Before the Chalet School : The Bettanys on the Home Front, Paperback

Before the Chalet School : The Bettanys on the Home Front Paperback

Part of the Chalet School series

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Girls Gone By
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: School
  • ISBN: 9781847452061



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This is my first reading of a “new” Chalet school book, and it’s a great place to start for anyone who loved Chalet School novels as a child (though I’ll have to read Helen Barber’s earlier books soon as well!). Home Front is a pleasing novel for lovers of Downton Abbey too, as it takes place at the start of World War I and convincingly depicting English village life, from landlord to teacher to tradesman to orphaned child.Future founder of a famous (Chalet) school, Madge Bettany is introduced as a teenage schoolgirl, living with twin brother Dick, their guardian, a nanny, a housekeeper, and of course, a baby sister, Joey of Chalet School fame. The late-summer setting quickly becomes real—part of a world now gone and society in flux, just as evocative as Eleanor Brent-Dyer’s novels set between the wars and later. The people, just as in the earlier author’s books, are pleasingly kind in a world that’s sometimes cruel. Generosity brings rewards. Money brings responsibility. Folly brings punishment which brings its own rewards. And wisdom wins through. Meanwhile World War I is just beginning, and real families suffer real losses, then band together for comfort.My mother read Chalet School books as a child. Then I read them as a child. And now my mother eagerly collects each new book as it comes out. Helen Barber has certainly caught the flavor of Eleanor Brent-Dyer’s writing, the ethos of gentle faith and wisdom, and the family-friendly feel of school-girl antics. After reading this book I’m hooked and will look forward to raiding Mum's bookshelves on my next visit.Disclosure: My mother gave me this book.

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