feather_ghyll: Back of girl whose gloved hand is holding on to her hat. (Girl in a hat)
Daisy: Susan Warner, Miles & Miles

This is a case where a book didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected. My copy has gold blocks on its front cover and spine and the very type shouts out that from the late nineteenth century. I’d never heard of it or the author, Susan Warnerm before, but presumed it was in the Rosa N. Carey, E. Everett-Green vein. It isn’t quite.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Photograph of L M Montgomery at the seaside (L M Montgomery)
I feel I must preface this post as it’s about an American book that references women’s suffrage by saying that I read ‘Daddy Long-Legs’ at the end of October, but hadn’t been able to finish this review until now.

Daddy Long Legs: Jean Webster, Hodder & Stoughton

When I went to see the musical adaptation of this book (four years ago, EEK!), I realised that I couldn’t find my copy of ‘Daddy Long-Legs’ (a paperback edition, with an image of Judy in her gingham dress on the cover, possibly on a swing, I think). I still haven’t found it. So, when I came across a hardback copy, I decided to buy it. I have the original cast recording of the musical, so it’s been kept fresh in my mind, but I ought to be able to revisit the original easily.

It was good to return to the book and find that 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: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
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: Close-up of white flower aganst dark background (Black and white flower)
Angela Has Wings: Peter Ling and Sheilah Ward, A Girl novel, Longacre Press, 1960.

I had to look up to see whether Angela Wells was Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Schoolgirl Reporter: Constance M. White, Hutchinson, this edition 1969

I rated the last book by White that I read, The Ballet School Mystery and made a mental note to look out for more books by her, but Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Black and white photograph of early C20 girl with plait reading (Girl with a plait reading)
Kits at Clynton Court School: May Wynne. Warne. (I’m presuming it’s a reprint, the picture on the dust jacket has an accidental (?) 3D effect.

Kits arrives, or rather makes her entrance, at her new school Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
There were some mysteries: one featuring bored redheaded twins in Rhodesia in Monica Marsden’s A Matter of Clues. The first Rhodesian-set story I’ve read in a while, it's extremely silly. I then read Out of the Past by Patricia Wentworth, a (late) Miss Silver mystery that features many familiar elements, but there is an attempt to reorder them.

There were two family adventures off the Irish coast, both featuring some extraordinary modes of transportation and Irish clichés, plus the handy deaths of some of those Irishmen who were only mourned for a chapter at best. The Golden Galleon by Eileen Heming Read more... )

Then there was Jonquil, Test Pilot by Eileen Marsh, about Jonquil and her brother Jack and sister Belinda, who love flying aeroplanes. Read more... ) This book featured a lot of illustrations, most of which I didn’t like at all.

Then finally, unseasonally, there was The Merryfield Mystery by Marjorie Cleves about a group of schoolgirls, two mistresses and staff who stay behind at their school over the Christmas holidays. They’re snowed in and ‘haunted’. I wished that the whole mystery angle, in which everyone was a part-time ghost hunter and sleuth, had been dropped by the author just to tell the story of how this mixed group had got on and entertained themselves.

Oh dear, that’s a grumpy overview, and the truth is, the fact that I managed to nearly burn three toasts this morning has nothing to do with it. I had a relaxing break! (A fuller review of a book that I enjoyed more will be coming next.)
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Girl Reading: Katie Ward Virago 2012

I picked up this book in a charity shop because of the title, of course. It’s a collection of (long) short stories that all feature girls (or women) reading that, until the last story, are only tangentially linked. The stories cover various periods of time and places and, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Back of girl whose gloved hand is holding on to her hat. (Girl in a hat)
Daddy Long Legs St James’s Theatre, London

I spotted that there was a forthcoming musical adaptation of Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs in a newspaper, and, although it’s many years since I read the book – I suspect I’ve read Webster’s Just Patty more recently – I had to go. I keep meaning to see more theatrical productions (plays, musicals or dance) than I end up doing every year. So, that is what I was going to do a week yesterday. I had to pick up the ticket at the box office, so I couldn’t check it compulsively, only the diary in which I’d jotted down the time of the matinee. This time, I got there well in time.

Unfortunately, I got there hungry as a wolf. It was entirely my fault. I had just enough time – thought I – to wander around the vicinity, nose in map, and visit some charity shops and lunch. The reality was that I didn’t make any exciting finds, gawped at how much charity shops in Pimlico charge for clothes and failed to pop into a cafe or sandwich shop, even though I’d been hungry on leaving the coach. I only managed to get a croissant at the theatre, so I had a headache and a deep desire to kick myself as I took my seat. It’s to the production’s credit that my self-induced state didn’t mar my enjoyment one bit.

St James’s Theatre is, I understand, a new theatre built where an older theatre used to stand. I didn’t get much of a chance to take in the whole building, but the main auditorium is great. Three hundred and something seats – so they’re all good – descending down to the stage, allowing you to see and hear everything.

I’ll repeat that it’s many years since I read this book, and although I can visualise my copy, I have no idea where it is. I was curious about how they’d adapt what is an epistolary novel (and IIRC mainly written by one character). The answer is very cleverly.

This will contain spoilers for the musical and book, because I’m going to presume that you’ve read the book, and if you haven’t, you should have (if you’ve read Anne of Green Gables, What Katy Did and Little Women etc). And then you should go see this musical if you can.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
Grey Mask: Patricia Wentworth, Coronet 1979

First published in 1929, this early Miss Silver mystery references Sherlock Holmes Read more... )

Over the weekend, I also zipped through

The Larks of Jubilee Flat: Marjorie A. Sindall, Nelson 1956

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Lavendar flowers against white background (Beautiful flower (lavender))
Skate School - Ice Princess: Kay Woodward Usborne 2009

Read more... )

I did see bits of the men's final in the Australian Open, but as it's over a week ago now, it feels a bit redundant to comment upon it.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
The Battle of Wednesday Week: Barbara Willard Puffin 1968

I might well have a different reaction to this book if I weren’t reading it for the first time as an adult in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Read more... )


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