A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars It recently hit me that there were still a few titles to do in my review of the Chalet School series and, that A Future Chalet School Girl is quite poor in every definition of the word, so where elseContinue reading “A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I reread The School by The River for a lecture I attended online this week, one concerned with the role of memory and how the act of reading is in itself situated across our lives. What does it mean toContinue reading “The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer is a lot of fun and, I suspect, worth five stars for the fabulously awful “JO BETTANY IS MY FAVOURITE AUTHOR I HAVE ALL HER TITLES AND OH YES SHE IS ALSO A FAMILY FRIENDContinue reading “Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Monica Turns up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Monica Turns Up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars The more I read of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer‘s connectors, the more I’ve come to realise that she is an author of extremes. She is either very good or very bad, and only sometimes does she land in the middle. Were IContinue reading “Monica Turns up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Janie Steps In : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Janie Steps In by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s hard to know where to begin with this delightful little box of tricks, so perhaps we shall be like Fraulein Maria and start at the beginning for that is a very good place to start. And beginnings, really, are a strangeContinue reading “Janie Steps In : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Seven Scamps : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

This is my last read of 2017! I wish you a lovely new year, and if festivities aren’t your thing, I also wish you the chance to spend the evening with a Very Good Book…. Seven Scamps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is such a delightfully weird book. I’mContinue reading “Seven Scamps : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Wrong Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Wrong Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is so wholeheartedly a good book. In a way, it’s a prototype for the ideal school story. The new girl arrives; highjinks jink, a Talent Is Discovered, and another girl gets her comeuppance. The difference with The Wrong Chalet SchoolContinue reading “The Wrong Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Joey Goes To The Oberland : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

(Forgive me, but I’m on a Chalet School kick at the moment… 🙂 ) Joey Goes to the Oberland by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars It’s not my favourite this one, and yet it’s still oddly hypnotic and occasionally rather lovely. Set outside of the school, Joey and her family areContinue reading “Joey Goes To The Oberland : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School and Barbara : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and Barbara by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the point in the series where we have what we’d now refer to as a reboot. There are now two branches of the Chalet School, plus St Mildred’s, plus the girls who act as companions to sick relativesContinue reading “The Chalet School and Barbara : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Shocks for the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Shocks for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a point somewhere around Peggy that the Chalet School series seems to start to mark time a little. The novelty of the Island setting has worn off, a batch of eminent faces have been shipped off to the OberlandContinue reading “Shocks for the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Lost Staircase : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Lost Staircase by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I rather love this slim, eccentric story that doesn’t quite know what it’s meant to be. I came to it from the Chalet School series which sees two of the characters from The Lost Staircase attend the school. It’s a bravura stepContinue reading “The Lost Staircase : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School and the Island : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and the Island by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s perhaps the context that I’m in right now, swithering from thesis research to thesis research, that when I reread The Chalet School and the Island, I was deeply amazed to find a book that I’d never read before.Continue reading “The Chalet School and the Island : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Three go to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Three Go to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars One of my favourite films is Stagecoach, which stars John Wayne. There’s a shot in this film (which you can see here) that makes John Wayne a star. The camera swings into him with such exuberance, and then whenContinue reading “Three go to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

A Leader in the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Leader in the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Two Chalet School reviews in a row! I imagine you can guess that I am in a mood for comfort reads at the moment; I want fat, luscious, clean reads that I can just sink into and enjoy. PerhapsContinue reading “A Leader in the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Feud In The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

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 forcedContinue reading “The Feud In The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The New House Mistress : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New House Mistress by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars I almost missed this book. I was settling into my traditional ‘let’s check the B section in the bookshop just in case but there won’t be anything there’ frame of mind, and when I saw The New House Mistress tucked behindContinue reading “The New House Mistress : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The New Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a moment in this book, relatively early on, where Joey is advised to rub butter on a bruise and it is a moment which fascinates me to this day. Would the butter have to be salted or unsalted? How muchContinue reading “The New Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

A United Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A United Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Full of the vibrant light and deft skill that characterises her early Tyrolean work, A United Chalet School sees Brent-Dyer working at the top of her powers. She’s on her way here to the great heights and nuances of The ChaletContinue reading “A United Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

