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!"
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"
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"
A new excitement comes to the village of Thrush Green when Harold Shoosmith, a distinguished bachelor who has chosen the village for his retirement, takes the corner house on the green. Harold is soon enmeshed in village politics and becomes involved in the private lives of his neighbours as well. His presence has a dramatic effect on Dimity Dean and Ella Bembridge and is the cause of a serious misunderstanding between the two friends.
Summer at Fairacre charmingly recounts this bright, bustling season and the problems and possibilities that unfold against the backdrop of roses, skylarks and bees... Joseph Coggs finds a temporary home in the schoolhouse while his mother is in the hospital. Miss Read’s friend Amy mysteriously disappears. And, perhaps most difficult of all, Mrs. Pringle, the grumpy school cleaner, is unable to work because of her ‘bad leg’.
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.
There are new people on the Green... When old Admiral Trigg and his sister Lucy died, their house - Tullivers - stood empty for many months. Then one bright April day, some discreet onlookers saw a good-looking woman pushing her way through the nettles to the front door. Who was she? Was she on her own? Had she bought the house, and, if so, what kind of a neighbour would she be?
Having enjoyed robust health throughout her career, Miss Read, the village schoolmistress at Fairacre, is looking forward to an energetic retirement in a few years' time. But, to her dismay, she is suddenly taken ill. She has no wish to give up her post yet, but memories of her former colleague collapsing in front of the schoolchildren haunt her. Is it time to say farewell to Fairacre?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
‘As I have been given a large and magnificent diary for Christmas... I intend to fill it in as long as my ardour lasts.’ Luckily, Miss Read’s ardour lasts all year, encompassing every aspect of Fairacre life. Whether embroiled unwillingly in her friend Amy’s marital hiccups, discussing the changing world with Miss Clare or the modern problems of good local education and rural impoverishment with the schools inspector and the doctor, she remains balanced, humorous and wise.
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"
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.
The village schoolmistress, Miss Read, greets retirement with excitement, and settles down to endless lazy days, but her idyll is interrupted by the daily cares of her friends and fellow villagers in this, the latest Miss Read novel.
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"
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"