Miss Read

Dora Saint, who wrote as Miss Read, has died at the age of 98. Miss Read is one of my favourite writers of comfort reading. Her books about life in Fairacre & Thrush Green are familiar, full of humour & interest but never sentimental or twee. I’ve reviewed some of her books here & here but fortunately I have many more on the tbr shelves so I’m not going to run out any time soon.

There’s a lovely obituary here. My favourite quote is from H F Ellis, the literary editor of Punch (I didn’t know Miss Read had written for Punch) who called her his favourite contributor. “She had no arrogance at all and didn’t feel her work was sacrosanct, and she never minded revising it. In a way she is like Jane Austen. She writes about what she knows and never goes beyond it.” Dora Saint seems to have had a happy, fulfilled life with a devoted following of readers, mostly library users which seems very appropriate to me. Her books never made her a fortune but provided a steady income that allowed for a few luxuries. I can’t imagine the author of the Fairacre books as a jetsetting glamourous author in the style of Jackie Collins. It seems right that her life was quiet, steady & full of good things, just like her books.

12 thoughts on “Miss Read

  1. I'm so sorry to hear this. Fairacre and Thrush Green make wonderful escape reading and I love her descriptions of the Cotswald countryside. I'm glad I keep discovering “new”Miss Reads. Susan E

    PS. Lyn, thank you for your essay on “Now All Roads Lead to France”. I've always liked his poetry and was very interested to learn more about his life and writing. Adding the three books you mention to my tbr list.

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  2. How sad she has gone but what a lovely legacy she has left behind. I've read one or two of her books. I found 'A Peaceful Retirement' half read on my Mum's bedside table after she died. I read it soon after, then discovered more:)

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  3. So beautifully written. I love her books and have read them over and over again. I love what Rosie wrote – that's what I'd want on my reading table after I'd gone, something by Miss Read.

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  4. Susan, I think Miss Read described the English countryside we all want to believe in. I still have a lot of the Thrush Green series to read so I have lots of new discoveries to make.
    I'm glad you liked the post on Thomas. I hope you can get hold of the books. The Helen Thomas memoirs are in print & the Eleanor Farjeon book is now available as POD from Faber Finds.

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  5. I just think it's lovely that she lived a peaceful life & died at such a great age. She also knew when to stop. A couple of “new” books have been published in recent years but they're written by someone else (her editor, I think?) & they just aren't right. I'd rather reread the originals. What a lovely way to discover Miss Read. I'm sure you think of your Mum whenever you read one of her books.

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  6. How lucky to grow up in such a lovely part of the world, I do envy you. I think many of us on the other side of the world formed our view of the English countryside from Miss Read's books.

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