I got a chance to go into a proper, if tiny, second-hand bookshop over the weekend. I don’t recall whether I’ve written about thi particular shop before here or not. It’s the sort of shop where you have to be willing to devote time to searching and even literally kneel down if you’re a children’s book collector or, er, a bookish child. I had a bit of a misanthropic spell there. I’d like to say it was idiot holiday-makers who clearly only went into bookshops when they came across them unexpectedly out of the daily run, but it was people in general. It was mainly the lack of space, books are essentially in piles, three deep in one small room. I scattered some piles about three times and got stepped upon.
Still, I got all of the books that I’m going to discuss next (and more) there:The Adventurous Rebel: Eileeen Graham. C&J Temple, 1949?.
This is a historical adventure for older girls. I am getting tired of the way early twentieth century children’s writers automatically side with the Royalists (oh those gay cavaliers!) all the time. ( Read more... )
I then read (an overpriced copy given the edition and its condition)Still Glides the Stream: DE Stevenson. Fontana, 1965.
Will Hastie returns to the Borders having stayed in the army after the second world war, but, now in his mid thirties, he means to settle and make a go of things at home. He grew up with the family next door, almost counting Rae his brother and Patty his sister, but Rae died in the war, leaving his parents broken and hopeless. Patty now has a fiancée, who should help her, but Will - unaccountably
doesn’t like him. A telling picnic gone wrong shows Patty that she doesn’t like him that much either, but Will has gone off to investigate a mystery thrown up by an enigmatic message from Rae that arrived after news of his death. In the south of France, where Rae died, Will discovers that his friend found and married a beautiful Frenchwoman, and she bore him a son, Tom, in many ways Rae to the life again. Will eventually brings them home, where Tom heals his grandparents and Patty feels she should be happier than she is. It's all very gentle, and I liked it more than I did the last Stevenson that I read, although I was in some anxiety that Stevenson would pair off the ‘right' couple (to my mind), something she doesn’t always do.
This book loosely follows up Amberwell
with a visit there that reminded me of people visiting Rosamund’s castle in the Abbey series. I read Amberwell
when I was too young to grasp it, really. I wanted it to be more of a book about children and their big house than it was, and then it was a long time after when I read Summerhills
.The Treasure of the Trevellyans: Doris Pocock The Commonwealth Library 2 Ward lock 1959
is a perfectly fine family adventure book about the large brood of an impecunious if well regarded artist who inherits the family seat. Given what the weather is like these days, I like that Pocock does not give them a wonderful Cornish summer. It rains. A lot. ( Read more... )