The Head Girl of the Chalet School (by Elinor M Brent-Dyer)

I've been reading and re-reading books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer for nearly forty years now. They're an early example, I suppose of 'crossover' books - those that appeal to children or young teenagers and also to adults. These days they seem somewhat dated, but the people and situations still sparkle - a tribute to the author's talent.

Having recently acquired several of the early hardbacks in facsimile form, I couldn't resist re-reading them for the first time in over ten years. After thoroughly enjoying 'The School at the Chalet', and 'Jo of the Chalet School' it would have made sense for me to read the third in the series, 'The Princess at the Chalet School'.

However, although I do have a hardback version, it's at home in Cyprus. I did ponder waiting a couple of weeks until I'm back again.. but not for long. Instead I picked up the fourth in the series, 'The Head Girl of the Chalet School'.

In this book, Grizel Cochrane is made head girl of the Chalet School for two terms. The staff are not sure that she will cope, particularly when her temper makes her do something irresponsible shortly before she takes up her new role. But she's given another chance to mature, and it's probably the making of her.

So Grizel determines to succeed. Her two terms as head girl are enlivened by a revengeful prefect, a snow fight which turns nasty, various weddings, an abduction, a trip to Salzburg that has an unpleasant ending, and a surprising discovery.

It's all thoroughly enjoyable stuff. Great characterisation, interesting plotlines, and all the better to read in hardback! It's many years since I read this, even in the abridged paperback version, and I'd forgotten most of it.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 21st September 2009

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