First Pages : Eustacia goes to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Welcome back to another one of my intermittent looking at the first pages of books series. I’ve chosen the great Eustacia Goes To The Chalet School for today’s post, and a lot of it hinges on that near legendary first sentence: “There is no disguising the fact that Eustacia Benson was the most arrant little prigContinue reading “First Pages : Eustacia goes to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School at War : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School at War by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s easy for me to be flippant about the Chalet School and, to be frank, it is a mode I adopt quite often when discussing this bizarre, brilliant and all too frustrating series. But it is not easy for meContinue reading “The Chalet School at War : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

First Pages : ‘The School at the Chalet’ by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Welcome to a new feature here on DYESTAFTSA, and what better book to debut it with than one of my beloved Chalet School books? ‘First Pages’ is precisely that. I plan to have a look at some of the first pages of some of the best books in the world, she says nonchalantly, and tryContinue reading “First Pages : ‘The School at the Chalet’ by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Head Girl of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Head Girl of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It always fascinates me how early this series shifts things; how early things change. The status quo of the first few books is already being changed at this point. Head girls have been and gone (my beloved BetteContinue reading “The Head Girl of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Susannah Adventure : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

I’d never heard of this book. Isn’t that awful? I’d never heard of it. And so, when I came across it at a book fair, I bought it and reader, I read it. It’s not the best of Brent-Dyer’s efforts. I feel that’s something we need to make clear almost immediately. It’s part of theContinue reading “The Susannah Adventure : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Jo of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Jo of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s very little to say about the early Chalet School books other than to rhapsodise over how awfully lovely they are. And they are. They are like snow on the day when you don’t have to go to school. There’sContinue reading “Jo of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School In The Oberland : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School in the Oberland by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Coming back to the Chalet School after some time away is the most comforting of things. Whilst my books have been in storage, I’ve been relying on public libraries and second hand bookshops and the odd, hysteria-inducing car bootContinue reading “The Chalet School In The Oberland : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Happy Birthday Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

It’s hard sometimes to quantify the influence that Brent-Dyer has had on my life. Clearly there are the obvious factors, such as my longing for every doctor to be both good in a crisis and rather dashing (and also a solid lump of comfort), and the fact that I now know enough German to order coffee andContinue reading “Happy Birthday Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Summer Term at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Summer Term at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars So, I need to tell you about somebody I met twenty years ago. I was eleven, but that’s not a problem. I think she’d be the perfect guardian for my child-that-I-have-for-the-purposes-of-making-this-point and so I think I’m going to putContinue reading “Summer Term at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Carola Storms the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Carola Storms the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s interesting to look back at the phases of Chalet School life. We have the glorious idealism of the early Tyrol phase; epitomised in moments such as Madge going, “Well, I thought I’d start a school.” Later in the series,Continue reading “Carola Storms the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Mary-Lou of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Mary Lou at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars Dearest Mama, I lifted up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my wealth, and I thought lo, it is Alpengluckwhateveritis tonight. The pink and dusky sky made me think of you and your habit of bringing GodContinue reading “Mary-Lou of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Joey and Co. In Tirol : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Joey and Co. in Tirol by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ladies, control yourselves, but this is the book in which Hot Roger makes his debut. Oh, we all know Reg is the official hottie in the Chalet School series (Joey’s first born does, after all, memorably swoon into his arms)Continue reading “Joey and Co. In Tirol : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

A Problem for the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Problem for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I rather love A Problem for the Chalet School though I have the suspicion that I’m not meant to. I suspect I’m meant to be Team Chalet and Team Good Egg throughout but I can’t help sort of lovingContinue reading “A Problem for the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Coming of Age of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Coming of Age of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer 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 thatContinue reading “The Coming of Age of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Jane of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

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 andContinue reading “Jane of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Bride leads the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Bride Leads the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have a soft spot for Bride Leads the Chalet School because it’s one of those books where Important Things Happen. This is one of the ways that the Chalet School is almost impenetrable should you enter it at theContinue reading “Bride leads the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

