Monday, October 20, 2008

Chronicles of Fairacre Series

I found the Fairacre books quite by accident. Quite. I was trying to find a cute Christmas story and I stumbled across Christmas at Fairacre (which I'll be reading for 5 Minutes for Books ). I received a copy of the Christmas title and on the front was a quote by Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series. Now, I'm not in the habit of selecting books based on who is quoted as having loved it. (In fact, sometimes that will steer me in the complete opposite direction!) However, I was intrigued because I do love Mitford.

Then, on a trip to Goodwill, I came across the two books in the Fairacre series, of which I did not realize that it was a series. Lo and behold, Jan Karon appears in quotes again: "If you've ever enjoyed a visit to Mitford, you'll relish a visit to Fairacre." Now, having read the first two books in the Fairacre series, I can affirm that this statement is, in fact, quite true.

Village School is the first book in the series and in it we are introduced to Miss Read, the school teacher at a in a tiny English village known as Fairacre. Quaint? Oh yes. Charming? Indeed. It was as relaxing a visit as I have ever had to Mitford which makes this a perfect series to read during the fall and winter months. I loved Mitford last year when life was hectic and busy. It seemed to somehow slow down my own pace. Now I have Fairacre and all is well. I may survive another winter yet!

Miss Read is the pen name of Dora Jesse Saint who was a school mistress herself before writing novels. She has a rather dry sense of humor (in true English fashion) as she describes her students, their families and the small village of Fairacre.

Truthfully I found book one a little slow. Think of it as an introduction that is best read so that you can understand the rest of the series. In the second book I found, Village Centenary , everyone seems to come to life. I connected much more closely to Miss Read herself (and her sense of humor) and totally loved her friend Amy. (According to the copy I picked up, this is the second book in the series. However, according to, that is not the case. It might explain why I didn't feel properly introduced to Amy. I didn't mind the missing introduction. It didn't distract from the story. I just found that odd.)

This is truly one of the best "lazy" stories that I have read since Mitford and it does have the same feel to it. Just think England instead of North Carolina. Instead of a priest, you have a school teacher. The characters are different but you start to love them just the same. (I do like Mitford more but for something new, try Fairacre.) I honestly have no complaints about it. It's time dated to the 1950's, I believe (definitely shortly after the second world war) and is entirely appropriate in every way (so far as I can tell right now). Clean, relaxing good fun. What's not to like?

Bliss. Calm in the midst of the present day storm. This is a good series to dive into! I'm glad I found it!


Lisa Spence said...

I've read one, maybe two of Miss Read's novels that I checked out from the library, but I quit because I got confused which series of novels was which and which came first, second, etc. Does it make me weird that I want to read them in order? Okay, don't answer that...

Sky said...

I am thrilled that there is a NEW series out there for me to read.
I love the Mitford books, I read them when my life feels chaotic, they always make me smile and remind me that the most important stance in life is on my knees in prayer. ALWAYS a good reminder!

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