Love Mary

  172. Mary, those sound lovely and perfect for the season. I was reading Village Christmas and The Christmas Mice these last few weeks, and her descriptions of life and Christmas are so wonderful. I think I regenerated my soul reading those, they are so simple and so beautifully written but really make you think about all that is really important. We are planning a quiet family Christmas, just my husband and twin daughters along with our dachshund….we don’t like all the commercial nonsense that goes with Christmas today, we prefer a simple celebration remembering all our blessings. So on that note, I would like to wish you and all of those on this thread a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and above all healthy and happy New Year. with love and best wishes, Linda

  173. Mary, your flowers sound so beautiful. I’m picturing those “great mop-headed chrysanthemums” and carnations you have bought and hope they bring you so much joy.

    Linda, what lovely thoughts you have shared with us. Thank you so much. All those good wishes are returned to you and all our Miss Read fans with love from my part of the world.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  174. Hello

    Miss Read was correct when she said that ‘the winter term was the longest and most depressing’. It’s been raining non stop for days in Somerset. I have some most unusual toadstools growing on the lawn!
    I hope Christmas was a pleasant time for all.
    With love Mary

  175. It was so good to read your comments about Miss Read. It expressed exactly my thoughts about the books . I have enjoyed them since 1967 after borrowing my mums copy of village school which she was using for her English classes. After mum died I always felt close to her when reading these books, a lot of the expressions and idioms were hers too. I didn’t realize the close connection until a few years ago and it appeared that she went to Homerton College a year before my mum, this may explain some of the ways of expressing herself and use of language. I have a photo of the college girls around 1933 and sure enough there was “Miss Read” on the front row! What a shame I was unable to discuss this with my mum who I amsure never knew that they had been at teacher training college together.

  176. I grew up in Ham near Richmond upon Thames in the 1950s and 60s. Ham was definitely just like Fairacre and I went to the village school. Partitions were pulled across one large room to make classes. Our school was built in 1870 for the poor children by the Dysart family of Ham House. The local gentry. The pot bellied stoves provided warmth and the school dinner lady came every day with cannisters which kept our food warm. Local mums came and washed up in the lobby. Of course religious education was very important there as it was a church school. Ham and Richmond is just as beautiful as it every was. Miss Read books always take me back. I find that there is a community here and now, I live in Harrow and there are still kind people.

  177. Hello Lesley
    How lovely to hear from you. I too, spent my young life in Richmond on Thames from 1946 -69. I lived in Halford road and went to Princes Road Primary school, which is now closed. My school was, as you said, just the same as Miss Read’s delightful school. We were so lucky to have happy times, which is truthfully reflected in Miss Read’s books.
    I haven’t returned to Richmond for quite a while, but I still have wonderful memories of Ham and Richmond Park. I live in Yeovil Somerset now.
    I absolutely love Miss Read’s writing and never grow tired of re-reading her books.

    All the best, Mary

  178. A true and concise telling of the Miss Read situation. She also reminds me of Flora Thompson. This comment comes from a seventy three year old man in southeastern Pennsylvania and I thank God that I was raised on the gentle literature of the great ones. My favorite book was and still is The Wind in the Willows. I take it down and read it every three or four years. Is that legal? My grandchildren laugh.

  179. Hello James

    Lovely to hear from you. I’m a 67 year old lady from Somerset UK. I think you are a very sensible man to re-read The Wind in the Willows! It’s what keeps us young isn’t it?
    I love Miss Read’s wisdom and wit. Her writing inspires me. She has produced a very good cooking book, called ‘How to cut a Cabbage’.
    Good wishes, Mary

  180. I just ordered her Cook-book from Amazon, can’t wait to get it. I still read Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh and a lot of George MacDonald, and I love “Tippity Witchit” every Halloween. Your Grandchildren will come around. Right now I am rereading “Winter in Thrush Green” with my favorite characters, and I also found “The Bird in The Tree” by Elizabeth Gouge, who had a remarkably evocative way of writing about the natural world, so much so that she reminds me of Miss Read.

  181. Don’t you think it would be wonderful if someone did a TV series on the Miss Read books, sort of like the James Herriot series they did years ago. I really wonder why no one has done it.

