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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: 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... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I’ve just come back from a holiday in a city in northern England. I was asked what I’d do: ‘Visit the historical sites, drink copious amounts of coffee and some shopping,’ I answered vaguely. Then I went and researched where the second-hand bookshops were rather than anything else.

I was mildly hysterical after walking into a shop that had first editions of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Dorita Fairlie Bruces for £50, £195 and £300. At least, I was hysterical after I closed my jaw again. Later, I saw an Elsie J. Oxenham for a mere £40. As someone who has kittens while considering spending more than £10 on a book - and you should see the mental gymnastics involved when I decided to justify spending that much - WELL. In the first shop, jostled among these highly-priced mintish-condition rarities was a girls own book going for six pounds. I already owned it.

Anyway, I managed to get several books, all for less than £6, elsewhere, some of which are girls own or Vintage Children as Oxfam would have it. I spent less than £40 all told on them! And I did visit historical sites taking coffee breaks and really enjoyed myself.
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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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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.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
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?
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Today's haul = nine books. Most of them were courtesy of a second-hand bookshop where, to my delight (truly, I was grinning like a fool for a good bit after that), I got three Dimsie books. There were more DFBs, but I already owned them. These are the first Dimsies that I own with a dust jacket, which was nice satisfaction for my curiosity, although they're all the same drawing and less colourful than the Springdale dust jacket that I own. Speaking of, I am most excited about getting Dimsie Carries On because it links both series, although the copy was priced down because it was in a worse condition.
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)
Researching for this review, I found out that one of its sequels, Toby of Tibbs' Cross, is that book featuring a Land Girl that I was thinking of the other day. The fact that I didn't remember that I'd read about the further adventures of this character doesn't worry me particularly, but as it wasn't on my main list of girls' own stories, that suggests that it is not stored with the rest of those books, or it wasn't when I made the list to try to avoid buying second copies of books I already own.

(PS: The only tennis I saw yesterday was the entertaining Bryan twins n their way to an easy victory. Doubles always fascinates me, apart from the rat-a-tat volleying, with its psychology. There is some tennis in the book below, but it's mainly a plot device.)

Anyway:

The School on the Moor: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Oxford 1934 reprint
Read more... )
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).

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