Thrush Green by Miss Read
There are many wonderful things available to book-lovers on Instagram. Not only are there a plethora of book recommendations guaranteed to bolster anyone's wish-list, but there are also book groups, giveaways, buddy reads and read-a-longs. How often have you been looking forward to reading a particular novel, to discover a friend is reading it at the the same as you. This year, I have decided to take part in the #MissReadreadalong2021. Count me in! Miss Read is only one of my favourite authors.
So for each month, the challenge is to read the Thrush Green novels in order. January saw us reading the first book in the series, which is Thrush Green. Miss Read tends to be known for her 2 series of books set in the villages of Thrush Green and Fairacre. I tend to stick with the Fairacre novels for no other reason than I have them on my shelf. But I have to say it has been a lovely delight to return to Thrush Green.
On a day in May, Mrs Curdle's fair is due to arrive in Thrush Green, as it does every year. Mrs Curdle is pondering the future of the fair after a bout of ill-health and has an important decision to make about her successor. Her grandson Ben is excited to return to Thrush Green as it is where Molly Piggott lives who has stolen his heart. However he does have to contend with her garrulous father, Albert Piggott. Mrs Curdle's great friend, Dr Bailey, also has a big decision to make about the future of his practice after being very unwell. Dr Lovell, temporarily working with Dr Bailey is considering his future in Thrush Green, especially now Joan Young has caught his eye. And Joan's young nephew, Paul, is desperately hoping he has recovered from a bug so that he can go to the fair.
The first thing I noticed and enjoyed about the novel was it's structure. With the fair at its heart, the book is split into morning, afternoon and evening and we encounter each of the main characters and learn more about their back-story. It is a clever tool and so the book is really is about one day in the Thrush Green calendar. The characters are wonderfully explored. We witness a child's excitement about the fair through Paul and the descriptions of the carousel and swing-boats are made magical seen through Paul's eyes.
The friendship between Dr Bailey and Mrs Curdle is sublime. We learn how Dr Bailey saved Mrs Curdle's son, George, during a difficult birth and how Mrs Curdle always makes a bunch of material flowers for Dr Bailey and comes to check on them each year. Their situations are both so similar, both have been ill, both are contemplating the future. When the pair meet to discuss this, the conversation is well-written as both reach their decisions. As Dr Bailey reflects on their friendship and what is to come I did feel myself shedding a tear.
Mrs Curdle is truly written as a 'Great Lady', remembering her son George, killed during the Great War and hoping for only the very best from her grandson Ben. She is fearsome, yet full of love, always demanding respect and receiving it.
Village life is always at the heart of the novel. The fair is a highlight in the villager's calendar and of course everyone knows each others business.
A Miss Read novel is always a highlight for me and this is a wonderful introduction to the village of Thrush Green. I'm so excited to be joining this challenge and already looking forward to reading the next novel.
I will be back tomorrow with my January wrap up! (Only 8 days late!)