Jane and the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The later Chalet School books are, to be fair, somewhat poor. That is to say, they lack the vibrant quality and resolute ‘otherness’ that made the early ones so spectacularly unique and glorious in their genre. But every now and then Brent-Dyer turns out a book that makes you go, “Well, she’s still got it.”
Jane is that book. Jane of the Chalet School is one of those books that delights, quite simply, in every page. It delights in the traditional school story manner, new girl finding her feet, but it also delights in the traditional Chalet School manner as well through being quite spectacularly bonkers. One book sees cowpox, murderous pine trees, a stand up fight over car washing AND a Mafiosi-esque vendetta between one girl and another. It is, to be frank, somewhat special and special in that peculiarly Chalet School way where special means both good and spectacularly nuts.
I love this book. It’s exciting, because it gives life to a character quite unique in the genre and the series. The luvvie-esque Jane is a delight; calling everybody darling and clasping her hands together and practically skipping down the corridors reciting a sonnet or two. I really love Jane. She’s one of those characters that always makes me slightly depressed she didn’t pop up earlier (can you imagine how she’d have been with Grizel?!)
And finally, the last part of this book that makes me joyful, is the fact that at last, at last Jose Helston is allowed a Proper Personality. HURRAH!
4 thoughts on “Jane of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”
I’ve never read this one. I feel I’ve missed out.
It’s a treasure 🙂 It took me ages to find it though.
I found Jane irritating when I first read the book, but she definitely grew on me when I reread a little later. It has just occurred to me that it is over a decade since my last School-to-Prefects read through – must correct this!
I had a fairly similar reaction to her first time round. But this time I utterly adored her – I think it helped that I’d been ‘away’ from the series for a bit, and so I wasn’t firmly entrenched in Team Chalet!