A Genius At The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Genius at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars It strikes me as curious that I’ve never actually reviewed this until now. Nina Rutherford is very much a fascination of mine and so this is a book that is very much overdue a review. Brent-Dyer once wrote aContinue reading “A Genius At The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet Girls in Camp : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet Girls in Camp by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars If there was anything that Brent-Dyer was particularly good at, it was shifting tone. She had a skill whereby the farcical could be transferred to the heartbreaking, often within moments on the same page. Whether it was from the RobinContinue reading “The Chalet Girls in Camp : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Jo to the Rescue : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Jo to the Rescue by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars An odd one this, one of only a couple in the series set wholly outside of the school context and as such reading as a sort of curious hybrid of impenetrable relationships stuck in a picture postcard setting somewhere totally alien.Continue reading “Jo to the Rescue : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The New Mistress at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New Mistress at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s rare in the later books for a character to so firmly bounce from the page as Kathy Ferrars does. Jack does, almost, and I think Flavia does, sort of, but in the rapid character turn and turnContinue reading “The New Mistress at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School in Exile : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School in Exile by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m surprised to realise that I’ve not formally reviewed The Chalet School in Exile. I’ve mentioned it repeatedly across my blog, and made no bones of my admiration for it. So now, it’s time to redress the balance and letContinue reading “The Chalet School in Exile : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Prefects of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Prefects of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 1 of 5 stars There’s a sort of addictive quality to the Chalet School series when you reach this point; an awareness that the best books are many moons behind us and somehow all that’s left is melodrama and farce, but it’s a melodramaContinue reading “Prefects of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School and Richenda : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and Richenda by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars I have a lot of love for this one, even though it’s left me with the following ailment. Whenever I’m introduced to somebody with the surname of “Fry”, I automatically think “Fry. Are you related to Elizabeth Fry, the greatContinue reading “The Chalet School and Richenda : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Chalet School Reunion : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School Reunion by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars This one cracks me up, primarily because it’s such a sort of underwhelming exercise. If you’ve got this far in the series, you’re fairly committed to the Chalet School. You get it. You get the whole ‘mountains shifting position’ and theContinue reading “The Chalet School Reunion : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Short Stories

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Short Stories by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars A collection of Elinor M.Brent-Dyer’s other work brought under one title is a great and glorious thing and it’s one that produces several very lovely treasures. At one level it’s naturally appealing to the academic, revealing themes and nuances lostContinue reading “Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Short Stories”

The Chalet School and Jo : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and Jo by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Destined for head-girl ever since day one, she’s finally done it. The Chalet School and Jo sees Joey assume the mantle of head girl. She’s not happy at the prospect and goes off grumbling to the intensely serene now-married-and-making-of-the-babies formerContinue reading “The Chalet School and Jo : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Jo Returns to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Jo Returns to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Jo Returns To The Chalet School, or ‘the one where EBD couldn’t let go’, is, as nearly all of the Tyrolean books are, of a distinctly high standard. This book sees Joey, our darling, return to the school inContinue reading “Jo Returns to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Adrienne and the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Adrienne and the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 2 of 5 stars There’s no escaping that Adrienne is, as a whole, a relatively poor book. It’s written with the tiredness that affects the end of the series, a sort of written by rote and necessity attitude that pervades the entire book. So,Continue reading “Adrienne and the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Althea Joins the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Althea Joins the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 2 of 5 stars It’s no secret that quality dips substantially towards the end of the Chalet School series, and Althea is emblematic of that shift. Following the now traditional format of ‘new girl attending the school’, we witness Althea’s eventual and inevitable integrationContinue reading “Althea Joins the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Redheads at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Redheads at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Firstly, I think, I have to clarify the five star rating of this book. When it comes to Redheads, it is necessary to rate it on a wholly different level to the rest of the series. Whilst it’s nowhere nearContinue reading “Redheads at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Gay Lambert at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Gay Lambert at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s interesting to compare and contrast parts of this book with the much later A Genius at the Chalet School. Both books feature a genius, or highly talented individual, and yet both books treat their characters distinctly differently. It’sContinue reading “Gay Lambert at the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars The sixth in the series, rich with the gorgeous detail of the Tyrol and the sheer thrill of the early titles, Eustacia Goes To The Chalet School is spectacular. It’s sort of a blueprint of everything the Chalet SchoolContinue reading “Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer round

  Hello! This is the final round up of posts for the Girls’ Own Blog Carnival round on Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. I will add (most welcome) latecomers to this list – so please keep an eye on it! 🙂 I’d like to thank the bloggers who took part in this round. Although it’s small, it’sContinue reading “The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer round”

On Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

“The world of juvenile literature is made the poorer by the death on Saturday of Miss Elinor Brent-Dyer, whose 56 “Chalet School” stories, set in the Austrian Tyrol, attracted a huge readership from all over the world – not only of children but adults also.”  (The Times : 1969) Poorer. I like that. It speaksContinue reading “On Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Peggy of the Chalet School : Elinor M Brent Dyer

