Summer at Fairacre and Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre

Summer at Fairacre by Miss Read  (#16)

Another wonderful visit to the English village of Fairacre. I feel like I'm on vacation when I read these gentle, comforting books. 

Her descriptions of the countryside, flowers and birds, and the endearingly down-to-earth villagers paint Fairacre as just about perfect, though she is also candid about its flaws. Her neighbours can at times be annoying, but even then she tells it with such good humour you have to smile.  

The Publisher's Weekly blurb inside the cover sums it up well:

"Miss Read has created an orderly universe in which people are kind and conscientious and cherish virtues and manners now considered antiquated elsewhere...An occasional visit to Fairacre offers a restful change from the frenetic pace of the contemporary world"

But the best description I've ever read comes from Kirkus Reviews: 

"A soothing oasis of tidy living for the frazzled reader weary of an untidy world."  

I will keep returning to that soothing oasis because there I am reminded that human beings can be better than the newspaper headlines and tv reports say we are. These books are a fine place to shelter once in a while, and though I am sadly near the end of the Fairacre series, I still have the Thrush Green series to look forward to. I never tire of these gems. 

 Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre by Miss Read (#17)

he main subject of this one is Mrs. Pringle, the school cleaner. She's a curmudgeonly woman who can be terribly frustrating, but she keeps the school and Miss Read's house spotless and so her peculiarities are tolerated.

 Here we read about her history with the school, her family, and the various run-ins she has with other villagers. Everyone is a intimidated by her bossy, abrasive ways but underneath that hard surface there's a heart that means well, sometimes. 

Mrs. Pringle is only one of the oh-so-real characters you'll meet in the Fairacre books. Others are Miss Read, the patient teacher; Mr. Willet, her helpful neighbour; Amy, Miss Read's closest friend; Miss Clare, the retired teacher who inspires and advises Miss Read; and several single men everyone seems to think Miss Read should be trying to marry. 

If you haven't read any of these books, you are missing something wonderful. The world contained within them is as refreshing and entertaining as that of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Treasures, every one of them. 


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