The long silence from me is due to illness. I was critically ill in the summer and have taken a long time to recuperate. For much of that time I didn’t have the focus to read new books but I’m pretty much back now and normal reading and blogging will resume shortly.
Like many people, I suspect, I re-read lots of old favourites whilst I was recovering. Mostly, these were adult novels but I did turn back to Clare Mallory, a New Zealander who wrote books for children and teenagers in the 1940s and 1950s. I came across her books fairly recently and immediately enjoyed them. Many of them are school stories but the schools tend to be much more relaxed than their British contemporaries although they do have much in common.
My favourite of Clare Mallory’s novels is Juliet Overseas. It concerns a girls who is sent halfway around the world to attend her mother’s old school in England. In a typical school story plot, the tone of the school is not all it might be and Juliet takes it upon herself to effect an improvement. Of course she succeeds but reading about how she does it is entertaining and even thought-provoking.
I also read the Merry trilogy (Merry Begins, Merry Again, Merry Marches On). It is set in Dunedin in a fictional representation of Columba College where Clare Mallory was Headmistress. Merry and her friends are engaging characters as are the prefects who form the other group we get to know. There’s a strong message of loyalty and striving to do one’s best permeating the series but it’s none the worse for that.
That’s my comfort reading over now, until Christmas at least. From this weekend I’ll be attacking my to-be-read pile so come back soon and find out about some of the brilliant new books being published for children and young people.