Peggy of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars If there’s ever a point in the Chalet School series, where it could be described as to having jumped the shark, that point comes for me in this book. It comes for me in several ways; the chicken scene, theContinue reading “Peggy of the Chalet School : Elinor M Brent Dyer”

The Princess of The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent Dyer

The Princess of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Tyrolean part of the Chalet School series remains a constant and beguiling delight to me. There’s something so obvious about Brent-Dyer’s love for the surroundings and her brand new school that I can’t help but adore these earlyContinue reading “The Princess of The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent Dyer”

The Highland Twins at the Chalet School : Elinor M Brent-Dyer

The Highland Twins at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars I used to always think that The Highland Twins at the Chalet School was one of the poorer books. Coming so soon after the dizzy heights of the Chalet School In Exile, I always found Highland Twins atContinue reading “The Highland Twins at the Chalet School : Elinor M Brent-Dyer”

Freelance Work

I’d be happy to work with you if you’re looking for a writer, tutor, or researcher on a temporary, part-time or longer basis. Here’s an outline of some of the things I’ve done, and I’d love to talk further if they sound of interest. My rates vary as to circumstance and the initial consultation isContinue reading “Freelance Work”

Princess Anne by Katherine L. Oldmeadow

Princess Anne by Katharine L. Oldmeadow My rating: 2 of 5 stars Princess Anne by Katharine Oldmeadow is a pleasant enough diversion from the world, but it was fairly unremarkable. It reads like a sort of Sara Crewe / Abbey Girls / Pollyanna mash-up, which is delightful but not the sort of thing I’m everContinue reading “Princess Anne by Katherine L. Oldmeadow”

The Oberammagau Passion Play and the Chalet School

It’s no secret that we support the works of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer on this blog (and if it is, then welcome! stay! let us talk about romantic omelettes and improbable speedboat shenanigans!), and the Chalet School books in particular. One of the earlier titles in this sprawling series, The Chalet School And Jo, is ofContinue reading “The Oberammagau Passion Play and the Chalet School”

A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant

A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant My rating: 4 of 5 stars The more I read of Bessie Marchant, the more I enjoy her. She is a writer who hybridises Elinor M. Brent-Dyer at her Ruritanian best with the entirety of the Boy’s Own Genre, and makes it her own. She is rather fabulous, andContinue reading “A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant”

The Little Library Cookbook : Kate Young

The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve been waiting for this book for a while, ever since I came across Kate Young’s work online and, in particular, the moment where she made breakfast rolls as inspired by The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. What moreContinue reading “The Little Library Cookbook : Kate Young”

Pandora of Parrham Royal : Violet Needham

Pandora of Parrham Royal by Violet Needham My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve known about Violet Needham for a while but never really known about her, the specifics, at all. I had a vague idea that she was a contemporary of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Elsie Oxenham, but then, as I never found herContinue reading “Pandora of Parrham Royal : Violet Needham”

Chloe Takes Control : Phyllis Matthewman

Chloe Takes Control by Phyllis Matthewman My rating: 4 of 5 stars I first came across the name of Matthewman in reading about my beloved Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. In the last years of her life, Brent-Dyer shared a house with Sidney and Phyllis Matthewman. There’s a fairly prevalent theory that Phyllis assisted with the writingContinue reading “Chloe Takes Control : Phyllis Matthewman”

54 places to begin with when thinking about children’s and young adult literature

A manifesto, of sorts, for those who are interested in children’s and young adult literature but don’t know where to start. Start here. Somewhere. All of them. One of them. Just start. Read something you remember from your childhood. Read it now as an adult. Be aware of the differences between that read. Read TheContinue reading “54 places to begin with when thinking about children’s and young adult literature”

New Beginnings at the Chalet School : Heather Paisley

New Beginnings at the Chalet School by Heather Paisley My rating: 3 of 5 stars First published in 1999, New Beginnings at the Chalet School has been in my consciousness ever since. Partially, it’s because of that searing front cover but also because of the fact that this was one of the first big non-EBDContinue reading “New Beginnings at the Chalet School : Heather Paisley”

An introduction to the school story – ten titles to begin your reading journey

So you know I have a bit of a thing for school stories, right? Just in case that comes as a bit of an awful surprise to you, you’re either new (in which case, hi!) or haven’t been paying attention (in which case, remedial prep for you and Antoinette will bring ‘anchovy’ toast to yourContinue reading “An introduction to the school story – ten titles to begin your reading journey”

