Fairacre Festival by Miss Read
I hope you are all having a good week. I have spent a lot of the week recovering from a cold, and a rather brilliant weekend. On Saturday we travelled to Leeds to celebrate a very good friend's 40th birthday. This involved cocktails and a meal for 32 of us. We had decided to treat ourselves by staying a hotel and going out to breakfast on the Sunday, before indulging in a spot of shopping. No books were bought which is almost unheard of.
It was a fab weekend, but the weather was miserable and we both got thoroughly soaked. I think it took me till Tuesday to dry out! The drive home was not pleasant in all the rain. We arrived home and after hot showers, curled up with a cup of strong tea listening to the rain outside. Heaven!
This leads nicely into my next review, as a village recovers from a storm and is by my beloved Miss Read.
Fairacre's habitual tranquility is shattered when a storm damages the roof of the Church. It is with some dismay that the villagers learn they must find £2000 for repairs. Their only treasure is the cherished silver Queen Anne's chalice, and it is unthinkable that this should be sold, but the village is not defeated. If Edinburgh can stage a Festival, why not Fairacre? Son et lumiere in the ancient Church, with solos by a famous contralto, a flower show, a concert by the schoolchildren - gradually the funds and the excitement mount to a delightful and unexpected climax.
'Sometimes I think what a wonderful actress the stage has lost on Mrs Pringle. Her looks are definitely a drawback, but she has a fine sense of drama and puts plenty of punch into her lines'
I wanted to quote this line to you dear reader, as it beautifully captures the crispness of Miss Read's writing....and it made me snort out loud quite unbecomingly as I read it.
This is a sweet pamphlet of a book running at 80 pages long and encapsulating beautifully what life in a village can be like. It is the 7th in the Fairacre novels. I would recommend starting at the beginning, but you can read this as a standalone quite happily. A list of the novels in order can be found in the link below.
When a storm damages the roof of the Church, the villagers of Fairarcre come together to stage the 'Fairacre Festival' a week long series of events raising funds for the beleaguered roof.
Told in Miss Read's inimitable style, we learn about the politics surrounding such events. How one comment can cause mutterings of unhappiness. Miss Read's writing of character's is second to none. Her observations astute and the cast she has assembled in Fairacre is keenly written. Consider Mrs Pringle - written above. She is a richly, humorous, dour figure who I have come to love. Like our favourite traditions, I always look forward to the moment when Miss Read will ask Mrs Pringle to light the tortoise stoves in the school. She is usually met with a look of horror, protests and a sudden, pronounced limp until the great lady relents. Indeed at the start of the novel, we learn about the previous year when the stoves were lit.....horror....too early.
As I say beautifully observed, celebratory of the countryside, and each Fairacre story crisply different. I love this series.