Thrush Green is a small village in the Cotswolds. (I think I want to live there!) The winter months seem dreary, damp and cold, but the scenes Miss Read writes about are invitingly attractive; warm fires, hot tea and cosy cottages.
But Thrush Green also has its problems. Someone is stealing from the neighborhood, a memorial is to be arranged for one of the village’s founders (with several various opinions being brought forth), and a new neighbor moves in. Will the community accept or reject him?
One thing is certain; Harold Shoosmith will be a welcome addition to the various community clubs and organizations who all seem to be in dire need of aid.
“A particularly vicious spattering of rain against the windowpane roused the rector from his chair.
‘I must be getting back,’ he said, sighing. ‘There was just one thing that I wanted to ask you – but I seem to have forgotten it.’ He looked about the snug room, so different from his own bleak drawing-room which no amount of firing seemed to make habitable.
“Anything to do with committee work?” asked Harold Shoosmith resignedly. He was already a member of the Cricket Club, Football Club, British Legion, Parochial Church Council and the local branch of the RSPCA, after a residence of less than two months.
The rector’s wrinkled brow became smooth again.
“How clever of you!’ he cried. ‘Yes, it was. The Thrush Green Entertainments Committee asked me to invite you to join them.’
Ella and Dimity are two old friends who have shared a cottage and companionship for years. Along comes a new neighbor and suddenly Ella is threatened with anxiety for the future as her old friend Dimity forms a new relationship. If Dimity marries, how will Ella cope with living alone? And will Nelly Tilling, so suspiciously zealous in her good works, succeed in snaring a husband?
Not a complicated plot or even characters, yet this peaceful story of winter and Christmas in Thrush Green is a pleasant fast read.
“…away from the lights and worries of the town the quiet hills lay beneath a velvety sky. No wind rustled the trees and no bird disturbed the night’s tranquility. Sheep still roamed the slopes as they had that memorable night so long ago in Palestine, and low on the horizon a great star, bright as a jewel, still held out an eternal promise to mankind.”
Miss Read writes simply but pointedly, as she puts her fingers deftly upon the motivations of the human heart. It has been said that Jan Karon was inspired by this series of gentle stories with its quiet characters and small upheavals in village life. (After such a pleasant read, I have decided to read all of the Thrush Green books in order!)