I was in the library a few days ago and Christmas at Thrush Green caught my eye with its sparkly, snowy front cover. Years ago I read as many of Miss Read’s books that I could find in the library, but I didn’t think I’d read this one. ‘Miss Read’ is a pseudonym for Dora Saint (1913 – 2012) who wrote over 40 books for adults and children.
Christmas at Thrush Green was first published in 2009 and the title page reveals that it was written by Miss Read with Jenny Dereham. In the Acknowledgements at the front of the book Miss Read explained that she and Jenny Dereham, her long-time editor had:
… discussed the initial idea, developed the unfolding story-line and then I left her to put that into words, based on the Thrush Green characters. I am more than happy with the result and hope those people who enjoyed all the other Thrush Green books will enjoy this as much.
So, not exactly by Miss Read, but still an enjoyable book and as it was so many years ago that I read some of the Thrush Green books I can’t compare this with the other books. And I’d read more of her Fairacre books than the Thrush Green ones. It’s comfort reading, nearly 350 pages that kept me entertained, with a few memorable characters amongst its many characters. There are so many characters that I began to get confused, as some of them just melded together in my mind. Each character is introduced with a brief biography and history, which helped me sort out some of them.
Preparations for the Christmas Nativity play are under way when some of the children come down with chicken pox. Ella Bembridge is losing her sight and behaving strangely, Nelly Piggott, the owner of The Fucshia Bush Tea Shop is thrilled at winning an award, there are newcomers to Thrush Green who haven’t settled in and have upset some of the locals. I particularly liked the episodes feating the vicar, Charles Henstock and his wife Dimity, affectionately called ‘Dim’. It’s a nostalgic read about village life at Christmas time – snow, parties, and church services.
As a result of reading this I’ve decided I want to re-read/read more of Miss Read’s books, and have started Village Diary.