Book Review: Thrush Green by Miss Read

I was thrilled with this book even before I began reading it.  I had ordered it from my local library and was especially happy to receive this very well read, vintage copy which hadn’t been borrowed since 2012!

You may recall,  I reviewed Christmas at Thrush Green at the end of December.  It was my first foray into Miss Reads portrayal of 1950’s Cotswold village life and I loved it. I shall continue to read through the series this year.

‘Thrush Green’ is the first in  the Thrush Green series and is a story of one day, May day.  For the residents of Thrush Green, this is a day like no other in the village calendar.  It is the day that a fair arrives in Thrush Green, and is a tradition which both young and old are deeply affected by.  For the old village residents it marked the beginning of spring but for 6 year old Paul it was the day he was to be declared free of his rash and temperature and be allowed out to visit the much longed for fair. For Molly it marked the return of Ben Curdle, the nephew of the Great Mrs Curdle, proprietor of the fair, and the boy on which she had set her heart a year ago.  For Mrs Curdle her self it was a time to catch up with her old friends Dr and Mrs Bailey, only this year was to be more significant than most.  The story weaves together the lives of the villagers, and the events and mishaps which draws together.  The fair gathers all of the happenings together and is a delicious piece of fun and excitement.  Miss Read brings to life a 1950’s fair ground in such  way that it is hard not be filled with nostalgia and longing.

“A few small booths completed the fair.  Some sold sweets, great humbugs as big as a child’s fist, vast flat tins of treacle toffee that cracked beneath the stallholders metal hammer like brown enchanted glass, and billowing clouds of pink and white candy floss.”

Reading this in January was lovely because it is such promise of spring.  The descriptions of nature are gorgeous and are connected to the many reasons I loved this book.

“The sky was a glory of colour, pink, gold and mauve, with here and there a tinge of apple green that told of the clear skies which had smiled all day upon the First of May……At his side stood a young lilac tree, its buds now so tightly furled that they looked like bunches of red currants in the rosy light.  Soon it would be adding its heady fragrance to the wallflowers and narcissi at his feet”

Like many of the books I enjoy, it might be argued that not much happens.  There are no great dramas or mysteries, and the pace is slow and gentle. For me this is what makes it so charming.  The characters, the surroundings, the kindness and the peaceful setting is what makes this such a pleasure to read.

“Thrush Green drowsed under the growing heat of the midday sun.  It was that somnolent time, soon after one o clock, when everything lay hushed.  In cottage kitchens, where the midday dinner had been served an hour before, the plates had been washed and returned to their shelves, the tables had been scrubbed, the checked cloths spread upon them and the potted plants placed to one side.  After the hubub of the morning, the kitchens showed their peaceful afternoon faces.”

Miss Read is the perfect way to escape a busy life.  I recommend her.



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