Autumn Days and Miss Read

As we leave Summer behind and move into autumn I'm drawn to re-reading some of Miss Read's novels. Miss Read, the pseudonym for Dora Saint, wrote lyrically and evocatively about autumn and her Fairacre and Thrush Green novels are synonymous with my favourite season.

This could have something to do with the fact that Michael Joseph, Miss Read's publisher, always released her new novel in September, and I, therefore, read them to the backdrop of cooler days and chilly, crisp evenings.

From Battles at Thrush Green "The serenity of September gave way to a blustery October, and Thrush Green was spatterered to dead leaves. The chestnut avenue shed its massive leaves, brown and crisp as cornflakes, and the children of Thrush Green School spent every available minute scuffling about happily, looking for conkers brought down by the wind."

In  Friends at Thrush Green there is a description of the early arrival of Autumn " Against the golden stone of the Cotswold buildings, pyracantha berries glowed, and the palmate leaves of Virginia creeper clad many a house with vivid colour ranging from wine to cream....There were elderberries and sloes in plenty that year, and families were busy collecting this natural harvest. In Lulling Woods the bracken was turning crisp and auburn, providing shelter and bedding for the small animals which were already thinking of hibernation."

Miss Read's first novel Village Diary takes the reader on a journey through the months and the seasons. The description of the Autumn weather is wonderful "The view of Fairacre below us was clear in the limip October air. There is unique atmosphere about a fine October day. The sky is a burning blue, which combined with the golden and auburn glow of the trees creates a sparkle and glory unseen at other more-vaunted periods of the year".

Such beautiful descriptive prose and so lovely to enjoy these novels against the backdrop of the changing season.