Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wishful Wednesday - A Fortunate Grandchild and Time Remembered

After reading A Fortunate Grandchild, I'm wishing my memories were as clear as those of Miss Read (pen name of Dora Saint).  This book is a collection of childhood reminiscences about her grandparents, several aunts and uncles, the homes where they lived, and interactions she had with them.  There is no plot, no story, just brief vignettes.  She was born in 1913 and her memories seem to begin in about 1915.

You might think this book is a children's book and indeed, a child may be interested in and enjoy the book, but based on some of the words --daunting, obliged, vividly, conscious, unintentional-- I don't believe she wrote it specifically for children. 

The pen and ink drawings by Derek Crow delightfully illustrate the stories.  Below are drawings of her sister's fear of the Kaiser appearing from behind a curtain at their grandmother's house; her aunt's response to the surprise of a mouse; and her grandfather rapping at the window to chase away his sons.

The illustrations liberally embellish the 108 pages of the little book and capture the feeling of post-World War I England.   Either the author and artist carefully discussed the content of the drawings or Mr. Crowe was very insightful.

Miss Read introduces her second collection of memories, Time Remembered, with the words, "This is an unashamedly nostalgic account of one of the happiest periods of my life."  Nostalgic, yes.  Delightful?  Also yes. 

Miss Read begins the book with her memories of their family's move from London to the small village of Chelsfield when she was seven years old.  Memories include friends, school days, teachers, the community and community activities, and her thrill at living so close to the country where she could enjoy the beauties of nature.  Again, Derek Crowe's illustrations enhance the text with delightful drawings of select events.

If you have an ancestor who lived in a England in the early 1920s, you may appreciate this book to learn of activities of the time period.  Even if you don't have ancestors from England, you may enjoy this book.

So, that's one of my most recent wishes.  I doubt that wishing will bring back childhood memories but perhaps if I concentrate a little harder....  If you decide to read the book, I hope you enjoy it.

 Here's hoping all your wishes come true!


  1. This sounds interesting, Nancy. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Hi, Heather. It was fun to read because she put her adult perspective and observations into the stories, too, not just the childhood memories. It was a little book, just the kind I needed at the time I read it. I hope you like it if you read it.

  2. I wish for clearer memories too. Can we have a do-over?

    1. Hi, Wendy. I sure wish I could have some do-overs, especially if I could take what I know now back with me!

  3. I LOVE Miss Read! I have all of her books including both series of Fair Acre and Thrush Green. I even named one of my cats Miss Read!! The books are pure escapism and I love to travel back to old England and the quirky people of small village life. I especially enjoyed "A Fortunate Grandchild."

    Would highly suggest all of her books. Sadly, she has died and there will be no more to read, but I will enjoy rereading them again and again.

    1. Hi, Dodi. I only discovered Miss Read a few months ago and have only read this book and the first of the Fairacre series. I thought it almost seemed biographical, as though she inserted some of the things she'd learned while teaching as a teacher. She was very prolific! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.


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