2 Thrush Green Novels by Miss Read
No your eyes are not deceiving you! There are 2 reviews in this post as part of the #MissReadReadalong. The Instagram group I am part of have gone rogue! If you were to check out my list of Miss Read Books in Order, then you would see that there is a 13th Thrush Green novel entitled Christmas at Thrush Green. We have decided that as we have enjoyed our year in Thrush Green, it would be fitting to read this in December.
This does come with an asterix though, in that while Dora Saint (Miss Read) was heavily involved in the final book, indicating the plot and suchlike, the writing has actually been done by her long term editor. Apparently, the language is slightly more modern. But we shall see and of course I will be posting my review once we have discussed it.And so without further ado, let us finish off the last 2 books written solely by Miss Read herself.
Celebrations at Thrush Green
A major double celebration is planned in the Cotswold village of Thrush Green, the village school is in it's centenary year; and exactly one hundred years ago, one of the the village's most notable residents founded a mission school in Africa.
But the preparations are beset with problems. Winnie Bailey's health is not what it was; the new Headmaster doesn't appear to be entirely right for the job; and there are mixed reactions to the fundraising appeal for the mission school.
But when the big day arrives, there are more reasons for celebration than anyone anticipated.
The Year at Thrush Green
January has been bitterly cold in Thrush Green, but at last the winter seems to be melting into a beautiful Spring. But with the warmer weather comes a series of local dramas in the Community; the future of the Fuchsia Bush Tea Shop is uncertain when its owner falls ill; there are problems concerning Rectory Cottages, which prove hard to solve; the plans for the village fete - always an event rife with conflict are hotting up.....
Meanwhile the arrival of a stranger from America excites much interest and curiosity. Who is he? and what effect will he have on the village?
It seems fitting to review these 2 books together, as there are actually similar plot devices in both. It becoming apparent that Miss Read was perhaps coming to the end of her time writing about Thrush Green.
As always, the books are gentle, the pacing slow and the characters well-loved. And both are filled with Miss Read's wry sense of humour. The headmaster driven to near madness by his exuberant teaching colleague teaching the young children country dancing with an almost evangelical zeal. The way Betty Bell sets about her cleaning of the Shoosmith residence with such gusto that Harold is forced to anchor down sentimental items and important papers, lest they meet Betty's duster.
In Celebrations, we encounter our old friend Nathaniel Patton, the focus of the first Thrush Green novel and it is interesting to consider how far we have come. If it wasn't for Nathaniel, Harold would never have come to the village and married Isabel. Dimity would not have married the wonderful vicar Charles Henstock and the Rectory Cottages would not have been built. Nathaniel's influence stretching far and wide and throughout time.
Year at Thrush Green is set out beautifully, a month devoted to each chapter. And it is here that we remember a much beloved character - Mrs Curdle. Just like Nathaniel, even though she has gone, her spirit is much felt. Not only in the presence of her beloved grandson now married to a local girl and with a child of their own, but remembrances of a bunch of paper flowers brought each year as a way of thanks. And her influence in bringing a couple together across the seas. It is lovely to have her back and hear the villager's many warm memories of her.
Both books feel a fitting end, closing the curtain on the village of Thrush Green and saying goodbye to some of our beloved characters. i will read with interest the next title and hope that the spirit of Thrush Green remains alive.