Village School by Miss Read is more than 50 years old, but it provides a glimpse into a bygone era in a lovely part of Cotswold, England.
Miss Read is a pseudonym for Dora Saint, who wrote dozens of books set in her fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green, as well as a few additional stories in other English locations.
Village School is her first novel and I personally think her best. Miss Read has a gentle but critical eye for character and a wry wit.
The book is told in first person by the local school teacher and through her eyes, we meet the irascible school cleaner, Mrs Pringle; the drunken wife abuser Arthur Coggs, whose children attend the school; and Mrs Partridge, the skillful wife of the local Rector Mr Partridge.
Mrs Partridge can organize anything and smooth the most ruffled feathers, and the school caretaker and his wife can accomplish almost any non-academic task.
The characters are memorable, and the setting creates a lasting image and a desire in the reader to visit that village as it would have been 50 years ago.
The later novels of Miss Read become a bit too saccharine, but the earliest novels have wonderful insight into human nature, humor and express the truths of human existence while entertaining and enriching the reader's experience. This is a wonderful book!
Note from Megan, Editor of the Book Club Guide
Thanks so much for submitting your review. This seems like a sweet read and an excellent character study!
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