The enchanting childhood memoirs of bestselling author Miss Read
Miss Read's early days were spent with two remarkable grandmothers - one in Lewisham, and one in Walton-on-the-Naze.
EARLY DAYS is full of childhood memories of an extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins, and their houses full of mystery and adventure, where Miss Read spent so much time, living in the shadow of the 1914-18 war.
At the age of seven, Miss Read moved to the small village of Chelsfield, Kent, into a magical new world - and so began her love of the English countryside, which was to have such a strong influence on her career as a writer.
Her evocative descriptions of the village school, the joys of exploring the woods and lanes rich in wildlife, and of childhood events from toffee-making to the treat of a lift on the corn-chandler's cart, vividly convey this time as one of the happiest of her life.
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.
Two plays based on her work have been written by Ron Perry, Miss Read's Thrush Green and Miss Read Remembered.