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Village School (Fairacre #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  2,335 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
The first novel in the beloved Fairacre series, VILLAGE SCHOOL introduces the remarkable schoolmistress Miss Read and her lovable group of children, who, with a mixture of skinned knees and smiles, are just as likely to lose themselves as their mittens. This is the English village of Fairacre: a handful of thatch-roofed cottages, a church, the school, the promise of fair w ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published May 15th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 1955)
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Irina
Aug 12, 2007 Irina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an avid and unashamed anglophile, I loved this book -- it's a gentle, enjoyable read where you follow the happenings in a little village in England: jumble sales, doctors who make house calls, thatched roof cottages, walks along country lanes, a 2-room schoolhouse, fireside visits with neighbors over tea, etc. with I've been reading and re-reading the series for about 10 years now.
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I turned to Miss Read's Fairacre Chronicles when I had finished the last Thrush Green book, The Year at Thrush Green. I had always thought the Thrush Green books infinitely better than the Mitford books my sisters-in-law so love. I was heartbroken when it was over. Thinking that the Fairacre novels would be more of the same, I turned to Village School.

Was I wrong! Yes, the story concerns a Cotswold village, as in Thrush Green. But the Fairacre novels are more worldly wise and the humor is much m
...more
Lynne Wald
Jun 06, 2007 Lynne Wald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone loving England in the 50's
I have read Miss Read books for many years now. I still read them regularly and get the same thrill of reading of village and school as they used to be. Her books are always by my bedside and I can always pick one of them up and get transported back into a forgotten age. Magnificent.
Hana
A charming, undemanding tale of a single year at a two-room village school in post-war England; the story is enhanced by lovely illustrations. Lovable adults and children, with a few curmudgeons just for spice. Nothing much happens, but that is sort of the point.

Not quite as much fun as Winter in Thrush Green, but full of evocative details of tending the coal stove and planning summer fetes and jumble sales. I always did wonder how they managed before indoor plumbing and now I know. Moms who ar
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Faye
Aug 16, 2007 Faye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miss Read's books are gentle, easy reads with perceptive and amusing insights into human nature. Set in small English villages, both the Fair Acre and Thrush Green series have the same hometown feel of Jan Karon's Mitford series. These books are delightful to read whenever you need a break from the hectic pace of life and the people who are making demands on your time.
Josephine
These books by Miss Read are my nostalgia fix and sometimes give me a lump in my throat.
The setting is the village school in Fairacre, the story is told by the head mistress Miss Read and they are a perfect picture of school life in a rural English village during the fifties and before.
The story covers a year in the life of the school, its pupils and their families. Many of the people are poor and struggle to manage of the wages of farm labourers but they are always there for each other. If the
...more
Ann
*Read for S524: Adult Readers' Advisory* I'm COMPLETELY shocked that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. There was a time when my mother's Mitford books infuriated me because they seemed so trite and I felt like they stood for everything I hated. Now I'm all Martha Stewart-ed and stuff, and I crave all things domestic. How things change... Maybe I liked this because it wasn't trying to force anything feel-good down my throat? Anyway, nothing really happens at all in these books (they are the e ...more
Margie
Apr 16, 2012 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of English country villages!
Recommended to Margie by: Los Angeles Times obituary
Thank you, LA Times Obituaries for introducing me to Miss Read,* although I am very sorry that she has passed on (at age 98). This book was delicious! Cozy, warm, comforting, gentle - a small English village filled with memorable characters, adults and children alike. The book follows the school year from "Christmas term" which starts in September to the end of the year in June. Nothing much happens - yet so much happens in the day to day life of the villagers of Fairacre. I want to live there! ...more
Tracy
Jul 20, 2007 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My mom introduced me to the Miss Read books a few years ago. Her books are a great way to escape to a quiet, gentle, humorous world. A cup of tea goes quite well with this book!
puppitypup
Aug 22, 2015 puppitypup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historic Fiction Feels like home

I very much enjoyed this book, more than anything, it reminded me of reading the Little House on the Prairie books as a child.

The book was written in 1955, and there are a couple of racist remarks, always startling to see. Otherwise, Miss Read's writing is engaging and her characters easily imagined.

