My childhood was filled with books published by Pickering & Inglis, purveyors of Christian literature. As a daughter of the manse the basic premise of these books (to introduce and encourage a life of faith) felt perfectly normal to me and as a Christian adult that hasn’t changed. But I recognised at an early age that some of the output was truly dreadful in terms of storytelling and that hasn’t changed either.
However some of the books do stand up to scrutiny and I have kept a few, including the Trudy series by Mary Alice Faid. The first book, Trudy Takes Charge, about which I have written elsewhere, was published in 1949. It’s important to remember that, and to accept that the series was written for middle class girls. By the time I read them in the late seventies and early eighties the world was a different place but, used as I was to books from different eras, middle class 1950s Scotland was fairly easy to accept.
Trudy On Her Own is the sixth book of ten and sees the heroine move back to Martonbury, the town where she trained, to teach English at a private girls’ school. She is on her own in the sense that she rents a room in a refurbished castle where she hopes she will have time and space to write. Naturally the demands of life encroach and, having an over-developed sense of responsibility, Trudy finds herself pulled in all directions.
As a footnote, I’m interested in the locations in the book. The series is clearly set in Scotland and I have puzzled over whether or not the places mentioned are based on real towns. If anyone has thoughts on this I’d be glad to hear them. Could Martonbury be Glasgow? And what about Drumleigh, Trudy’s home town? I wondered off and on if it might be Dumfries…