On a stormy night in October, calamity strikes the placid, Cotswold village of Fairacre. High winds fell some ancient elm trees, which in turn damage the roof of St. Patrick’s Church.
The entire village, especially the vicar Mr Partridge, witness the damage done to their beloved church in the aftermath of the storm. Estimates to repair the roof and restore the church to its former glory, come in at the huge sum of two thousand pounds.
Even the most optimistic villager can foresee that innumerable jumble sales, weekly raffles and whist drives will not be able to meet that amount.
An emergency meeting of the Parochial Church Council is called, at which Mr Willett, the church sexton, comes up with the marvellous idea of hosting a Fairacre Festival in the summer- a sort of Edinburgh Festival on a smaller scale.
A number of smaller events like a fête, a jumble sale, whist drives, bingo and dances are planned around the main event- a Son et Lumiére with St. Patrick’s as the backdrop. A famous opera singer, Jean Cole’s performance is added to the roster of events, but will these collected efforts be enough to raise the entire sum of money or will the village’s Queen Anne’s reign silver chalice have to be sold to save the roof?
As usual, this is a slow, quiet, amusing book that has some lovely moments. The stories though very simple have an underlying message. This book emphasizes the importance of community and the strength of collective endeavour to achieve a single purpose.
The more I read of Miss Read, the greater appreciation I develop for her knack of appreciating the small things in life and imparting wit to small everyday instances.