I saw some people had categorized this as a cozy mystery, but there's really no mystery. It's more a "slice of life" look at each month of the school year in a small
...more
Sarah
I have just listened to this audiobook a second time round because I love it so much. It is relaxing, well written and funny, reminding me of my own primary school years, in another place and era. I think what I like best are the cheeky childrens' dialogues and Miss Read's dry humour. There is NO plot, just a series of events and a quaint, nostalgic, charming, peaceful depiction of a small village school.
Teri
Apr 21, 2014 Teri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this first book in the Fairacre series. Dora Saint wrote under the pseudonym Miss Read. I was interested enough in the book that I wanted to find out a little more about this author. She is a former school teacher. She died just short of her 99th birthday ( according to Wikipedia). Just so my source is known;) it also said that she was inspired by Jane Austen and the author Jan Karon and the singer Enya were inspired by her. Finding out more information about her was interesting to me ...more
Stacy
Jun 14, 2009 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have set myself a summer project of re-reading all of the Fairacre series by Miss Read. It's a total indulgence and I will no doubt finish well before I am ready to be done with these amazing books. The stories are simply first-rate and I enjoy every nuance of the them. They illustrate the life of rural English village on the Downs, and especially of Miss Read, the narrator and school teacher who tells us about the world of Fairacre. The stories really resounds for me and Miss Read makes me ap ...more
Lisa
Dec 23, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am enjoying this series, set in an English village in the 1950s. The author skillfully goes back and forth between a first-person narrative (by the town's schoolmistress) and a third-person view of village happenings, something I've never seen done well before. The narrator is witty and observant. This is tame, cozy, calm stuff--just what you may need to balance more intense reading or happenings in your life. The details of village life are well described and the author gives a heartwarming v ...more
QNPoohBear
Miss Read is a schoolteacher in a sleepy little English village. She loves her school and is dedicated to helping the children be the best they can be. This story takes us through a school year in the village of Fairacre as seen through the eyes of Miss Read. It's a pleasant, homey, sort of read. There's no central plot, just a chapter or two of narrative at a time so you can pick it up and put it down at leisure. At times I found myself very interested in what was happening and wanted to know w ...more
Julie
Jul 17, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Miss Read is a headmistress at a country school in 1955 in Britain. This tells the story of one school year in the life of Miss Read and her students, their families, the other teachers and the community. It follows school events, church fundraisers and trips to the seaside. It's not a very well-to-do school; it has outhouses and no indoor running water at all. However, the children are very happy and Miss Read seems to take a great deal of pleasure in her job. A very pleasant read.

I read Miss R
...more
Rowenah
Jun 06, 2011 Rowenah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book, and not as twee as some reviewers make out. I do dislike that when a story is 'rural' as opposed to 'urban' it is viewed as twee. I love Miss Read's 'down-to earth' style - not strict and no-nonsense but the reader is privy to her thoughts. She has a very wry sense of humour, and I loved how she poked gentle fun at some of the characters. I first read this when I was 13 and it made a big impression on me, feeding my love of the country and the old-fashioned. It is set in a southern ...more
Elaine
May 17, 2013 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: small-town-world
The Chronicles of Fairacre take the reader back to a better, gentler, simpler, and in many ways wiser, time and place. The setting is the small Cotswolds village of Fairacre, the time is the 1950's. Miss Read is the village schoolmistress, and an acute and loving observer of the villagers, the schoolchildren, human nature, and God's nature. Village School is the first book in the series.

The series is at least partly biographical. Miss Read was the pen name for Dora Jesse Saint, who died in 2012
...more
Maureen Hawes
Jun 24, 2012 Maureen Hawes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Miss Read books - they evoke so many memories of living in England (although they took place before my first visit in 1978). There is no mystery, murder or mayhem, just gentle stories of very ordinary people making their way in a very ordinary world. Reading these books is a respite from the constant buzzing of reminders on my phone, the emails piling up in the inbox and the pace of life which seems, at times, ready to tear us apart. I love a good cozy - and books set in England are alway ...more
Jo
Jul 16, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has read and enjoyed all of Barbara Pym's novels, I thought this story of a schoolteacher in a small village would be of a similar vein. It is in that it depicts a slice of every day life without much drama. However, like Pym's protagonists, the narrator 'Miss Read' has a sly wit about her that kept the novel from being trite. I also enjoy social history and the little details about clothing, furnishings, and customs of a village in late 1950s England were fun to read.
Deb
Aug 27, 2007 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anglophiles
what did I learn from Miss Read? The importance of the trivial. That a teacher should always have some little games to play to fill in an odd hour (you'd be surprised how they still love 7-up and odds and evens.) That you should not wind the vacuum cleaner cord in a figure of eight. That familiarity breeds fondness.
Angela
Jan 19, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love all of "Miss Read's" books. I discovered Miss Read in 1991 when I was pregnant with my son Nick. What a pleasure to curl up on the couch and get away to the village of Fairacre. I might be American, but Miss Read always make me want to put on a pot of tea.
Robin
Apr 01, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an enjoyable read! My review is posted on my blog at:
https://afondnessforreading.wordpress...
John Frankham
Apr 23, 2017 John Frankham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Re-read after many decades. This is so much better than I had remembered.

