Elinor M. Brent-Dyer: ‘The Princess of the Chalet School’

I am being honest about what I’m reading here: the next book in the pile was a lightweight paperback for very young readers, originally published in 1927, set in a Swiss boarding school run by a bunch of devoted Catholics, and the third installment in a series of sixty-two similar novels. Wow. It was exactly like what you are imagining. My friend lent me this book promising a very light and wholesome read – and a window into her childhood. She devoured these as a kid while the rest of us were reading our way through Goosebumps  and The Babysitter’s Club.

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Yeah. There isn’t much to say about this book, except that is was definitely very sweet and wholesome and light and easy to read. There was a kidnapping (spoilers), but my friend assures me that this is a standard plot device for the author: there is either a kidnapping, a natural disaster or a student lost in the Alps in any given book in this series.

The one exceptional thing about this book was, like A Vicarage Family, the Chalet School reminded me of what it felt like to be a child who is mocked, patronised or unfairly treated by a regular adult – not an evil adult, just an adult who is not very thoughtful. It was a good reminder of how kids can see the world, and a reminder to not be a jerk to young people.

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