feather_ghyll: Black and white body shot a row of ballet dancers (Ballet girls)
Death Goes Dancing: Mabel Esther Allan, Greyladies, 2014

Unpublished during her lifetime, this was one of MEA’s few forays into writing adult mysteries. As the title suggests, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
Death Goes to Italy: Mabel Esther Allan Greyladies (2014, I think, I don’t have the copy to hand)

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I don't know if I'll get around to typing up a full review of 'Molly Hazeldene's Schooldays' by Maud Forsey, which I read over the holidays, but I felt it should be noted that one of the other school girls is named, rather magnificently, Leah Venus Sheepwash.

Looking back, my favourite Girls Own books read in 2014 were The Scholarship Girl at Cambridge by Josephine Elder, Dimity Drew's First Term by Nancy Breary and Mullion by Mabel Esther Allan. I also loved Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (and look forward to more Wells and Wong cases) and enjoyed rereading The Chalet School and the Lintons.
feather_ghyll: Boat with white sail on water (Sailboat adventure)
Mullion: Mabel Esther Allan. Hutchinson

My copy of this book features a mostly intact dustjacket featuring two girls and two boys in a motorboat with a castle on an island behind them. If I’d looked at it more carefully, or read the blurb – but I just saw Mabel Esther Allan’s name under a title I didn’t own, so why did I need to? - I wouldn’t have come to the story under the misapprehension that Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Photograph of L M Montgomery at the seaside (L M Montgomery)
Some of these books were read within sniffing distance of a beach, at any rate.

Sally at School: Ethel Talbot / Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy: Ally Carter / Going Gangster: M.E. Atkinson )

Yesterday, I finished the wonderful Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which merits a fuller review, although I don't feel I can write anything that's remotely adequate.
feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
Rachel Tandy: Mabel Esther Allan. Hutchinson 1958

This is a rather charming book that I enjoyed reading – it did have echoes of other Allan books, of which I’ve read many. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Back of girl whose gloved hand is holding on to her hat. (Girl in a hat)
I haven't read that many books over the last month, and of those books, none have been particularly Girls Own-y, but this weekend, I managed to read this one:

A Queen among Girls: Elinor Adams Davenport Blackie & Son

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
A Popular Schoolgirl: Angela Brazil

I had an ‘oh, Angela’ moment when Read more... )

Sara Gay Model Girl in New York: Janey Scott

That's New York, 1961 - fit for girls. Read more... )

Dance with me by Victoria Clayton

Recommended. Read more... )

I look forward to reading more by Clayton (I think another book of hers may have been recommended by [personal profile] callmemadam.)

Finally I reread Three go to Switzerland: Mabel Esther Allan

It can’t have made much impact on me before, because I didn’t remember anything as I read it. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
Murder at the Flood: Mabel Esther Allan. Greyladies, 2009

After quite enjoying The House By the Marsh, I was intrigued to learn that MEA had published a novel for adults in the same setting and so purchased the Greyladies edition. It’s a murder mystery Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Looking back at the last ten posts, I see I've been writing about tennis and non-fiction books, which isn't very representative. I've read quite a few books that I could have reviewed here, but didn't for one reason or another. I say "summer" because it's quite chilly and not one of these books were read on a beach.

Working backwards, here are some overviews of what I've been reading:

Casino for Sale: Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simon. The further adventures of the incomprable Ballet Stroganoff, as Stroganoff buys a casino in the south of France as a setting for his ballet company. Cue murder, balletomania and lots of laughing out loud.

Journey to the River Sea: Eva Ibbotson. The first book for children by Ibbotson that I read and it shares the same quality of 'just rightness' as her other books. It also shares a setting with 'A Company of Swans'.

Aunt Dimity's Good Deed: Nancy Atherton. The cosy series in which Aunt Dimity (a kindly spectral presence in this book) helps solve crimes and relationship woes continues, with the eccentricity of the characters who people this rose-tinted England rising ever higher. I enjoyed it but there's no getting away from the fact that bits of it are really peculiar.

The Intelligence Corps Saves the Island: M. Frow. (A sequel to 'The Intelligence Corps and Anna', which I see I didn't review.) The intelligence corps are two sets of twins and a dog. There are echoes of Swallows and Amazons and the Famous Five to this book, set at the end of a summer holiday in south-west Wales during the second world war. I wouldn't really recommend this, but I would the other three.
feather_ghyll: Lavendar flowers against white background (Beautiful flower (lavender))
I have a habit of reading completely unseasonal books. I read this book before the snow first fell, but even so, the contrast between what was going on around me and the opening segment of this book was pretty stark.

