The Feud in the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Feud In the Chalet School bears some deep similarities to Rivals of the Chalet School. Following the slightly dramatic incident of ‘their new school having burnt down to the ground overnight’, the new school St Hilda’s is forced to bunk in with the Chalet School. It is when Gillie Garstin reminisces, in a handily expository manner, about the incident, that I utterly fall in love with this ridiculous book. Gillie has a good paragraph of adoration over the lovely uniform of the Chalet School girls. It is rapturous and oddly specific. “The thing which had first caught the eye was their uniform. Such a lovely, deep blue! ….. The St Hilda’s girls had thought it was just a Sunday frock, but now it seemed that it was the school uniform. And was it the tops, with its honeycombing in crimson at waist and shoulders and the little white revers at the neck!” What is a revers? Who would combine crimson honeycombing with deep blue? Were the girls dressed as christmas crackers? How is this any better on the orange and brown combos of before? WHO SPENDS AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH IN RAPTURES OVER A SCHOOL UNIFORM?
God I love this book. It’s recycled, yes, but you know, massive series and I’d be knackered at this point. It does have some splendid episodes of snottiness between the pupils of the respective schools and it does have a gorgeous episode of stupidity on behalf of the middles that includes Miss Annersley importing some epic advice over wood. I adore this series.
Where Feud makes its mark is in its treatment of Miss Ashley who is determined to remain unaffected by the Chalet School. The resolution to this (come on, you all know what’s going to happen to her) is a bit rubbish – but the bits beforehand are fascinating. It reminds me a lot of Miss Ferrars’ debut and I start to wonder – is this the point where the series about schoolgirls started to actually become a series about adults? Is this the point where actually I’ve been misreading it and instead, somehow, this is the point where everything started to actually have grown up – ?
8 thoughts on “The Feud In The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”
Having been baffled by this for years, you have prompted me to look up revers. According to wikipedia they are “part of a garment that is reversed to display the lining or facing outside….This is most commonly the lapels or cuffs, and the term is mostly used when they are made in a contrasting material.”
Surely somewhere on the internet someone has had a crack at drawing the uniforms? I must see if CS fanart exists… I used to draw the brown and flame variations when I was small – I have notebooks full of two dimensional girls in oddly proportioned uniforms!
I can’t tell you how much I love the idea of CS fanart (and your notebooks in particular!)
If I can find them I’ll tweet pictures. There were mountains in the background of some. Bright green mountains with white tops. Probably with people falling off.
If I could do some thumbs up emoji sort of thing right now, I really would be doing so.
Ah, but it was always about the adults, wasn’t it? It was about Madge, and Mademoiselle, and Jem, and Mrs Linton, and whether Frau Mieders could leave her mother to escape the Nazis, and whether Joey could tolerate adulthood if it meant being married to Jack, and whether Grizel would ever get over herself enough to avoid setting triplets on fire, and more and more and more. It was always about the girls, too, but it was always about the adults, in a way that no other schoolgirl fiction I’ve ever read was even close to.
Every time I read one of your CS reviews, I think I either need to go back home to India and pick up my entire collection again, or someone needs to publish the whole series on Kindle.