  182. Yes, I agree! It would be a great success.
    Maybe her daughter would be interested in pursuing this idea?

    Best wishes,
    Ineke

  183. I also agree, Susan and Ineke. There would be literally hundreds of English villages that could portray the quaintness of Fairacre, and shows like “Call the Midwife” and “Father Brown” have shown there’s a huge nostalgic interest in 1950s/1960s England. I wonder what publishing house has the rights to the Miss Read books, and if her daughter could be persuaded into giving some worthy television company permission to film them? There is a BBC site, but I’ve forgotten what it’s called, where you can suggest ideas for TV shows.

  184. Try reading Lilian Beckwith, if you like Miss Read; not quite the same, but certainly in the same vein..

  185. Maybe if we were able to get enough signatures, someone would take seriously the fact that so many Miss Read fans, all over the world, want a movie based on her books.

  186. I too ‘found’ these books about 10 years ago, I am 56 now and I think I have read both sets at least 4 times. They are on a ‘loop system’! I finish one lot ie. the Fairacre books and then on to the Thrushgreen. They are never boring and I find something new every time, its the same with the Anne books and Wind in the Willows, Cider with rosie is another book beautifully written, I also love the Just William books, I know they are nothing like the others, but so funny. One thing though – Joseph Coggs!, he never ages, was this intentional do you think.
    The one book I didn’t take to was the Thrush green book written by someone else, I think it started with the best of intentions but then lost the plot, it was sooo boring.
    My only regret is not finding them earlier, my mother died in 1993 and would have loved them also. J.

  187. Hi Jeane, I agree with you. It’s great to have sets of books that make you feel wonderful when you read them. Like you, I read my favourite authors on a “loop system” too: Miss Read, Lillian Beckwith and Jan Karon. I occasionally intersperse these with the odd crime novel for variety, but am always happy to go back to my three sure-fire happiness creators! They are my required bedtime reading!
    I noticed also that Joseph Coggs seems to be an ageless Peter Pan. He has been at Fairacre School for about 20 years and never more than 11 years old (Patrick and Ernest too), but I love him so much as a character, I don’t mind!

  188. I tried to get in touch with the BBC about a possible TV series, but the website said you would have to pitch an actual script.
    Maybe something in the “ether” will catch on. I only recently discovered the TV series Lark Rise to Candleford.

  189. Emma, I also think it’s so much fun that no one ages in Thrush Green or Fairacre. Joseph Cogs will always be about 10, the Lovelock sisters should be about 150 by now and of course Miss Read and her friend Amy will always be retirement age. I think there were only 2 deaths, Dr. Bailey and Dotty’s old dog. I think it’s part of the charm of these lovely stories that that characters stay exactly the same until we pick up another volume and they start up where we left them off. I wish PBS would latch onto a serialized Miss Read program. It’s way past time. Maybe Julian Fellows ( of Downton Abby fame) could write the script!

  190. I came here to read this blog and I feel as though I have met lots of new friends! I was given a copy of “News of Thrush Green,” when I was 12 as a Christmas present. I am now 51 and still love Miss Read.So much so that I gave birth to my daughter on Miss Read’s birthday, 17th April!
    Four years ago, one of my sons died suddenly(complication of his Type 1 Diabetes),and I felt as though my world had come to an end. Still do most of the time,but Miss Read books are very comforting and gentle on the soul. I have been so thankful for the stories over the last few years. Keep a look out for buying online. I have an autographed copy of “Battles at Thrush Green,” which cost me the same as the non-autographed copy.

  191. Hi Jane, nice to have you as part of the Miss Read fan club! This is a lovely blog, started by Becky. Now I think we all feel like where among friends here, just like we’re living in Fairacre or Thrush Green. Great that you have an autographed copy of “Battles at Thrush Green”. Hold on to it. Once some TV production company gets a TV series of the fabulous books up and running, your book will be worth a lot more.

    Like Susan, I went to the BBC website and saw you had to have a completed script to submit to them before they’ll consider making a series. I don’t know what else we can do to bring this wonderful writer to the attention of the programme makers. I might try writing to Orion Publishers and see if they own the rights to the book and if they are pursuing this in any way. Does anyone know if other publishers are involved? I see Penguin and Michael Joseph Ltd are listed as publishers. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it.