As Wikipedia says:

"From 1955 to 1996 Miss Read wrote a series of novels centred on two fictional villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. The first Fairacre novel appeared in 1955, the last in 1996. The first Thrush Green novel appeared in 1959. The principal character in the Fairacre books, Miss Read, is an unmarried schoolteacher in a small village school, an acerbic and yet compassionate observer of village life. Saint's nov
...more
Rebecca
Feb 25, 2017 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were to have read this book under normal circumstances, it may have bored me to tears. I have a vigorous cold, however, and so it distracted me without taxing my brain. And kept me from reading too much news. I didn't even mind that the first-person narrator occasionally becomes omniscient, that's how inflamed my sinus cavity is. Charming vignettes and no plot to speak of, Miss Read guides us through a year in the life of her midcentury country school. All the usual suspects: the church roo ...more
Teri-k
How I love Miss Read's books! I've been reading them for decades, ever since my Mom gave me one for Christmas that caught her eye. She didn't know anything about Miss Read and neither did I , but it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :) I've heard her books described as "Those stories where nothing happens", and that works as well as anything. They are slice-of-life books about a life that no longer exists. I read them for the setting, lovely descriptions, and because revisiting them i ...more
mstan
I was looking forward to a cosy read about village life in England in the 1950s (?). The fact that this is about a schoolmistress was just a bonus.

This was no Little House on the Prairie-type book though. The life of pioneers must be inherently more interesting... and I was expecting the same kinds of adventures in Fairacres (perhaps unreasonably so!).

I don't mind so much that nothing happens, but I find the switches in perspective strange (this is a first-person narrative, but on many occasions
...more
Petra
May 11, 2013 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a good book to end the year with! The stories of Miss Read and her schoolhouse are heartwarming and bring up a peaceful, quieter time. The children, their parents and the village are portrayed in loving style. The "about the author" section of this book states that these stories are based on the author's experiences as a school teacher in a small village. She must have truly enjoyed her job; the love of teaching and watching children learn and grow is apparent in these stories.
A lovely rea
...more
Saphraneet
Dec 14, 2016 Saphraneet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was very pleasant, light reading. Sometimes I just need a book that makes me feel good, gives me a chuckle or two, and basically takes me away from the present. Thus, the fact that it was set in an English countryside around the mid-20th century made it appealing to me. I would not like a whole diet of only this type of book, but at certain times it satisfies the need.
Leslie
Oct 13, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, humor, british
A gently humorous look at English village life post-WW2 through the eyes of the headmistress of the 2 room school. Not quite as enjoyable as Angela Thirkell but in the same vein. If you like Jane Austen and/or Thirkell, you might want to try this.
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115317
Dora Jessie Saint MBE née Shafe (born 17 April 1913), best known by the pen name Miss Read, was an English novelist, by profession a schoolmistress. Her pseudonym was derived from her mother's maiden name. She began writing for several journals after World War II and worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC.

She wrote a series of novels from 1955 to 1996. Her work centred on two fictional English villa
...more
More about Miss Read...

Other Books in the Series

Fairacre (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Village Diary (Chronicles of Fairacre, #2)
  • Storm in the Village (Chronicles of Fairacre, #3)
  • Miss Clare Remembers (Fairacre, #4)
  • Over the Gate (Fairacre, #5)
  • Village Christmas (Fairacre, #6)
  • Fairacre Festival (Fairacre, #7)
  • Emily Davis
  • Tyler's Row (Fairacre, #9)
  • The Christmas Mouse (Fairacre, #10)
  • Farther Afield (Fairacre, #11)

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“Thoughts by a graveside are too dark and deep to be sustained for any length of time. Sooner or later the hurt mind turns to the sun for healing, and this is as it should be, for otherwise, what future could any of us hope for, but madness?” 9 likes
“The thing to do,' I said as we gained the lane that leads to Beech Green and Fairacre, 'is to get absolutely everything in the summer and lock it in a cupboard. Then order every scrap of food from a shop the week before Christmas and sit back and enjoy watching everyone else go mad. I've been meaning to do it for years.” 1 likes
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