Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge and The Warden by Trollope are my favorites) so I was delighted that this seventh installment in the Thrush Green series focused more on Charles Henstock, the vicar.
He is assigned to a new church at Lulling and is grieved by the fact that he is often compared to the former minister. This is not because he is jealous or vain, but because he really wants what is best for the church and is not sure he fits the bill. He humbly responds to one particularly critical busybody and reaps the fruit of his kindness later in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the occasional glimpses into his heart (his humility, his faithfulness and his gratefulness, to name just a few qualities) At a discouraging moment, he remembered suddenly a phrase someone had shared with him - "Fear nothing, thank God!" The first two words covered the unknown future. The last two covered past mercies received. The rector turned over the four words in his mind, and was strengthened and comforted. (p. 70)
These books are not saccharine sweet. There are happy marriages and troubled ones. Some characters smoke, drink, or swear. But for the most part, the people of the village of Thrush Green look out for one another. And Miss Read does a bang up job of describing their daily trials and victories.