It's spring in Thrush Green - but the new season brings far more than the villagers anticipate...
Thrush Green is buzzing with gossip, which everyone is keen to share with two ex-schoolteachers, who have returned to visit their friends in the village.
The old schoolhouse has just been sold and the villagers are eager to welcome the new owners, the Lesters. Alan Lester seems to be perfectly pleasant, but rumours soon circulate about his wife, Margaret.
Equal cause for speculation is the odd behaviour of long-standing resident Bertha Lovelock. And what of farmer Percy Hodge? Can he really be contemplating marriage to the rather wayward Doreen Lilly?
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.