feather_ghyll: drawing of a girl from the 1920s reading a book in a bed/on a couch (Twenties girl reader)
The Smiths of Silver Lane: Ethel Talbot Nelson (my copy is inscribed 1933)

As the title suggests, this is a family story. We gradually get introduced to the Smiths: Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Miss Jacobson’s Journey by Carola Dunn is a Regency romance with a dash of adventure, which its heroine always wanted. Read more... )

Carol’s Second Term by Ethel Talbot also featured a relatively fresh angle on the school story. Read more... )

And it wouldn’t be a holiday round-up if I didn’t mention that I’d read a Miss Silver mystery: The Ivory Dagger by Patrical Wentworth. There can’t be many that I haven’t read before by her, most the recentish paperbacks with vintage covers. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: One girl seated by an easel with a watching girl standing behind (Girl painter)
Jill Makes Good: Elizabeth Tugwell, Nelson

Of course, such a title begs you to decide whether the author has made good with this book.

Fourteen year old Jill Ross is headed for Cornwall at the start of the story, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Boat with white sail on water (Sailboat adventure)
Rangers and Strangers and Other Stories: Ethel Talbot Nelson

I didn't realise until opening this book to rad it that it was a collection of short stories, rather than one book-length story. The title of the collection comes from the first and longest story, and is, in a way misleading, because 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: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Cherry Ames at Spencer

Some other time, I will do the research and write something more considered about Cherry Ames - both girl detective and career girl and surely the poster girl for the hybrid-type series, usually published by World Distributors. She takes on a different nursing job in each book, which seems to involve a child-appropriate mystery and good-looking young doctors who would sure like to know rosy-cheeked Cherry better. Unlike the heroines of other nursing books, she must always disappoint them, because she always loves Dr Joe* the most.

Cherry Ames at Spencer by Julie Tatham. World Distibutors 1958

The book certainly hits all the things I expected to see. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I thought I'd mentioned beginning this, but I had it mixed up with the last annual I read, The Big Book of School Stories for Girls. The British Girl's Annual was 'compiled by the editor of Little Folks' and published by Cassell and Company Ltd in 1918.

I've been reading no more than a story a day, and actually less frequently than that, so I'm edging two thirds of the way through. I've just finished my second Violet Methley story, 'Her Wits' End', which is less noteworthy than the first of Methley's stories in the annual, 'A Daughter of the Legion'. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Of course, I always seem to come across Ethel Talbot, Bessie Marchant and Angela Brazil books because there are so many of them. I had some preconcieved ideas based on the title, Peggy's Last Term, that it would be about a prefect saying goodbye to her school and setting some young'uns right. But that wasn't the story at all. As I've reread Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince recently, Read more... ) I didn't need to read that story anyway. And that's the sort of story you'd get in a series, not as a stand-alone.

Peggy's Last Term: Ethel Talbot. Nelson

Read more... )

Edited for typos and punctuation 7/6/10.
feather_ghyll: Black and white body shot a row of ballet dancers (Ballet girls)
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.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Finding Minerva: Frances Thomas. Pont, 2007.

I love 'alternate universe' stories. Does anyone remember Sliders, where the main characters moved from alternate Earth to alternate Earth? Here be dragons, hippies, mutants or tyrants...I've just been reading Black Powder War by Naomi Novik, part of the 'Temeraire' series about the Napoleonic wars in a world where dragons exist. I love stories that are set in a world that asks what if history had branched off at some critical point, leading to a similar but different world to ours.

The premise of this young adult book, to borrow an Americanism, is that the Romans never left Britain because the Roman Empire never fell and so the world developed at a different pace. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Happy New Year! I've been away reading for a fortnight, among other things, one of Jane Shaw's Susan stories; 'Red Caps at School' by Ethel Talbot, a really slight story, but not as annoying as I found some of her books over the past year; 'Sadie Comes to School' by May Wynne, a busy story with a new American girl, spies, near fatal accidents and an undercooked Christian moral; the much older 'Captain Polly' which was more of a Seven Little Australians/What Katy Did family story. I also read 'Nancy Drew and Company', a collection of academic essays about North American girls' series books, which I gleefully covered with exclamatory glosses, even though I wasn't familiar with about two thirds of the series that were discussed.

