Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
As previously mentioned in my book review for Thrush Green, I have signed up for the #missreadreadalong2021 on Instagram. This challenge lasts 12 months, and participants read a novel in the Thrush Green series of books each month. Having read Thrush Green in January, it was time for February's choice Winter in Thrush Green.
In our lovely discussion group one of the members mentioned that BBC Sounds had a recording of when Miss Read appeared on Desert Island Discs back in the late 1970s. For those of you who may not heard of Desert Island Discs, it is a radio show that seems to have been going forever! The castaway is interviewed about their lives and select 5 pieces of music and a book, as well as a luxury item to take away with them to their desert island. Castaways have included everyone from politicians, musicians, film stars and authors. I do remember George Clooney outrageously flirting with Sue Lawley, the then presenter to the point where I think she was going with him! Miss Read's interview or Dora Saint to use her real name was a fascinating listen and I'm pleased to say that she sounds exactly as I imagine. She said that she wrote the books as an antidote to the copious books and TV shows appearing more and more about crime, rape and murder alongside writing for Punch magazine.
On with the review!
The arrival of newcomer Harold Shoosmith to the quiet village of Thrush Green causes a lot of interest among the long standing villagers. He quickly becomes active on the various village committees and spearheads the campaign for the village to mark the centenary of the birth in Thrush Green of missionary Nathanial Patten. Meanwhile Sam Curdle, cast out from his family and Mrs Curdle's fair, is up to no good and when the village school mistress is attacked and robbed in her home, her colleague and friend Miss Fogarty steps in to the breach. And the miserable sexton Alfred Piggott, is being wooed by widowed Nelly Tilling.
I have read this novel before and indeed own a very well-loved penguin orange spine edition on my bookshelves. It was lovely to re-read this, especially coming so soon after its predecessor.
The village life is captured beautifully here, everyone continues to know each other's business. It is here that Miss Read's dry sense of humour comes into its own. The section on the speculation about newcomer Harold Shoosmith had me hooting with laughter as villagers had him on the look-out for love, married, separated, divorced and widowed. He has a plethora of occupations. It being agreed that he is a military man having served in army, navy, RAF and reserves as well as working for the BBC. I do love Miss Read's wry sense of humour.
Ella Bainbridge and Dimity Dean are wonderfully portrayed and brought to life by the illustrations of J.S. Goodall. Ella and Dimity are both spinsters sharing a house. Dimity is flighty and looks frail yet manages to do all housework tasks from dusting to chopping the logs. Ella is more solidly built, an artist and definitely the bossier of the pair.
As each thread is neatly tied up, I always feel a sense of contentment on reading a Miss Read book. They always make me feel cosy and aglow inside and they remain my comfort books. I never tire of re-reading these novels and am already excited to read March's choice of 'News from Thrush Green'. They really are the perfect tonic to the times we live in.