Tyler's Row by Miss Read
Is there anywhere else where we can go from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Miss Read? I enjoyed sharing my love for Mr Schwarzenegger, but today thought we would return to something comfy and cosy. Here in the UK it has been stormy, the rain has been biblical and also quite cold. Our sweet Hattie does not mind a bit of rain, she loves a puddle she can run through, and enjoys wearing her rain jacket, but even she has said 'Nope' this week and turned around to come home.
In the UK, Between the Covers is back. The lovely BBC2 series where books are reviewed. Being the worst book blogger in the world, I only clocked this when episode 2 was aired. But it is available to catch-up on the BBC iplayer. This year as well as the usual BYOB (Bring your own books), the panel discuss a new book and a booker winner from the past. But on with today's review!
The cottages called Tyler's Row, with their warm thatch and leaded panes, were intended to provide a haven of peace for the Hales.
Sandwiched between the redoubtable Sergeant Burnaby and poisonous Mrs Fowler, however, they soon found that Fairacre was no outpost of Utopia but an average English village.
Ever since Village School Miss Read has seasoned her chronicles of Fairacre with a dash of sweet-scented acid. In Tyler's Row the mixture is as astringent, the story as beguiling and the characters as varied as usual
First of all, my edition of this book comes from the 1970's and I'm not sure what the person writing the blurb on the back was on when they wrote this. Astringent? Acidic? Hardly.
If you were to read through past reviews of Miss Read books on this blog, you will see that I always pick on the different styles of the books. The Fairacre series is some 20 strong, and this is Book number 10. Yet the series still feels as fresh as a daisy. I believe this is due to the playfulness of styles used in the novels. We have regular novels, stories of our favourite characters, a notebook style, a book consisting of stories told over the gate, and in the case of Tyler's Row we focus on a set of 3 houses.
The action falls between the history of the houses, and its purchase by Peter and Diana Hale complete with tennants - a retired army man, and a rather nasty woman. This is nicely spliced with what is going on in Miss Read's world and it is here we can catch up with our favourite regulars - Mrs Pringle, Mr Roberts, Amy and the children at the school. It's another useful device and the plot moves along at a cracking pace, as poor Diana is driven slightly mad by her troublesome tenants. As I am sure you can imagine, Miss Read has a lot to say about this.
Even though this is Book 10 in the series, it is not important to have read the first 9. Indeed I have got out of sync with the series. This can be read as a standalone novel. It was my first time reading this as well, which was a lovely surprise. I have very much enjoyed this. It's another lovely addition to the Fairacre series and is perfect for when the weather is rotten. Heaven!