Murder Most Unladylike : Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars You may know by now that I have a thing for school stories. School stories are one of the great joys of children’s literature in that they do what they do so well. They tell a story in a frame which is familiarContinue reading “Murder Most Unladylike : Robin Stevens”

The Chalet School Triplets

Chalet School Triplets by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 2 of 5 stars It’s the one where, well, things happen? You know, that thing? And the other one? And that other onezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sorry where was I? Ah yes, I was recounting the tales of the Chalet School Triplets, immortalised forever in their distinctly sack-like blueContinue reading “The Chalet School Triplets”

Happy Birthday KM Peyton!

KM Peyton is my one of my literary heroes. (The others, fyi, are Michelle Magorian, Patricia Leitch, Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Frank Cottrell Boyce. But it’s not their birhtday today, and it is KM Peyton’s so I shall save them for another time.) Happy birthday KM Peyton! She’s a bit amazing she is. More thanContinue reading “Happy Birthday KM Peyton!”

Fat, the Chalet School, and a bit of a rant

The other night, I had a dream. I woke up and I had a book idea, formed, whole in my hands. This book was to tell the story of girls in a genre that I love, that of the Girls’ Own Novel. The turn of the century boarding school story. The jolly japes and theContinue reading “Fat, the Chalet School, and a bit of a rant”

Two Sams at the Chalet School

Two Sams at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 2 of 5 stars Two Sams at the Chalet School is a book of peaks and troughs and near-unbearable coincidence. So the same old thing really. Samantha Van Der Byl and Samaris Davies are two new girls at the Chalet School. Although they’reContinue reading “Two Sams at the Chalet School”

Lavender Leigh at the Chalet School

Lavender Leigh at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have a soft spot for Lavender Leigh at the Chalet School for some very particular reasons. Published in 1943, during both the real Second World War and the Chalet School wartime books, it’s a tightly domestic book thatContinue reading “Lavender Leigh at the Chalet School”

Theodora and the Chalet School

Theodora and the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Theodora is one of the titles I have many many copies with. There’s something amusing to me about how it pushes its way into my collection, either bundled up as part of a double with Trials or as a fallingContinue reading “Theodora and the Chalet School”

A Rebel at the Chalet School

A Rebel at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars This book explains everything. It took a long time for me to find a copy of it, and when I finally did get a copy, it explained everything. Want to find out what happened to X ? Want toContinue reading “A Rebel at the Chalet School”

When you read one book, but can’t stop thinking of another

It’s an act of literary bigamy. That moment when you pick up your new read but can’t help but contrast it against that other book you read. And it happened to me this week. I’m not going to review the new read because I don’t think I can do it objectively. I’ve got no bonesContinue reading “When you read one book, but can’t stop thinking of another”

Identifying geniuses in children’s literature

Genius is one of those almost unidentifiable things. You either have it, or you don’t, and until you become able to manifest it in ways we understand and can legitimise (ie: through a Mensa Test) , it may remain a relatively hidden talent. It’s a difficulty faced by geniuses in children’s literature and one that I’m goingContinue reading “Identifying geniuses in children’s literature”

Why read? The School Story

There are a whole world of genres in children’s literature, and there are new ones being created each and every day. In these posts, I’ll be focusing  on some of the key genres and both introduce them and offer some top hints on where to begin. My first in this occasional series is very closeContinue reading “Why read? The School Story”

An esoteric and distinctly biased list of 50 children’s books you probably really should read (part three)

The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle I came to this after watching the amazing animated film (I’m ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE) and fell in love. It’s a fantasy classic that tells the story of the last unicorn and her journey to find all the others of her kind. It shifts from pantomine, to pathos, to heart-breaking. Beautiful.Continue reading “An esoteric and distinctly biased list of 50 children’s books you probably really should read (part three)”

Children’s literature, food, and frenchwomen

Food is a central theme in children’s literature and school stories in particular. It’s something which has stayed eternally present from the cookery lessons of  the Chalet School, the roundness of Billy Bunter through to the chocolate frogs of Harry Potter. Food is a magical device and it’s particularly magical when used in the schoolContinue reading “Children’s literature, food, and frenchwomen”

