After a long winter, summer is a welcome time for Miss Read and her village friends.
SUMMER AT FAIRACRE charmingly recounts this bright, bustling season and the problems and possibilities that unfold against the backdrop of roses, skylarks and bees.
Joseph Coggs finds a temporary home in the schoolhouse while his mother is in the hospital. Miss Read's friend Amy mysteriously disappears. Perhaps most difficult of all, Mrs Pringle, the grumpy school cleaner, is unable to work because of her 'bad leg'.
Still, the sounds of children playing and the fragrance of summertime flowers fill the air, as Miss Read shepherds her students and friends through the warm season.
Miss Read, or in real life Dora Saint, was a teacher by profession who started writing after the second world war, beginning with light essays written for Punch and other journals. She then wrote on educational and country matters and worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC. Miss Read was married to a schoolmaster for sixty-four years until his death in 2004, and they had one daughter. Miss Read was awarded an MBE in the 1998 New Year Honours list for her services to literature, She was the author of many immensely popular books, including two autobiographical works, but it was her novels of English rural life for which she was best known. The first of these Village School, was published in 1955, and Miss Read continued to write about the fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green for many years. She lived near Newbury in Berkshire until her death in 2012.