The House By the Marsh: M. E. Allan Dent 1966

'Somehow Norfolk sounded cold and bleak,' said Tam, as they disentangled themselves from the back seat. 'I never thought it would be like this.' The sun was, in fact, extremely hot on the weed-grown gravel sweep before the front door, bees were busy in the overgrown masses of roses, phlox, marguerites, and stocks, and the big house basked in sunny peace. )

I saw that Greyladies has published Allan's only book for adults, which has a similar setting and is on my list to get/read.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Greetings! I've been away, yes on a beach, and here are a couple of the books that I read that I think you'd enjoy too.

Introducing Aunt Dimity, Paranormal Detective: Nancy Atherton. Penguin 2009.

This is an omnibus edition of the first two novels in the 'Aunt Dimity' series, which I think I came across in an Amazon 'if you like this book, why not this' way?. Well, I now have another series to collect. The blurb describes them as 'cosy' mysteries, and they very much are, with a slight paranormal element, romance and growing. self confidence for their heroines. They also fit in with a very American type of Anglophilia.

Aunt Dimity's Death Read more... )

The website for the series Aunt Dimity's world should give you some idea of the flavour of the books.

I also read Bluestockings: Jane Robinson Penguin 2010.

It was an impulse buy - I had underpacked and so visited the airport's WHSmiths in a flustered mood, but was high-minded enough to buy this. I'm glad I did, it was quite a few of the things that the similarly themed Willingly to School wasn't. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I haven't posted for a while, because I haven't read much for a while - the next book I'm going to write about was read in snatches. If nothing else, I'd like to change that this week, but then the tennis on TV season has begun, with the French and the distinctive thwap, thwap of the players getting the clay out of the grips of their shoes between points, so I may get distracted. At the beginning of last week, I managed to get home and either catch them listing the order of play for the next day or see the message that 'This stream has now finished', for yes, I have added the 'red button channel' to my favourites.

However, I have managed to see varying amounts of Ivanovic, Murray, Henin, Serena Williams, Djokovic, Nadal and Sharapova play. I hope that Murray starts getting easier matches or makes them easier matches. Djokovic's serve! Nadal was scarily good at times.

Under the Lilacs: Lousia M. Alcott Blackie

I bought this 12 years ago, because I am a completist, and having read the Little Women quartette, wanted more of Alcott's books. I'm glad I did to get Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom, but everything else hasn't been able to sustain my interest. I suspect that the main reason I never sat down and read this book properly was because it began with a doll's tea party. This time, because it was part of a pile of books that I AM going to read/reread (and make a judgment on whether I keep them or give them away) I began it last Sunday and finished it last night.

In brief, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I only found out about this this week thanks to Radio 2, but The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon is apparently writing a musical adaptation of Swallows and Amazons for the National Theatre. (That might actually work, mightn't it?) Having said that, there didn't seem to be much beyond the announcement, which was made in 2007, so the project may have stalled.

I have been watching (too much) of the Aussie Open, but I haven't got around to noting my thoughts, partly because life is hectic, and partly because of timing - it's as if there's always something new to comment upon. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I've read several children's books over the past few weeks, but I'm not in a position to type up full reviews at present, so here are some one-sentence responses. The Potato Riddle by Agnes and Norman Furlong was a boys' story, a change for me, and definitely operating by a different set of rules to the one I'm used to, which may have been a factor in how entertaining I found it i.e. novelty. Pamela at Peters' by Edna Lake flubs its central mystery horribly, ignoring the gun in the first act rule, but is otherwise a tight story with a new girl and a secret society fighting for a school's honour. Dimsie, Head Girl by DFB is the real deal though. Yes, the title makes the first half mildly irritating as you wait for the story to catch up and for Dimsie to step into the biggest shoes a schoolgirl heroine can, all to save the Jane Willard Foundation from drift - actually, there's a thematic sympathy between those last two books.

Then I read Plough Penny Mystery by Lavinia L. Davis, which features younger characters over a summer, and offers a genuinely perceptive character study in the shadow of the second world war. Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allen is what you'd expect from MAE, first person narrative, coming of age story with romance amidst friendships, good on local detail - although there was something in there about a play about a Welsh valley being drowned performed in Liverpool that the sixties (Tryweryn) rendered a howler.

Finally, there was something in the news a few days ago about land girls and lumberjills (a term I'd never come across before) finally getting recognised for their war work by the UK Government. How? Badges. How very Blue Peter. (I'm not sure how tongue in cheek I feel about this).

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