05/11/2010

The Chalet School and the Lintons (by Elinor M Brent-Dyer)

I do enjoy, from time to time, re-reading my childhood favourites. One of the series I thoroughly enjoyed as a teenager was the 'Chalet School' books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. My secondary school had them all in hardback, in the Junior Library, and I read my way through them at least twice.

I now own the entire series, although many are, alas, in a somewhat abridged paperback version. 'Chalet School and the Lintons' is a little confusing since the book was turned into two paperbacks; however, as they're very slim, I'm pretty sure they were still fairly significantly abridged. The second part of the original book is published as 'A Rebel at the Chalet School'.

The story is about Gillian and Joyce Linton, two sisters who are very different from each other. Gillian is friendly, honest, caring, and perceptive. Joyce, who's a year or two younger, is rather pampered, very selfish, and neither perceptive nor tactful. Their mother is very ill - more so than she lets her daughters know - and is sent to the Sonnalpe in Austria, to the fictional hospital specialing in TB treatment which features in many of these books. And the girls are taken from their school in the UK, and sent to the Chalet School nearby.

The early part of the book displays the girls' characters well, and - naturally - sparks fly when Joyce realises that she will have to change some of her ways if she is to make friends and enjoy life at the Chalet School.

Dated, of course - these books were written in the early part of the last century - but 'schoolgirl' values are still relevant, and there are plenty of subplots alongside the main one featuring the Linton sisters.

Enjoyable - recommended to anyone who likes the earlier Chalet School books, or wants some light teenage fiction to read in a few hours. Not currently in print, but fairly widely available second-hand, at least in the UK.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 5th November 2010

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