Cover detail of Emily Davis by Miss Read

Emily Davis by Miss Read

Happy St David's Day to all. It seems a particularly appropriate day to say this as we have the most spring-like weather and currently have a plethora of daffodils in the garden. I'm sure I split my daffs last year, but they have come back bigger and stronger and bringing a smile to our faces. Even better we seemed to have gained a lot of tete-a-tete daffodils, the cute miniature yellow flowers winking at me. I want to remind you below of a wonderful book I read at Christmas by probably Wales' most famous author. The link is below:

Read my Review of A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

It feels like forever that I have read a Miss Read Novel, and this one has been sat on my shelf for a little while. It is a new to me book, and is all about a 'friends of' character. Just as in the Real Housewives programmes when they talk about a 'friends of' person, I am classifying Emily Davis as that too. She is the dear friend of Dolly Clare, a fellow schoolmistress, and in their twilight years, Dolly and Emily live together.

So this seems a. bit of a departure from our usual stories of Fairacre. Not a MIss Read centred novel featuring all of our old faithfuls, or was it? Let's find out shall we!

The Plot

Those familiar with Fairacre will know that Emily Davis was the much loved schoolteacher. When she dies 'her soul goes marching on' as an old frined in America says when he hears of the event. Old pupils and friends in the village remembering her warmth and wisdom, find that even now she can teach them something.
Through their individual recollections, Miss Read has given us a sensitive panorama of life in the country from the turn of the century to today.

My Thoughts

I speak often about the ability of Miss Read to bring a new take to her village stories. We have had tales over the gate, a notebook of stories and the school year. This is a slightly different take on the Fairacre series as we follow the reaction following the death of Emily Davis.

Emily Davis was Dolly Clare's oldest friend, they met whilst at school and formed a firm bond before becoming trainee teachers. As Dolly recalls meeting Emily, and how she was her protector at school from the school bullies, we learn about their loves, Dolly's tragically killed during The Great War. But Emily's fiance, Edgar, survived the war, injured and visited often by the devoted Emily. Before he fell in love with a nurse and broke off their engagement. Emily was devastated.

And so the baton of storyteller passes to Edgar, who on seeing the announcement of her death in the local paper, recalls his love for Emily and the subsequent regrets he had after breaking off their engagement.

Indeed this is the theme throughout, Emily exists only as a memory, an often kind, or funny memory, but it becomes very clear that she has touched the lives of so many people.

The whole book is very poignant, we have concern for Dolly Clare now that Emily has passed away, but we witness village life. A story, memory and kind word and a thought of somebody beloved. Miss Read never disappoints!

Today is the 1st of March, which means another book choice from my Year of Books. I'm currently reading (and enjoying) February's selection, What you are looking for is in the library by Michiko Aoyama.

Read all about my Year in Books

And so, drum roll please, my March present is.....

The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us - A Diary by Emma Mitchell

It looks a beaut!