  192. The BBC produced four Miss Read radio plays transmitted on Radio 4 a few years ago, so they are aware of her.

    Perhaps Radio 4 would be a starting point again ?

  193. I know every one is suggesting a television series and at first when I read them for the first time I did think it would be a good idea, but then what about the casting and who would they get to play Miss read (why does she have no christian name)?!, or for that matter Mrs Pringle. And little Joseph Coggs he would have to age through the series.
    I must say I have got quite possesive about these books and I know everyone has there own interpretation of characters, my idea what Miss read looks like is in my head and not some BBC script writer who may have skimmed through the books and then miscasts.
    I think I prefer taking Miss Read to bed! rather than seeing her on TV.

  194. Hello Jeane,

    But isn’t this the case with every book that has been filmed?
    To me it would seem the ultimate tribute to a very popular and loved author.

    Greetings,
    Ineke.

  195. So many books have successfully been made into movies and television shows. Humphrey Bogart in Maltese Falcon, Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men were perfectly cast. I think when a movie is popular more people want to read the book it was based on. JK Rawlings was credited with helping a new generation of young people become avid readers with Harry Potter. What an enormous tribute to Dora Saint that would be. A wonderful character with no first name, Mrs. Pringle (Maude), and a host of characters who never age, and are steadfast in their support of their friends and community. These great life lessons were told in such a gentle,loving way that no one felt bashed over the head with them, like so much contemporary very violent fiction. Maybe we should get a petition started. I’d sign it.

  196. Hi Everyone,

    I did write to Orion Publishers, and they referred me to a Miss Dereham who is the agent for the Dora Saint Estate. In case you are interested, the following is what I wrote, and the reply I received from Miss Dereham. Sorry, Jeane, if you are upset about this, but I would love to see these books come to life on screen.

    *****
    Subject: Miss Read series of books – TV adaptation

    Dear Miss Dereham,

    I have written to Orion Publishers with a request re the commissioning of a television adaptation of Miss Read’s series of books. The publishers have referred me to you as I believe you are the agent for the estate regarding the TV rights. The following is the information I asked the publishing house. Could you give the Miss Read followers any hope regarding a tv series?!

    I’m part of a large fan club of Miss Read – we’re all avid readers of the books and cannot believe that no TV series has been commissioned based on her superb stories set in Fairacre and Thrush Green. I am a lay person and have no idea about the proprieties of getting a book to the TV screen, but I’m hoping that others may have approached you regarding this.

    Could you advise me:

    (a) If the Miss Read books are in any way under consideration for television adaptation?
    (b) If not, is there anyone we could approach who might be able to carry this idea further?

    I am assuming that, since Dora Saint’s death, her daughter has the rights to the books and her permission, along with those of the publishers, would be needed.

    In view of the huge success of TV series like James Herriot, Father Brown, and Larks Rise to Candleford, I believe Miss Read would have equal appeal to this kind of audience.

    I’d really appreciate any advice you can give so that Miss Read’s fans no longer have to ask ourselves “What can we do to get these books on TV?”

    ***
    This is Miss Dereham’s reply:

    I do look after the Miss Read books, but there is an agent – MBA Ltd. of London – who looks after the television rights, and I have passed your email to her.

  197. Hello Emma,
    You are a Jane Austin girl, for sure.Would you list the address you wrote to? I would gladly send a letter or email. I am still watching re-runs of” Larkrise” and that show isn’t in production any longer, but the re-runs are on every Thursday, giving that program a very long life, along with “Cranford” and all the Miss Marple mysteries.
    Best,
    Jeannie G.

  198. Hi Jeanne G,

    LOL at your comment! Do you think perhaps it will be best to wait and see if I get a reply from MBA Ltd of London before we send any more emails? I will, of course, let you know the minute I receive any news – good or bad. But if you do want to write now too, the email addresses I sent the message to are:

    Orion Books: rights.enquiries@orionbooks.co.uk
    Jenny Dereham (agent): jenny.dereham@ic24.net

    Here’s hoping we hear something soon. I was very impressed by the prompt response I got from both people – 2 days from Orion and less than 40 minutes from Jenny Dereham! Fingers crossed!

