Miss Clare Remembers and Over The Gate by Miss Read
These are books 4 and 5 in the Fairacre series by Miss Read (Dora Saint).
Miss Clare is an elderly retired lady who spent most of her life teaching at Fairacre School. A regular in this series, she is a good friend of Miss Read's, the current school mistress, and one of the characters that make these books so wonderful.
The book is, as the title suggests, Miss Clare telling stories of her own life from childhood days to the present. She lived quite an ordinary life, as do most of the people in these stories, but the beauty of these books is not in exceptional stores; it is in the appealing way ordinary ones are told. The lovely language with an occasionally wry tone, the attention to nature as the seasons change and the willingness of the villagers to accept the quirks and flaws of their neighbours all make this series a delight to read.
In "Over The Gate" the focus swings back to Miss Read and her life as current school mistress at Fairacre. She tells stories about her students, her run-ins with the grumpy cleaning lady, Mrs. Pringle, her friends in the village and the seasonal events that are a regular part of village life. At one point, she seriously questions whether Fairacre is where she wants to spend the rest of her life. With a good friend encouraging her to make a change before she becomes too settled in her ways, she takes a long, hard look at what she wants for her future: Fairacre or someplace where life might be a little easier?
I thoroughly enjoyed these books, as I always do, but alas it is time to move on and work at getting some of the 60 or so unread books off my tbr shelves. I reduced that number by 28 last year, but now I need to clear at least one shelf completely because I have no place left to put the books I have read. I think, too, this will be the year I go through all my shelves and get rid of some of those books. I hate to do it but the reality of a small house and few shelves forces me to it. Maybe I'll find some to use for giveaways - that will make the cruel task at least a little more fun.