Two years have passed in the village of Thrush Green, with some residents moving on and others moving in. Rather than a single day, as in the first novel of the series, we are treated to an entire season. A season of male friendships and not so much romance as matrimonial possibilities are in the air, though for the older set this time out.
There’s lots of excitement in the seemingly idyllic Costwalds village, not least of which is the arrival of a new owner for “the corner house” and criminal activity near the school and at Dotty Harmer’s chicken coop. While Mr. Piggott, that irascible caretaker, decides to turn sleuth to solve the crimes, an old schoolmate sets her cap for him. Ella and Dimity throw a sherry party, Paul makes a tentative friendship that leads to observing some shady goings on, the new neighbor finds himself drafted onto various local committees and observes, sadly, that Thrush Green is no longer the quaint 19th century village of his imaginings.
Christmas and an endangered Christmas production, New Years, and the planning for a statue to celebrate the village’s most admirable son is in the works as Spring approaches. There are appearances by other characters who were more featured in Thrush Green (my review is here), and we see some character development in unlikely quarters. While this again is more a portrait of mid-twentieth century English country village life, there is definitely a bit of excitement to be found.
Written with the same sense of affection and again featuring lovely descriptions of nature, there is a therapeutic quality to these portraits of 1950’s and 1960’s village life. Again, while the story bounces around between different characters and settings, all are easily tracked and the various threads of the story come together by the end. I particularly enjoyed the focus on the older, single and widowed set and the portrayal of their various friendships. I do also, though, have an increasing issue with the portrayal of Dotty Harmer which seems to have begun even in her naming. Ah, well, there’s always at least one thing and it does not keep me from viewing Thrush Green with affection and looking forward to reading the next book in the series and wishing there were a BBC series to watch after the series is done.
Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read (Thrush Green, #2) | Buccaneer Books, Inc., 1983| hardback, 226 pages
This review refers to library copy. It is a limited edition reprint, the original copyright date is listed as 1961. It does not include a publisher’s description. The cover pictured above is from the 2007 Orion paperback edition, 183 pages.