My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Hey, so you know that Jane? Well, we ran into her Sister’s Aunt’s Uncle who taught us music that one time back in Tyrol and he’s agreed to sign over his firstborn to the School! Isn’t that – just – splendid!”
Please, please don’t start the series with this book for if you do, you will read a book that is so dense with references and continual plot lines and Sensitive Frieda that you will have to give up and go for a lie down in a darkened room.
This is the 21st anniversary of the Chalet School and as is appropriate in such circumstances, the girls celebrate in a jollity-filled fashion. And it’s lovely, it really is, but it is not a book for the newcomer.
So we shall accept that you are not a newcomer to this series, that you are down with such phrases as The Abbess, the Quartet, the Quintette and Plumeaux, and we shall also accept that because of that, you will love this book. It is adorable and I think that a lot of that reflects the genuine pleasure Brent-Dyer has in revisiting the Tyrol. It’s no coincidence that the most moving and engrossing parts of this book come during Joey and Co’s revisit to their childhood haunts. I wanted more, so much more, from this and I think a lot of that reflects my passion for both the Tyrolean characters and setting.
(A swift sidebar: is it just me who finds the Oberland settings fairly interchangeable? I could direct you to the Dripping Rock or that bit where Joey tried to kill herself again, but I’d so very much struggle with the Oberland where it’s mainly just mountains and a weirdly extendable Alm)
The Coming of Age of the Chalet School is adorable, but it’s adorable because we love the series and books like this that fold in on themselves and revel, so comfortably, in what they are, are a pleasure to read.
Do bear in mind though that if you’re reading this in an Armada pb, all of the above comes with a world of footnotes that will naturally reference the one book you do not have and is currently retailing for £19192288 on Ebay and thus will infuriate you for years until you read the book and discover that the hysterical incident they all refer to is merely Mary-Lou putting on the wrong shoes or something equally rubbish.