Briggs has recently moved to Yorkshire with her mother and
brother and started work at Ragley village school as a teacher.
She is made welcome by war veteran and headmaster John Pruett,
and soon makes the acquaintance of local policeman Tom. But
Lily has a secret, and if anybody finds out about it she might
have to leave her new life…
Welcome back to Ragley, the Yorkshire village that will be
well known to anybody who has read Mr Sheffield’s excellent
Teacher series. In this new addition we aren’t in the
mid 1980s but 1952, and thus we get to meet many familiar
characters when they were a lot younger and discover more
about them. Ruby Smith has recently got married to layabout
Ronnie, Stan and Deirdre Coe are already the village bullies,
Big Dave and Little Malcolm are at Ragley school and Tim and
Nora Pratt are keen young teenagers. We get to discover what
the school was like under the author’s predecessor,
witness Prudence Golightly receiving Jeremy the bear and see
how the shadow of the war still colors daily life. Mr Sheffield
evokes a time when owning a television was a luxury, washing
machines were a rarity and the pace of life was much slower.
The villagers get excited about the Coronation, help each
other in difficult times and attend the local amateur pantomime.
The outside world is more…outside, and just like all
the other books in the series this is a joy to read; gentle,
life-affirming and thought provoking. I do hope we are in
line for another prequel.