Monday, April 16, 2012

In Memoriam - Miss Read

Miss Read (M) (Dora Jessie Saint) has passed away at the age of 98. Over the course of four decades she delighted readers with tales from Fairacre and Thrush Green, two fictional English villages. Her gentle stories were social commentaries which celebrated nature and the joys of village life. Readers describe Miss Read books as a wonderful way to escape stress and to lose yourself in a simple, uncomplicated world.

Dora Saint was born in 1913 and became a schoolteacher in a small village school. She began her writing career with Village School (M) published in 1955. "Fairacre is a village of cottages, a church and the school - and at the heart of the school, its head mistress, Miss Read. Through her discerning eye, we meet the villagers of Fairacre and see their trials and tribulations, from the irascible school cleaner Mrs Pringle, to the young school children, with their scraped knees, hopeful faces and inevitable mischief. Miss Read takes us through the school year, beginning with the Christmas term, when the bitterly cold weather challenges the school's ancient heating system, right through to the hot summer day when school is over for another year. Full of Miss Read's unique, acerbic wit, and wry observations, Village School is an intriguing glimpse into a forgotten world, and has become a true classic." publisher Saint never disappointed her readers, keeping them regularly supplied with stories up until her retirement in 1996 with aptly named A Peaceful Retirement (M).

Miss Read stories remain a popular choice amongst readers and she has inspired other authors like Jan Karon (M) to create amusing, heartwarming stories in her Mitford Years (M) series.

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