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Unpublished during her lifetime, this was one of MEA’s few forays into writing adult mysteries.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: (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: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Today, I ventured forth to a town I've never visited before and bought 14 books. In preparation, I'd searched for the second-hand book shops, jotted down the street names - but if I'd been really prepared, I'd have printed off a map. Thanks to some helpfully placed town maps, I found all of second-hand book shops and quite a few charity shops. Most of those books are girls own, so I hope there'll be reviews coming down the line - two Mabel Esther Allans, two Nancy Brearys, two Monica Marsdens, a Susan I hadn't got before and a Gwendoline Courtney, among others.

One of the shops was overwhelming - two rows of books on shelves and then piles and piles lying in front of them up to my knees. It made all the other cramped and overstocked shops I've been to over the years seem amateurish. There was a half-price sale there, and no wonder. It's quite likely that there were books that I'd have bought if I'd been able to find them there.

In another shop, I was asked if I was a collector. I answered hesitantly, because I am, up to a point. I'm a reader, first, though. I want the full version or the most authorially revised version of a story in the best condition possible, if I can.
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: 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)
I'm currently reading Dean's Ideal Book for Girls - the one with a blonde girl in red and white sitting on a swing, surrounded by three friends, on the cover. I'm going through it at a rate of one story a day. It features stories by C. Bernard Rutley (boo - not a fan) and Mabel E. Allan (hooray).

So far, well, the most interestng part of 'Carnival Night' about outgoing Robina finding a tobogganing companion in Terry, playing Good Samaritan and getting to the carnival in time was when Terry's aunt provided a fabulous fancy dress costume for Robina to wear at the carnival.

"It was bought a long time ago for a very special occasion," her aunt replied, gently stroking the velvet. "But it s silly of me to keep it hidden away.

The story hinted at there was so much more intriguing than the actual story.

The previous owner coloured in all the illustrations, which I rather like actually.
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).
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
This review may be even more rambling than normal. For one thing, I want to go watch the tennis match that is playing on my TV set. And for another, I am still freaked out by Googling the book title and author name and this morning's entry coming up.

Lorna on the Land by Doris Pocock, Ward Lock, 1946.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Made the unexpected purchase of a Mabel Esther Allan the other day. Well, not entirely unexpected, as charity shops and second hand bookstalls are my weakness, and you do find these books there...*

Anyway, yesterday, I reread 'Three Towers in Tuscany' after 'discovering' that it's the first in a series. I say discovering because it says so plain on the back page. My copy is a first publication and is ex-library - a Scottish library, so I got it on holiday there I think, though I can't remember the exact year and am too lazy to figure it out precisely. I must have been early to mid teens when I got it though. And I either paid 5p or 75p for it.

Three Towers in Tuscany: Malcolm Saville, Heinemann, 1963.

Read more... )

*It was an English-language book at the Eisteddfod! But it's set in Wales, which is probably why they were selling it. However, I am still puzzling over their rationale for including 'Cranford' which is not set in Wales, nor does it have any overt Welsh connection. But maybe it's okay because it's a classic???


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