  199. Wow. Talk about fast work once we get started. Received the following reply from the MBA people. Took less than 20 minutes to reply! Looks (hopefully!) promising:
    *****
    From: Susan Smith
    Subject: RE: Miss Read series of books – TV adaptation

    Thank you for your email. It’s always nice to be reminded that there are lots of Miss Read fans about!

    The Fairacre novels are all under option to a British TV production company. That means that they are thinking about making them into a series but nothing is in any way definite at the moment. The producer is waiting to see if a high-profile screenwriter will become available to work on the scripts, as that will encourage a broadcaster like the BBC to pick up the project, so we are just waiting patiently to see if that happens. Like you, we think the books would be wonderful on TV and we’re very much keeping our fingers crossed that this will come about in the next couple of years.

    Thank you for your interest.

    All best
    Susan

  200. Take a bow,Emma, for the wonderful follow up and sharing this news. It’s fun to think I am part of this great groundswell of support, but when it comes to Dora Saint count me in.I started in to reading ,once again, the Thrush Green series last night. Bliss.
    Jeannie G.

  201. I agree and I didn’t want to start ww3, but some company producing it doesn’t automatically mean it would be a success, think of the larkrise production and what a load of codswallop that turned out to be, they lost any charm that was in the books.
    Somethings are just too good to be produced. However I would love to be proved wrong.

  202. I agree and I didn’t want to start ww3, but some company producing it doesn’t automatically mean it would be a success, think of the larkrise production and what a load of codswallop that turned out to be, they lost any charm that was in the books.
    Somethings are just too good to be produced. However I would love to be proved wrong. I can’t think of anything that I would rather see.

  203. Emma,

    This sounds very hopeful and promising!
    Thanks for all your efforts!

    (I also remember how popular the television series “Heartbeat”, set in rural 60s Yorkshire, was. In the fictionalised village of Aidensfield the stories involved crimes and human tragedy, but were dealt with in a relatively cosy and comfortable way. )

    Best wishes,
    Ineke.

  204. There is a Facebook page for Miss Read, you can find it at “Miss Read (book lovers only).” Jill Saints writes in once and a while about her mother! I thought I has lost this thread for good, and I’m so pleased to find it, and all of you again!

  205. Hello Mary Young, it’s so good to see you on this site again. I thought it was gone forever and I felt terrible. Other than the Miss Read page on Face Book there’s just no one else who really appreciates Miss Read half so much as this site. Do you have her Country Cooking? I have never read it, and just sent away for it from Amazon.

  206. Hi there
    Yes, I have Country Cooking, and it’s lovely. Some fancy recipes but also some simple ones that are yummy. I am quite sure that Miss Read tried all of them out. In her Fairacre books she often mentions the dinners she shares with Amy and Country Cooking includes some of these.
    Lovely to hear from you.
    Best wishes, Mary

  207. Hello Jeanne
    Have you received your Country Cooking book yet?
    The Christmas before last, some heartless creep left a tiny black kitten on my back lawn. It was snowing and all I saw was a tiny black blob. I picked him up and fed him. Nobody claimed him so I adopted him and called him Tiggy. He’s a lovely little chap. Have you read Miss Read’s book entitled ‘Tiggy’?
    Best wishes, Mary

  208. Good Morning Mary, I am so happy you rescued your own little Tiggy, I’m sure he or she will grow up to be a superior cat! Yes, I read “Tiggy” this winter, I found it to be just a delight. I know some readers complained that it was too short, but I thought it was just right. I am still waiting for the Cook Book to arrive, the best price I found was actually from Amazon UK, so I am waiting for delivery. Then I will have all her books, except for her children’s stories. Have you read or collected any of them?
    All the Best,
    Jeanne

  209. Hi there
    I luckily have all of her books except a few of the early children’s books. Some of them are quite expensive!
    I live in Yeovil Somerset UK so I’m fortunate with Amazon UK.
    I have tried to find another author who lives up to Miss Read’s standards, but so far no luck. Have you found anyone?
    All good wishes, Mary

