Village School

by “Miss Read,” Mrs. Dora Jessie Saint, 1955

What a sweet, sweet book! Transports you to an English village in about the 1930s. It’s precious – the people, the cottages, the school, the children. She takes you through the 3 terms of school: Christmas Term, Spring Term, Summer Term. She teaches the older kids and another lady teaches the infants. What a wonderful time – so much appreciation for nature. Just taking the little ones outside. Beautiful and fun times. They have “dinner” delivered every day and they eat together. In the winter, it’s cold, they have to light the stove, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Pringle, complains. They go ice skating on a pond. The young infants’ teacher, Miss Gray, falls in love with the Choir Director, Mr. Annett, and they are to be married. The children pick out a beautiful piece of crockery for a wedding gift, with Miss Read’s help; “a china biscuit barrel, sprigged with wild flowers. It was useful, it was very pretty and it was exactly the right price.”

This was an innocent trip to rural England in the 1930s. Precious and beautiful!

Here’s how the Book-A-Day calendar described it:

“The Life and Times of an English Country Schoolteacher: Calm is not a virtue much prized by literary critics, yet, as many readers are well aware, a wisely calm book can be both restful and, paradoxically, deeply stimulating. That is the case with the Fairacre books, a modest yet addictive series of novels by Dora Jessie Saint, who wrote under the pen name “Miss Read.” Saint was a teacher herself, and her working knowledge pervades these generous accounts of a quiet English community. Everyday animation fills her pages, and there’s fine irony in the narrator’s gentle but perspicacious eye as it roams over a slow, small, well-measured life that, like high adventure, is no doubt best experienced in books. Village School is the first of the 20 Fairacre books, and the best place to start.”

Here are the other 19 titles of books in the series: Village Diary, Storm in the Village, Over the Gate, The Caxley Chronicles, Fairacre Festival, Emily Davis, Tyler’s Row, Farther Afield, Christmas at Fairacre, Village Centenary, Summer at Fairacre, Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre, Changes at Fairacre, Farewell to Fairacre, A Peaceful Retirement.