I've just finished 'Winter Holiday' by Arthur Ransome, which was a perfectly seasonal book to read at the end of the Christmas holiday, although of course, a Ransome is a good read it any time.

Read more... )

After a lousy 24 hours, I finally caved and spent nearly £9 on a Swallows and Amazons mug from Borders that I've been eyeing for months. My other excuse is that there was a broken mug incident over the holidays. It features illustrations from the books on a green background and the quote about how the books almost wrote themselves. I have yet to use it.

Coming soon (maybe): a review of the TV adaptation of Ballet Shoes and Finding Minerva, which I read over the holidays.
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I was back to the charity shop where I'm volunteering yesterday - the skirt that everyone kept picking up but never buying wasn't gone, but the killer red boots that everyone kept picking up but never buying were. 'Twas only a matter of time before a size 3 Cinderella came into the shop. It was busy, but we weren't selling many books. All I sold was a funny book, a classic (a bargain, because it seemed to be a recently published version and in good quality for a quid) and a dictionary. I hope to pick up some books for myself today.

Over the weekend, I read an Angela Brazil. I hope to type up my review soon, I very nearly lost my scrawls out of carelessness. Order marks for me etc. etc. Also - finally somewhere where my excitement is not going to be inexplicable - I got a Dimsie book! Think of a snug one-room shop, thirty seconds away from a seaview. The walls are painted an airy white, but are mainly hidden, because books are piled precariously everywhere, there's no space left on the shelves, making turning or hasty movement an invitation for an avalanche. And there I saw 'Dimsie Head Girl'! I have more Springdales than Dimsies, so I was pretty sure i didn't have it (and have since checked: it isn't a double. That's becoming an occasional whoopsie that I do, having been collecting for around twenty years now.) I got another children's book by a name I didn't recognise and an Ethel Talbot (yes, despite the harsh reviews I've been giving her books. It was only £1.50).
feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
I had other content for tonight, I'll get to it in a moment, but what a refreshing change to come home to see a match being played in sunshine with every hope of it running its course. The fact that it was Henin v S WIlliams - everyone's tip for the match of the quarters - was a bonus. I came in at the start of the second set, and the points were really intense. Like the crowd, I wanted Henin to win, and believed she would, even though she didn't contain Serena as well as she had in the French. But at the beginning of the third,, she just decided to up a gear, and there wasn't much Serena could do about it. Even when things got tight, there was certainly enough of a cushion. Henin is the player to beat, her quality has shone through so far this tournament.

Um, sorry for the 'shone'. Doubles next - poor mixeds, still on the first round. Murray is indeed becoming a star of the Championship. More involving was the next doubles match they showed, Mike Bryan (played by Bob Bryan) and Lisa Raymond (played by Maura Tierney) versus Melanie South (played by a heftier Thora Birch) and Alex Bogdanovic (played by a hedgehog) all played some entertaining tennis from what I was. And the Brits won! They beat the number 1 seeds who had plenty of titles between them. Just as I was wondering why Melanies 'Shotmaker' South wasn't higher up in the rankings, the commentators kindly explained she wasn't the best mover, but that that was protected more in doubles. Well, why doesn't she concentrate on doubles then? Her serving was very solid, her volleying and hand and eye co-ordination class and she stayed with Bryan. Erm. Yeah. Hopefully there will be just as much tennis tomorrow, because it was starting to feel like a tennis debating tournament.

Word of the day: (Justine Henin's as shared by Tracey 'not biased in the American player's favour at all' Austin) aggressivity.

Sally at School: Ethel Talbot, Nelson

This is a mid-read review!

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
One other Ethel Talbot down (The Foolish Phillimores), one to go (Sally at School). The Foolish Phillimores wasn’t as bad as Diana the Daring, probably because of my lowered expectations as much as the merit of the tale. The abuse of the ellipsis still remained a problem, but at least the story didn’t go where I was afraid that it would, after suffering Diana’s mix of inverted snobbery and the other kind.

Read more... )

Now I talk about non-fictional tennis )


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