  210. Hi Mary, I think that Dora Saint was one in a million. I haven’t found an author yet who comes even close to her, and the ones I did find were disappointing and banal. I did run across “Cotswold Memoir” by Diz White, it’s about her journey to find the right very old cottage and the right village for her and her husband to retire in, and their adventures in doing that, however I haven’t gotten to it yet, but the book I’m reading now, “The Fifteen First Lives of Harry August” is so bleak, I’ll think I’ll starting it in the next 5 minutes! I really miss Miss Read’s wonderful stories.
    All the Best, Jeanne

  211. Dear Jeanne
    The British Library have reprinted some ‘quiet’ thrillers which are very good, featuring an old fashioned detective. So far, the titles are The Cornish Coast Murder and The Lake District Murder, both by John Bude. Not quite like Miss Read, but they take you back to stylish times with atmosphere.
    Hope all is well with you. My email is http://www.pfaster@btinternet.com
    All good wishes, Mary

  212. I love reading Miss Read. I am so glad to have chanced upon her book at the local library. I have been devouring every title of hers I can get. Teaching has always held a dear place in my heart (My parents were teachers.), and really her engaging, forgiving view of mankind is like a soothing cup of tea that she shares with her neighbors.

    I have linked to her title here in my post. Is there any way to get all her collected works in print? That would be a nice present for myself to savor over the years leading to my retirement 🙂
    https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/miss-goodie-two-shoes/

  213. I totally agree. There is no one like Miss Read – I adore the picture of humanity she paints with a jab of humor, candor and all the time, never shying away from unpleasantness.

  214. I discovered the Miss Read novels at my local library in Moncton, New Brunswick more than 10 years ago and re-read them regularly. I introduced my sister to them also and she was an avid fan. My sister was a school teacher in Kannus, Finland and these stories nurtured and comforted her immensely. My beloved sister died in 2010 at the age of 51 and her collection of Miss Read books were donated to the public library in Kannus, Finland. I am so happy that Miss Read is enjoyed far and wide!

  215. Hello Mary Ann, I live in Southeastern Massachusetts and I have been collecting Miss Read’s book for 30 years. I have a always found her to be calming, uplifting, kind, funny and empathetic. There are many of us, from all over the world on the Miss Read page on Facebook. Your sister sounded like a lovely woman and I am sorry for your loss.

  216. Hi Jeannie: Lovely to hear from you! Thanks for the link to Facebook…never thought to check there. I seem to be drawn to books like Miss Read – Jan Karon comes to mind and want to check out the suggestions mentioned in the blog like Angela Thirkell and Ann Purse. I like lighter murder mysteries too and our librarian pointed me to M.C. Beaton which I love on these snowy, storm-stayed maritime winter days. My sister was the teacher’s union rep in her village and had to give many speeches when teachers retired etc. She often quoted from Miss Read: so many scenes described life in Kannus . A phrase from Miss Read is often used in our family “it makes one come over fair prostrate with dismal”. We always get a laugh with that one! Take care and bye for now.

  217. Hi Mary Ann, a friend of mine who lives in Somerset, recommended The Billbury Chronicles, they are a series of 7 books. She said they reminded her of Miss Read writing. I’m going waiting for book 1 to arrive from Amazon. It’s been so difficult for me to find any author remotely like her. She was one in a million. I always re-read her at night and I am into Chronicles of Fairacre once again.
    Happy reading, Jeannie

  218. Hi, I’ve really enjoyed chancing across this blog – I especially loved the comment in the main article about how impossible it is to explain how fantastic these books are to people who haven’t read them! I tried telling my dad about them the other day and he looked at me like I was insane! I’ve been collecting them for 15 years and over the last couple of years I’ve started downloading the audio books – read by people like Prunella Scales and Siam Phillips, they are wonderfully relaxing to listen to. I put them on quietly as I’m about to go to sleep and drift off into the calming world of Fairacre or Thrush Green. Its the perfect antidote to the stresses of the day. It’s great to read the comments of other devotees and I absolutely agree that a TV series would be wonderful.