The nature of genius in GirlsOwn Literature

Margia Bettany. Maidlin di Ravarati.Mildred Lancaster. Three characters, from three distinctly different authors. The one thing they have in common (apart from starting with the letter M..)? They’re all gifted and talented characters in their respective books. Genius in GirlsOwn Literature is a curious thing. It’s almost precluded to be gender specific due to the dominanceContinue reading “The nature of genius in GirlsOwn Literature”

New Beginnings at the *insert name here* School

This post is part of Playing By The Book’s blog carnival: “I’m looking for a book about…”. Every month bloggers convene on a given topic and this months is: (Starting) School. The concept of the new pupil arriving at school is a common conceit amongst school-stories. Whether ranging from gym-slip time-slip classics such as CharlotteContinue reading “New Beginnings at the *insert name here* School”

The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival: First round up

I am so pleased to be able to share with you two early submissions for the Girls’ Own Blog Carnival on Elinor M. Brent-Dyer.  I will do another sweep of posts tomorrow (1st April) and post an update then. For now, please enjoy these amazing posts on Brent-Dyer and do leave a comment! Bert ofContinue reading “The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival: First round up”

The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival – Call For Submissions

WE HAVE A TOPIC (Or, rather, due to the nature of the deadlock, we have two topics (author-specific / character-specific) of which I, in a fit of editorial authority type thing, have chosen one) So, for this round … (drum roll please) The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival first topic is Elinor M. Brent-Dyer That means,Continue reading “The Girls’ Own Blog Carnival – Call For Submissions”

“I take it we’re engaged? Like it darling?”

So. You may have heard that a certain couple is getting married tomorrow. As I’m never going to be the one to refuse the opportunity to jump onto a bandwagon, here are four of my favourite marriages /partnerships / expressions of love from children’s literature. Love, as one great sage once said, love changes everything.Continue reading ““I take it we’re engaged? Like it darling?””

The School at the Chalet

The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars I love the Chalet School. It’s my big book crush of my life. Something about it is just so perfect and undying to me. This is one of the best books – and it’s worth trying to hunt out anContinue reading “The School at the Chalet”

“We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” : finding ‘sequels’ for children’s literature classics

“We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” Let that just hang for a moment. It was something that I heard today at the York Festival Of Ideas. I was at a talk about the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst was discussing the idea of how aContinue reading ““We don’t bury ourselves in books – books bury themselves in us” : finding ‘sequels’ for children’s literature classics”

#kidbkgrp School Stories in Children’s Literature

Last night #kidbkgrp discussed school stories in children’s literature. Now, I admit that this one might have been a little self-indulgent as a topic (Team Chalet, yo), I was fascinated to see the range of reccomendations that came up. I think there’s something really interesting in how so many people plumped for say Chalet SchoolContinue reading “#kidbkgrp School Stories in Children’s Literature”

A 21st Century Chalet School Girl

I’ve mentioned this previously on Twitter but I thought I’d share it with you. This, the below, is part of my Great Project . I am writing a book about the Chalet School series. (I know, right? Joyous nerdery abounds) And these are the two introductory chapters. They’re subject to change, naturally, but I thoughtContinue reading “A 21st Century Chalet School Girl”

So here’s the part where you make a choice

We live in exciting times. You know that, right? Right now, the dialogue and the productivity and the talent that forms the world of children’s literature is amazing. Outstanding, even. I’d argue we’re living in a new Golden Age Of Children’s Literature. We really, really are. I’ve been reminded of that recently when following theContinue reading “So here’s the part where you make a choice”

Dimsie Moves Up : Dorita Fairlie Bruce

Dimsie Moves Up by Dorita Fairlie Bruce My rating: 3 of 5 stars In the world of Girlsown literature, there’s a concept of ‘the big four’. These are authors who formed the cornerstones of this genre: Elsie “Abbey” J Oxenham, Elinor “Chalet” M.Brent-Dyer, and Angela “Let’s use all the speech tags in the world” Brazil.Continue reading “Dimsie Moves Up : Dorita Fairlie Bruce”

Chin up, chest out – hold on a minute

I’m a little peeved. There’s a line which I’ve just read in Mary Cadogan’s Chin up chest out Jemima which is rankling with me. I’ll quote it here: “Of course I moved on from DFB, through Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and Elinor Brent-Dyer and others, eventually to adult literature.” (2004:15). Now I’m genuinely a fan of Cadogan’s work.Continue reading “Chin up, chest out – hold on a minute”