Delightfully ‘old-fashioned’ tales

The Little Village School series by Gervase Phinn

Book 1: The Little Village School

5 Stars

A new head teacher, Elisabeth Devine, turns the village on its head – in the nicest possible way. Wayward kids are tamed and emotionally wounded kids find healing through her loving care. Even the most die-hard traditionalists – with the exception of Miss Sowerbutts – warm to her rather quickly.

What will happen when the local doctor, Michael Stirling, finds a sprig of mistletoe on her desk after the school Nativity play?

Book 2: Trouble at the Little Village School

Elisabeth Devine is confronted with plans to merge her school with its arch rival, Urebank School.

Book 3: The School Inspector Calls! 

Elisabeth Devine faces tensions as she meets with the teachers from Urebank School to discuss the merger. A disruptive new pupil and some romance add to the colourful atmosphere in Barton-in-the-Dale.

Book 4: A Lesson in Love

Elisabeth marries the originally hostile Doctor Stirling and finds she is a mother of two additional boys on top of her own severely autistic son John. The beautiful young Curate, Ashley Underwood, falls in love with Limebeck House’s Estate Manager, the restless Irish single father Emmet O’Malley. But she doesn’t get on with the narrow-minded new Vicar. He, however, seems to be about the only person who can befriend the angry new boy, Robin, who is yearning for love.

Book 5: Secrets at the Little Village School

Long-hidden secrets are bubbling to the surface in several of the main characters lives. Ashley Underwood, finally to be married Emmet O’Malley, is surprisingly reconciled with her estranged parents.

Many people keep popping up throughout the series. Mrs Sloughthwaite, the gossipy village shopkeeper has constant arguments with her two regular customers, sour Mrs Pockock and optimistic Irish Mrs O’Conner. The school secretary and caretaker are always at odds with each other and often with the precocious young Oscar. Major Neville-Gravitas clashes with tight-fisted Fred Massey, who struggles to accept that his nephew Clarence, his wife Bianca and their noisy baby Brandon have taken up residence in his home. And the teachers and several schoolchildren keep us entertained with their quirky behaviour.

Although each book is entertaining and introduces new challenges and moral aspects, the repetitive situations and turns of phrase become somewhat tedious at times.

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