Christmas At Fairacre by Miss Read
This is the Christmas book I've been waiting for. One might question why I've been waiting given that it's been in print for several decades. And the answer of course is that this is yet another authour of which I knew nothing till I took my first faltering steps into the blog world. If the rest of the books in her Fairacre series and her Thrush Green series are anything like this one, then Miss Read will be one of the best discoveries I've ever made.
There are three stories here: "Village Christmas", "The Christmas Mouse" and "No Holly For Miss Quinn". "Village Christmas" is about two aging sisters living across the road from a growing young family. Slightly disapproving at first, the sisters remember the true meaning of Christmas when the neighbours need their help in an emergency on Christmas morning.
"The Christmas Mouse" takes us to the home of Mrs. Berry, her widowed daughter and two young grandchildren. It is Christmas Eve, and with everything ready for the next day, the family has settled in their beds for the night. Mrs. Berry is awakened by what she fears is a mouse but turns out to be a small boy, wet, cold and about to eat the Christmas cake she'd made only that day. This encounter will change both their lives and help each one appreciate their many blessings.
The final story is "No Holly For Miss Quinn", which has Miss Miriam Quinn, in need of a new place to live, renting the annex of Holly Lodge. She is looking forward to a quiet, solitary life but things don't go according to her very carefully laid out plans. She is called away when her brother, a busy Pastor, calls to tell her his wife has been hospitalized and asks her to come help with the children. Her plans for redecorating will have to be put on hold, but, she tells herself, "What can't be cured must be endured". As she is swept up in the busyness of family life she finds herself enjoying it - and the company of a surprise visitor - far more than she had expected to.
As I came to the end of each story I wished it would keep going so I could spend more time with the wonderful, very human characters. I loved them, and was utterly charmed by the setting and the storytelling. I can't wait to read more. Very, very enjoyable.