Book Review | The Chalet School Librarian By Pat Willimott
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By NOIDE-NG7 10/23 18h5
Tags: synopsis book review The Chalet School Librarian Pat Willimott Troubador Publishing 9781905237302
Added: 4 months ago
From: Book Reviews
The Chalet School is a series of approximately sixty school story novels by Elinor Brent-Dyer, initially published between 1925 and 1970. The school was initially located in Austria, moved to Guernsey in 1939, following the rise to power of the Nazi Party, then to "Plas Howell", a house on the border of England and Wales, then to St Briavels, close to the English - Welsh border and finally to Switzerland.
Background and main characters
The Chalet School is founded in 1925 by Madge Bettany when her brother Dick has to return to his job in the Forestry Commission in India. She comes to the conclusion that starting a school would be a convenient way to generate some much-needed income, while also looking after her infirm younger sister Joey. Finding that suitable locations in England would be too expensive for her plans, she decides to look abroad, and finally settles on a large chalet in the Austrian Alps, conveniently providing a helpful climate for Joey's recuperation. Within a few years a sanatorium is built not far from the school, where tuberculosis patients convalesce. The founder, Dr Jem Russell, along with Dr Jack Maynard, provides assistance to members of the school and they eventually marry Madge and Joey respectively. Robin Humphries (in the later books Soeur Cécile) is also a main character, until she leaves the Chalet school to go to Oxford and later becomes a nun. The books then follow a variety of characters, including Daisy Venables, Bride Bettany and Gay Lambert, until Mary-Lou Trelawney comes to the school, and becomes the main character for several books. After she leaves school, in the later books, Joey's triplets, Len, Con & Margot, become main characters. The three main leads throughout the series are generally accepted to be Joey Bettany, Mary-Lou Trelawney and Len Maynard.
Throughout the series, various girls arrive at the school with personal problems, bad attitudes or behavioural issues. As a result of the ministrations of better-behaved classmates and the school mistresses, including Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson, they all tend to discover the error of their ways and become model pupils, or 'real Chalet School girls'. This formula of a troublesome new girl who reforms and conforms is most common in the later books.
Books by other authors
Several authors have written books about the Chalet School. Some of them follow on from the last book of the series, and others attempt to fill in some of the "gaps" in the earlier years of the school. All books are published by Girls Gone By Publishers (formerly Friends of the Chalet School) unless otherwise stated.
* New Beginnings at the Chalet School - Heather Paisley (1999 Published by Friends of the Chalet School and 2002 Published by GGB)
* Nicola Goes To The Oberland - Josephine M. Hardman (2010) Published by Blurb (takes place over the year immediately following New Beginnings)
* The Chalet School Librarian - Pat Willimott (2005) Published by Matador
This book continues the long and popular traditions of The Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. Set a year after New Beginnings at the Chalet School, it features a new library and swimming pool, built to commemorate the Silver Anniversary of the school.
A new Librarian is appointed to run the Library, a bold decision at a time when school librarians were few and far between. The new Librarian soon comes up against resistance to her appointment, and there is conflict with the Library Prefect, who had responsibility for much of the old library. A dramatic resolution to the stand-off ensues during the half-term holiday expedition... School prefects organise a swimming gala in the new swimming pool, and water polo is introduced as a regular fixture. This book will appeal to all fans of the "Chalet School" series.
The Chalet School Librarian was set twelve months after New Beginnings and is the first of the fill-ins written by Pat Willimott. (She is currently writing her second). Cathryn Carpenter is appointed as the chalet School Librarian during a time when school librarians weren't particularly common. She instigates a number of changes with the system of how the school library is run and in the process manages to unintentionally upset the Library Prefect, Victoria Wood. These aren't the only changes within the Chalet School, we also have the school pool finally being built, creating new fun for the girls and we also have a new way of the school handling new girls learning the three languages of the school, by offering intensive classes in the languages during the first few weeks of term. Gretchen Von Ahlen is made Head Girl, the first Austrian girl as Head Girl, since Maria Marani.