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Dimsie Goes Back: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Spring Books, published as part of the Halycon Library

This is set during Read more... )
feather_ghyll: drawing of a girl from the 1920s reading a book in a bed/on a couch (Twenties girl reader)
Dimsie and the Jane Willard Foundation (The Dimsie short stories): Dorita Fairlie Bruce, Girls Gone By, 2011

I first came across Dorita Fairlie Bruce via the Springdale books, and until I bought this collection, I owned an equal amount of Dimsie and Springdale books. If I ever do get a complete collection of the Dimsie books, I should probably read them in order!

Anyway, this is a complete collection of the stories about Dimsie and her school written by Fairlie Bruce for various annuals. They are Read more... )
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I’ll post an overview of a few books I’ve read over the holidays eventually, but this post is a look back at 2015, following a tradition started by my first post of 2015 when I said I looked forward to the next adventures of Wells and Wong. Well, Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens (in which the 1930s schoolgirls investigate another mystery, this time in Daisy Wells’s country house home) lived up to my expectations. I enjoyed Kate Saunders’s Beswitched, originally published a few years ago, but taking the reader back to a 1930s boarding school, a fraction more, even. I loved reading Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery and Gail Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage.

Turning to hadrbacks, I enjoyed The Little Betty Wilkinson by Evelyn Smith, even though I think she’s written better books. I did read a book each by the ‘big four’: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Chudleigh Hold, Sally’s Summer Term by Dorita Fairlie Bruce, Tomboys at the Abbey by Elsie J. Oxenham, which I didn’t review, and For the School Colours by Angela Brazil.

(In the first paragraph, I build up to my favourite and do the opposite in the second.)

Perhaps the best book I read this year was ‘Rose Under Fire’ by Elizabeth Wein, which is wonderful and harrowing, and I feel incapable of writing about it. I also really loved Helena McEwen’s Invisible River.

I reread Katherine L. Oldmeadow’s The Fortunes of Jacky, which stands the test of time, and now I have no more Oldmeadows to reread. I am, obviously, looking out for more by her in all the shops that sell second-hand books! I hope to read the next case Hazel Wong writes up and the second in the Finishing School series, but I expect to read EBD's 'Fardingales' as I have a copy in the depths of my 'to read' pile.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Deborah’s Secret Quest: Cecilia Falcon The Thames Publishing Co.

This is a reread – I was uncertain as to whether I already owned this book, but the copy before me was lovely and irresistible. I didn’t really remember the story, anyhow. It has a little of the feel of a serial story brought together within covers of its very own: occasionally chapters start with an unnecessary recap and it stretches a little beyond most book length school stories in terms of genre. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: One girl seated by an easel with a watching girl standing behind (Girl painter)
Sally’s Summer Term: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Blackie 1961.

You mustn’t grumble when you get what you wished for! This is a moral for me, not from the story. After reading quite a few girls own books where the main character is a new girl, remarkable in some way, I wanted a story about an established schoolgirl. Here is one – the third, I believe, in the Sally series, which I haven’t come across before, although I have Springdale and Dimsie books, and, indeed, the one where they cross over.

So, Read more... )
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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.
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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.
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Pomeroy’s Postscript: Mary Fitt The Children’s Book Club by arrangement with Nelson.

The postscript is to a letter to Marguerite (aka Meg) and it's from her twin brother, who understandably prefers to be called 'Roy' rather than his full name of Pomeroy.Read more... )
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I mentioned this book when I was reviewing The School on the Moor, which is about Tabitha (Toby)'s earlier adventures. I had forgotten I'd owned it and couldn't find it anywhere. Well, recently, I found the copy - it had slipped under a bookcase, essentially, and was hidden by boxes - and decided to reread it. I think I'm still missing a book or two in this series, though.

Toby at Tibbs Cross: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Oxford 1944

This could have been titled 'Toby's War Work'; Read more... )

Over the weekend, I also reread Princess Charming, so I'll post my thoughts about that soon.
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I'm currently dipping in and out of The Big Book of School Stories for Girls, edited by Mrs Herbert Strand and published by Humphrey Milford - the Oxford University Press. I've never been one to buy annuals and what-do-you-call-thems...anthologies? I prefer girls own stories in longer form, on the whole, and here's always the possibility of stories told in cartoon, which I'm not fussed about. However, it's not too bad, some of the stories have been amusing. The was a Dimsie story 'All Fools Day' (I don't know if it was written specially for this collection or not). It wasn't the pranks that Puck and co came up with so much as their reasoning.

