Book Review – April 2014 – Sallie Eden

Mrs Griffin Sends Her Love (and other writings) by Miss Read – Published by Orion books 2013

mrsgriffinA collection of writings on rural schools, childhood and English country life, this is a selection of Dora Saint’s short stories, recollections and extracts from her own diaries. Dora Saint, a teacher by profession, was better known as Miss Read, author of the Fairacre and Thrush Green books.

As Mrs Saint herself admitted, Joyce Grenfell would have felt at home with many of the real life stories and stock phrases of her days as a teacher…”I’m looking for a well behaved frog …and three really trustworthy rabbits”.

As an added bonus, the book includes a chapter entitled ‘The birth of Miss Read’, whom she describes as being “born fully clothed in sensible garments and aged about forty”.

Verdict: like all of Miss Read’s writing, it reads beautifully, it makes you smile, it makes you remember and although not much happens, it’s all the better for being so exquisitely described. As a lifelong fan of her Fairacre books and non-fiction, I feared I’d be disappointed or there’d be a sense of ennui about the possible rehashing of some of her early writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re looking for something charmingly old-fashioned (in a good way), restful and wryly funny…here it is. Buy it now and enjoy it forever!

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