19/11/2010

The New House at the Chalet School (by Elinor M Brent-Dyer)

I loved the Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer as a teenager, and am delighted to have the full collection now, albeit many of them in the somewhat abridged paperbacks. Friends regularly borrow them, and from time to time I re-read some myself.

'The New House at the Chalet School' is eleventh in the lengthy series. It describes Jo Bettany's last term at the school, where she is Head Girl. Term begins with a shock for Joey, when she learns that she and her four closest friends are to be moved to a new chalet intended mainly for the 'Middles' of the school, as prefects in charge. They do like having their own rooms, but are not at all certain that they want to be moved in their final term. To make matters worse, the new matron installed in the new chalet takes a dislike to Jo, and never really understands the ethos of the school.

Despite being an abridged paperback, this book is full of interesting sub-plots, from a new "orchestra" with a bizarre collection of instruments, to a reunion between Jo's brother-in-law and his long-lost sister. Not too much run-of-the-mill stuff; the focus is on the new chalet rather than lessons in school, and since it must have been well over ten years since I read it - maybe nearer twenty - I'd totally forgotten what happened.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys these books. The Armada version is fairly widely available second-hand, and there's a newer 'Girls Gone By' re-print which is not currently in print, and rather high priced second-hand.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 19th November 2010

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