The Life and Times of a busy bookseller, her husband and Gordon setter dogs in North Norfolk.

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Born In Essex, UK.
School in Luton.
College - Sussex.
Worked in Cambs.
Now Living in Norfolk.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Loss of another favourite author - Miss Read/Dora Saint including Bibliography

Somehow I missed hearing about the death of Miss Read pseudonym of Dora Saint,  on 7th April this year.  It came to my attention a couple of days ago, and despite her making the good age of 98, almost 99, still made me sad.  With her passing, another writer leaves us, who in her writings brought memories of a certain sort of England and its rural village life. This may not be a type of England that all people experienced, but it was one that she enjoyed for some years in her youth, and wanted to preserve in words and pass on to others in her fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green.

Dora Jessie Saint, so much better known to her readers as Miss Read actually started her life in London,(See part 1 of her autobiography as a child A Fortunate Grandchild which describe her days as a London child) and moved to the country when her family moved to the countryside to aid her mother's health. From 1921 to 1924 she went to the local village school and she clearly made many friends and found living in a small community fun (as can be seen in Time Remembered the 2nd part of her autobiography as a child). At school she was good at both reading and essay writing, and went on to follow her father into the world of teaching. She taught in Middlesex from 1933 - 1940 when she married Douglas Saint, and after the war, although doing occasional supply  teaching, turned more to writing, including articles for magazines, and scripts for the BBC schools service.

The first of the Fairacre novels, Village School, was published in 1955. The rest of the series then followed:

Village Diary (1957)
Storm in the Village (1958)
Over the Gate (1964)
Village Christmas (1966)
The Fairacre Festival (1968)
Tylers Row (1972)
The Christmas Mouse (1973)
Farther afield (1974)
Village Affairs (1977)
Village Centenary (1980)
Summer at Fairacre (1984)
Changes at Fairacre (1991)
Fairwell to Fairacre (1993)
A Peaceful Retirement (1996)
Chronicles of Fairacre: Omnibus (1972)
Further Chronicles of Fairacre: Omnibus (1972)
Mrs Pringle (1989)
Fairacre RoundaboutL omnibus (1990)
Miss Read's Christmas Tales: Omnibus (1990)
Christmas at Fairacre: Omnibus (1991)
Miss Read chronicles Giftset: Omnibus (1992)
Village Christmas/The Christmas Mouse: Omnibus (1993)(2003)
Fairacre Affairs omnibus (1997)
The Last Chronicle of Fairacre: Omnibus (2001)
Storm in the village/The fairacre festival:omnibus (2002)

Miss Reads other well known Series was her Thrush Green set of books, another rural sequence:

Thrush Green (1959)Winter in Thrush Green (1961)
News from Thrush Green (1970)
Battles at Thrush Green (1975)
Return to thrush Green (1978)
Gossip from Thrush Green (1981)
Affairs at Thrush Green (1983)
At Home at thrush Green (1985)
The School at thrush Green (1987)
Friends at Thrush Green (1990)
Celebrations at Thrush Green(1992)
The year at thrush Green(1995)
Christmas at thrush Green(2009)

Life at thrush Green - Omnibus (1984)
More Stories from Thrush Green: Omnibus (1985)
The World of thrush Green: Omnibus (1988)
Tales from Thrush Green: Omnibus (1994)
Encounters at Thrush Green: Omnibus: (1998)
The Villagers of Thrush Green (1999)
Farewell Thrush Green: omnibus (2000)

Apart from her 2 main series of books set in fiction country villages around village schools, Miss Read also wrote some other books. The following complete the list.

Caxley Chronicles

The Market Square (1966)
The Howards of Caxley (1967)
The Caxley Chronciles (Omnibus of above) 1999

Other novels

Fresh from the Country (1955)
Hobby Horse Cottage(1958)
Miss Clare Remembers(1962)
Tiggy (1971)
Emily Davis (1971)
Hob and the Horse Bat (1974)
Animal Boy (1975)
No Holly for Miss Quinn (1976)
The White Robin (1979)


Country Bunch (1963) (1992)
The Little Red Bus & Other Rhyming Stories (1991)
Miss Read's Christmas Book (1992)
Tales from a Village School (1994)
A Country Christmas (2006)
Non-Fiction including autobiographical works

Miss Read's Country Cooking: (1969)
A Fortunate Grandchild (1982)
Time Remembered (1986)
The English Vicarage Garden: 30 Gardens of Beauty and Inspiration (1988)

Miss Read wrote about the simple, the good things in life - friendship, the countryside, nature, and harmless gossip.  She was realistic about the downs as well as the ups in village life, but she did let good prevail. Her stories had a charm and appeal that many appreciated and her characters had values and a stability that many still seek out in a fast changing world. I feel sure her work will be appreciated for many years to come. Many of her books we delightfully illustrated by John Goodall

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