I also love the illustrations, which seem to have been done by a variety of contributors. I forgot to mention when reviewing Torley Grange that while I appreciate Girls Gone By's habit of using the original art work, I didn't much like the cover. This will show my very limited appreciation of art, but I'm not sure that drawing schoolgirls as influenced by Edvard Munch's Scream with a jaundiced tinge, when you're not going for an Addams Family vibe is particularly attractive.

Anyhow, here are a couple of links that I've collected, mainly from trying to find information out about the writers I've recently been reading. I discovered (it must have been stated in the intro, but didn't sink in) that Torley Grange was Corutney's first book, which explains a few things and is rather impressive.

The University of Reading has her papers, there's a short bio here.

And this is an in-depth biographical article on Evelyn Smith by Hilary Clare for Folly magazine.
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Dimsie Carries On: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Oxford University Press

This is my post about buying the Dimises I've been reading and reviewing of late. (Tes, it can easily take over six months between the purchase of a book and the reading of it in my world.) Closer scrutiny has shown that I've got reprints, so there must have been other dust jackets originally. Even closer scrutiny (ie the dust jacket breaking up somewhat) has revealed that it's two sided, the other side was a dust jacket for another book entirely (Adventure for Two by Elsie J. Oxenham). I don't think I've come across that before!

To the book )
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Dimsie Among the Prefects: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Oxford. Reprinted 1949

I thought that I had bought four Dimsies in one go, but it was only three, so, after this, only one to go.

Read more... )

Anyway, I am currently reading A Company of Swans, and it's delightful.
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Dimsie Goes to School: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Oxford Univerity Press. Reprinted, 1949.

This is the first of three Dimsie books that I have to read...

And so, we begin at the beginning. I read my first Dimsie book after reading a couple of Springdale books, and my impression of the Jane Willard Foundation school was that it was always raining in comprison, and that they were always doing drills (which sounded beastly) and what kind of a name is the 'Jane Willard Foundation', wondered I. Ouf, typing it out, that opinion comes on a bit stronger than I expected. But rereading and reading more Dimsie books toned it down, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to get a fuller picture of Dimsie and 'Jane's.'. Another thing is that I was used to Dimsie as a Senior, so having her be in the Hilary Garth role is strange.

Read more... )

edited for typos on 12.1.10
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I've referred to Lucy Mangan's series of features on how to build up 'a brilliant children's library' before. Here in No. 15, she reaches Dimsie goes to School and Angela Brazils. Apparently the only difference between Fairlie Bruce and Angela Brazil is that one wrote her books a little earlier, which is unfair. Though I do appreciate that this is a short piece and she's talking about Dimsie as a representative of a genre.

But no, I cn't help but be pedantic, Fairlie Bruce wrote about Scotland as well as England, and Jean is a rubbish example of stoicism. I type as one who has four Dimsies waiting to be read upstairs. There's also a reference to 'You're A Brick, Angela' in the article, which apparatently was 'the first substantial book of criticism-cum-championing of girls' school stories'. This leads to the inevitable thought that if that's championing, who needs undermining. (I discuss that book and line of thought here.

Mangan's argument for these books is mainly nostalgic, though she makes an interesting point about how these books are no longer being passed on. Is this true? The Chalet School, Mallory Towers, St Clare's and Trebizons were easily available in paperback as I grew up, and I found others from my mother and her friends', a haphazard collection, and became a haunter of charity shops and Christmas fairs, but I was a real bookworm. But what about young girls these days? Do they get their hands on copies to beguile, entertain and confuse them?
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Happy New Year! I had hoped to post this much sooner after I saw the film, but it didn't work out. Still, I hope to post something about my Christmas reading (what bliss it is to be able to spend day after day reading books) in the near future.

Inkheart 2008


As I previously discussed in my review of the book, I read the translation of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart in preparation for this movie adaptation, charmed by the central idea of people with the gift of bringing characters and objects out of books when they read them out loud. Read more... )
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Inkheart: Cornelia Funke (translated by Anthea Bell) The Chicken House 2004 - paperback edition)

This is a book that will make even the most oblivious person about the physical form of a book notice it. I read from a library copy, because I wanted to read it before the film came out. It's the first Chicken House publication I've read - quirkily, the back suggests that you 'Read it! Try page 89' (I only noticed this after passing that point. I don't know if page 89 was particularly enticing).

This is very much a book for bookworms and about bibliophilia.Read more... )


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