In the ideal world of my intentions, there would be full reviews of all these books, but I have to admit that, under current circumstances, there is no way that I can do them justice, so it's better to clear the desks with some quick overviews.The Third Class at Miss Kaye's: Angela Brazil
: I didn't realise when I read it quite how early a book this was, although I picked up on the references to (the lack of) plumbing and transport. In fact, it's only something like the second of Brazil's school stories, and comes off like The Fortunes of Phillippa
meets For the Sake of the School
. One of the more notable things about the story of how dreamy only child, Sylvia, becomes a normalised schoolgirl, is the role that the headmistress, Miss Kaye, plays. Brazil could have titled this The Third Class at Heathercliffe House
, but the reference to Miss Kaye is crucial. She's in the wise Hilda Annersly mould and even more obviously influential - and a contrast to A Worth-while Term
, which has a novice headteacher, somewhat in the mould of Madge Bettany, although author Judy Irwin come off the worst in any comparison with Brent-Dyer. For one thing, the book seems to be set in an alternate universe where the question mark was never invented.
Cicely, who is in her early twenties, inherits a school from a woman she befriended on a cruise during the outbreak of the second world war. As you do. Said friend didn't disclose that she was very sick to Cicely, who finds herself in charge of a small, select and slack school after said friend dies. Can she turn it around?
More entertaining, and surprising to me, was Mollie Chappell's Endearing Young Charms
, which is a romance, though not that far removed from her books for older girls. I only knew Chappell as a children's writer - she comes off as somewhere between Oxenham and Streatfeild in tone, and this book certainly has charm. I'll be looking out for more of her romances.
Also amusing was Jane Shaw's Fourpenny Fair
. Penny's a heroine by accident, her kind heart not being married with much sense, and her accidents are usually pretty funny. Even funnier was A Bullet in the ballet
by Simon and Brahms, hence the icon. Definitely not a children's book, it's a comic murder mystery, with Inspector Quill of Scotland Yard trying to solve a murder, which of course becomes a series of murders, with the hinderance of the Stroganov Ballet Company, who live ballet, breathe ballet and try to be helpful to the nice police inspector who has never seen even the most well-known ballets and is trying to find the assassin of the ballet dancers who can breathe no more. By the end, I was literally roaring with laughter, you know, loud, hearty laughter. This is the first in a series and I'll be looking out for the rest.
Ethel Talbot's Ranger Rose
was fortunately not terrible (which Talbot can be), but slight in some ways, although it's theme and Rose's journey were trying to tackle big issues. Weird ending though, and disappointing handling of the big final scene.Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
is out in the cinemas this week. I won't be going to see it, despite having read the first two books, which I didn't find that funny. Coming soon is Emma 'Nancy Drew' Roberts in Wild Child
, where a Malibu brat is sent to an English boarding school, where
her dead father used to play quidditch
her dead mother used to play lacrosse. The trailer looks as though it's trying for something between the Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie TV show, the Trebizon books and the recent St Trinian revamp, which I avoided. Unless if the reviews change my mind, which I doubt, I'll be avoiding this too.