Friday, September 20, 2019

Village Diary by Miss Read

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single school teacher of a certain age, must be in want of a husband. And the folks of Fairacre are certain that the newest bachelor in town must be heaven-sent for their favorite spinster, Miss Read. She isn't interested in him in the least, but when he chooses another, the townspeople kindly express their regrets to her. Happily, she sees the bright side of their meddling:

Sitting alone, in that quiet classroom, with only the tick of the wall clock and the faint shouts of my approaching pupils to be heard, I felt perhaps more keenly than ever before, just what it means to be a villager - someone whose welfare is of interest (sometimes of unwelcome interest) to one's neighbors - but always to matter. It was a warming thought - to be part of a small, living community, members one of another, so closely linked by ties of kinship, work and the parish boundaries, that the supposed unhappiness of one elderly woman affected all.

Village Diary is book two in the series and includes all the same characters (over 30 of them) as book one, and adds Amy, Miss Read's well-heeled friend from London. Her busy, plush life is in stark contrast with the village school teacher's, but Miss Read would much rather live quietly. She writes:  I, finding myself remarkably uninteresting, am only too pleased to observe others and the natural objects around me. Thus I am spared the pangs of self-reproach, and, as my lot is cast in pleasant places, find endless cause for happiness and amusement.

These books are not Christian fiction (thank goodness!) but they frequently contain biblical references (like the highlighted phrase above) and contain Christian themes (community, grace, forgiveness, etc. ) Plus the writing is delightful: Outside the post office grow three fine lime trees, murmurous with bees on summer afternoons.

I'm still not sure I'll love Fairacre as much as Thrush Green, but I've enjoyed the first two novels.



booklearner said...

I hope to read this in the near future. I enjoy your reviews!

Carol said...

Just checking to see if I can post comments. I'm having trouble doing this on Blogger.