  219. Hi Helen and welcome. I have met so many wonderful people on this site from all over the world who love Dora Saint’s books. There is a page on Facebook called, Miss Read ( for book lovers only). We all have a great time discussing books, characters, towns and favorites. It’s a lot of fun. I am currently rereading News From Thrush Green. For the umpteenth time. My Dad used to make the same sort of comments, “tea with the vicar books”, he called them. Treasure them, I do mine.
    All the best,
    Jeannie

  220. I am very happy to find this blog. The Miss Read books mean the world to me. I happened onto my first Miss Read book several years ago. I’ve gotten to where I keep one of her books by my bed at all times. Whenever I’m stressed or anxious about anything I can pick up any of her books for a half hour and the stress melts away. These books are for everyone. I’m surprised more men have not written in. Thank you for doing this blog!

  221. Hi there, John. I haven’t been back to this board for a while, so it was nice to catch up on some comments and find a new Miss Read devotee in you. Isn’t it wonderful that Miss Read can melt away your stress – that will always be true. I know just what you mean. I was walking through some very different fields today in a country far from England, but Miss Read sprang to mind. Even though the crop I wandered through was rice and not the wheatfields of Fairacre, still the different golds and greens and yellows of the fields for as far as I could see, with each field surrounded by purple and pink cosmos, transported me to England. I really could “see” Miss Read taking her class on a nature walk. It was blissful!

  222. Hello, everyone! I’m a long-time fan of the books as well. It’s good to find other fans! I find her books soothing, and my favorite time during which to read them is the winter break. Like Miss Read, I teach in a small church school that’s occasionally had worries about closing.

    I’d not thought of filming them for a TV series. Whom would you think would do for the main characters?

  223. Good morning from Chicago Reagan.

    I also love Miss Read, and re-read her books on a regular basis. I had always thought Dame Judi would make a sympathetic Mrs. Bailey, and perhaps Bill Nigh for Harold, and the actress who played Queenie, could be Ella. I feel as if I know those characters as well as my own family.

    Best, Jeanne

  224. WOW I have met other Miss Read fans I have been reading her books for more years than I care to remember. It is sheer escapism I would love to get in touch with like minded readers.

  225. Hi Anne,

    We’re so lucky that Becky created this forum for all the happy Miss Read readers. Welcome to the club! We seem to have stopped writing for a couple of years – maybe we’re all too busy re-reading the Fairacre and Thrush Green series for the 100th time!!

    I was wondering the other day how advanced the TV company plans are in their proposed production of a Miss Read TV series. When I wrote a few years ago, they said that there may be some action on this within 2 years. Nothing so far. Do you think I should write a follow-up? If the TV series comes to fruition, I really don’t care who they cast in the roles – all the suggestions made would be fine by me. I’m sure any of the current actors and actresses the TV people chose would be superb. All I’m longing for is to “feel” the cosiness of the 1950s/60s Cotswold villages and walk their streets with Miss Read.

    I hope all our old fans are happy and doing well, especially Mary who I know was having a few health problems. Big hugs to everyone.

  226. It’s so nice to be in contact with other miss read fans. I wonder does anyone know if joe coggs was based on a real person x

  227. I love Joe Coggs, too. My heart aches when he is blamed for everything that goes wrong in his dysfunctional house and he runs away. I would assume that the character is entirely fictional, though as Dora Saint and her husband had been teachers, there may be smatterings of reality about little Joseph. The person to ask (apart from Dora Saint’s daughter!) would be Ineke. She actually met “Miss Read” in her beautiful house in the country, so Ineke may have asked just that question. I hope she’s still reading this forum and will reply to you.

  228. I have been meaning for years to look for a Miss Read forum, because I hardly know anyone else who reads them. Except for my wonderful sister; we can talk Miss Read for hours without repeating ourselves. So – Thrush Green or Fairacre? Does anyone know which Miss Read herself preferred (can’t think of her as Dora).

  229. Hi Tracey,

    Re: which series Miss Read preferred. I remember reading, I think it must have been in “The World of Thrush Green” where Dora Saint makes reference to diary entries and comments on her characters and places, she says “I have to finish with that pesky teacher at Fairacre…” or words to that effect – though I know she used “pesky teacher”. That surprised me, as I prefer the Fairacre books and the characters that inhabit them to the Thrush Green ones. From the sounds of that comment, Dora Saint got a bit sick of writing about “Miss Read” and the Fairacre school. Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly where I read her comment, but perhaps other forum users have better memories. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because we all as readers get so much enjoyment from the lovely books that Dora Saint left us. Good that you have a sister to discuss the books with.

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