Change occurs everywhere, even in the small fictional community of Thrush Green in the British Cotswolds. Dorothy Watson and Agnes Fogerty have taught at the school for as long as anyone can remember, but now they're thinking and talking about retirement. It won't be an easy adjustment for them, or the village residents. Whom can they find that can possibly fill the women's shoes? Meanwhile, the town wonders if the Lovelock sisters will keep their domestic help. And is that young man really an architectural student, as Agnes thinks?
"Finally! More Miss Read books from Audible"
Mrs. Pringle, the lugubrious school cleaner, has always been a favorite character in the Fairacre series. Here, through the eyes and anecdotes of the schoolmistress Miss Read, and others, we trace Maud Pringle's life. They include childhood visits to the village from her Caxley home, through her working days before her marriage to Fred Pringle, and on to her long association with Fairacre School. We meet again many old friends as they cross Mrs. Pringle's path....
"Fairacre-the perfect English village-enjoy!"
Nathaniel Patten was one of Thrush Green's most famous sons. A statue of Patten has graced the village green for years, but little is actually known of him among present day townsfolk, until an unexpected letter arrives. It turns out that the upcoming centenary of Thrush Green's own village school and of Patten's founding of his mission school in Africa coincide. What a good excuse to combine the festivities for a very special celebration indeed.
"Bravo Miss Read"
When Charles Henstock, rector of Thrush Green, moves a mile downhill to the parish of Lulling, his many friends rejoice in his promotion, but an unfortunate skirmish with one of his wealthy parishioners over the Lady Chapel kneelers saddens him...
"Affairs at Thrush Green"
Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Thrush Green is normally a peaceful place. But as autumn turns to winter, feelings are running high in the village. Miss Fogerty, a respected teacher at the village school for over thirty years, is troubled by the methods of the new young teacher. Dotty Harmer takes up driving, much to the concern of others, and it isn’t long before she is involved in an accident and a threatening court case.
A weight-losing recipe sends a portly Victorian housemaid literally sky-high. Mrs Next-Door, the queen of copycats, drives her patient neighbour mad with rage; the tragic tale of the ghost of Fairacre; the touch-and-go romance of Elsie Parker. In Over the Gate, Miss Read, the village schoolmistress, continues to remember odd incidents and excellent stories and to retell them with characteristic grace and compassion.
"Over the gate"
A mouse's appearance on Christmas Eve in a widow's bedroom leads to a chance encounter with a small boy. In 'No Holly for Miss Quinn'. And Miss Quinn's preparations for Christmas are made more difficult when her brother's children come to stay.
"Christmas mouse and No holly for Miss Quin"
From the rural festivities in 'Village Christmas' to the poignant tale of a white robin, these two stories demonstrate the wry wit and light touch of Miss Read. Two heartwarming and wonderfully festive listens.
It's the May Day holiday, and a fair has come to the village of Thrush Green. The residents of Thrush Green all have their own views about the fair. For young Paul, just recovered from an illness, it is a joy to be allowed out to play at the fair; for Ruth, who returned to the soothing tranquility of Thrush Green nursing a broken heart, the fair is a welcome distraction from her own problems. And for Dr Lovell, the fair brings an unexpected new patient.
Charles Henstock, vicar of Thrush Green, is living in his new vicarage after the old one burned down. In its place are eight retirement homes, but there’s heated debate in the village about the new residents. How to choose who will live there? How will they get on together? And how will they accommodate all the pets? Meanwhile the old residents have their worries.
On a bright summer's day, old Miss Clare, now retired from teaching, awaits the visit of her oldest friend, Emily Davis. In between, she recalls the events in their 70-year friendship and country life in England during that time.
"Miss Clare remembers"
The people of Fairacre are up in arms about the possible closure of the village school. This anxious time for Miss Read is made bearable by the support of all her friends and neighbours.
Anna Lacey had spent most of her 20 years on her Essex farm. Her doting parents, rural friends and country childhood had not prepared her for the shock of relocation to a raw new neighbourhood for her first year as a teacher. But Anna was gifted with the abilities to make friends and to learn as she taught.
The Cotswold village of Thrush Green is a particularly close-knit community, where many of the inhabitants have known each other since childhood, and any unusual events are quickly noted. The visit of retired schoolteachers Miss Watson and Miss Fogerty gives great pleasure to all. The new headmaster, Alan Lester, is cautiously approved, but rumour is rife about his wife's health. The behaviour of farmer Percy Hodge is also the cause of local speculation.
Gossip From Thrush Green returns readers to that delightful English village, neighbour to Fairacre, for a golden summer. But this sleepy, pristine setting conceals a flurry of activity among the villagers. Rumour has it that Mr. Venables is considering retirement just as the village’s teacher is about to make an important decision. Molly Curdle prepares for a new baby. The kindly vicar, Charles Henstock, works on his sermon - quite unaware of the disaster that will overtake him.
Storm in the Village, Miss Read, Headmistress of Fairacre School, learns of a proposed new housing development that soon has the citizens of Fairacre up in arms. In The Fairacre Festival, after a storm damages the church roof, the villagers must raise money for repairs.
From organising the school summer fete - 'Because of our inability to recognise our climatic shortcomings from the outset, arrangements for outdoor jollities get completely out of hand' - to the sometimes rather odd passions of childhood - 'I collect stones with holes in them' - Miss Read captures the essence of rural life, and in particular of village schools, as only she can.
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.
The two-hundred-year-old cottages known as Tyler’s Row, with charming leaded-glass windows and an arched thorn hedge over the gateway, are supposed to provide a haven of peace for their new owners, Peter and Diana Hale.
As spring begins at Thrush Green, a series of local dramas takes hold of the community. Plans for the fete are hotting up, the illness of Mrs Peters at the restaurant makes the future unsure for the staff, and there are problems at Rectory Cottages.