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Book Title: The Chalet School at War|
The author of the book: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.18 MB
Edition: HarperCollins (UK)
Date of issue: September 1st 1988
ISBN 13: 9780006929444
Read full description of the books The Chalet School at War:It's easy for me to be flippant about the Chalet School and, to be frank, it is a mode I adopt quite often when discussing this bizarre, brilliant and all too frustrating series. But it is not easy for me to be flippant about The Chalet School at War; a book full of ache and of pain and so, I shall not.
I didn't think I felt like this about The Chalet School at War. I remembered it being slightly leaden, a piece of filler coming after the great The Chalet School in Exile, mostly considering of Welsh people being very Welsh, Gwensi being boring and only enlivened by the great friendship split between two key middles. That was, alas, about it, and so when I came back to it, I don't know what I expected.
I do know that I did not expect this, this book that as ever with Brent-Dyer when she was at her fiery best, this book that is about one thing and yet wholly about another. Originally published in 1941 and titled 'The Chalet School Goes To It', The Chalet School at War is a book about love. It is a strange thing to apply, this sentiment to a series which resolutely stayed away from pashes and the like, but it is a sentiment I apply most wholeheartedly.
This book is about love.
This book is about family and ties and people being split from their homes and realising that none of that matters if they are together. This book is about women, banding together in the darkness and being brave and hopeful and furious against this war of men's making. This book is about England and her 'mettle being tested' in these dark, dark times and it is a message to the readers that says - you will live through this. You will survive. You will endure. And this book is about marriage and happily ever afters; some given with near-tangible authorial grief to characters who are 'too dear and sweet to spend their lives teaching'.
This book is about pain.
My God, it is so very much about pain.
The war is on, there are girls still inside Nazi Germany (not all Germans, Brent-Dyer reminds us, are Nazis, and again this fine distinction in this wild and so often ridiculous series makes me gasp at how good she could be). There are girls forced to live a life that they have not chosen with people that they have not chosen. There are women trying to do the best for the children in their care and there are these children who are growing up in these tumultous times and clinging to simple things. Hope. Honesty. Respect. Everything embodied in that painful, jagged little league of hope that's called 'The Chalet School Peace League'
And all of that is delivered in this school story about vegetables and about inter-form arguments and babies and I didn't see it coming. Quite often, with Brent-Dyer, when she is this good, I don't see it coming and it's only when I finish and close the book that I realise what's just happened. It's only then that I remember just how outstanding an author she could be.
Read information about the authorElinor M. Brent-Dyer was born as Gladys Eleanor May Dyer on 6th April 1894, in South Shields in the industrial northeast of England, and grew up in a terraced house which had no garden or inside toilet. She was the only daughter of Eleanor Watson Rutherford and Charles Morris Brent Dyer. Her father, who had been married before, left home when she was three years old. In 1912, her brother Henzell died at age seventeen of cerebro-spinal fever. After her father died, her mother remarried in 1913.
Elinor was educated at a small local private school in South Shields and returned there to teach when she was eighteen after spending two years at the City of Leeds Training College. Her teaching career spanned 36 years, during which she taught in a wide variety of state and private schools in the northeast, in Middlesex, Bedfordshire, Hampshire, and finally in Hereford.
In the early 1920s she adopted the name Elinor Mary Brent-Dyer. A holiday she spent in the Austrian Tyrol at Pertisau-am-Achensee gave her the inspiration for the first location in the Chalet School series. However, her first book, Gerry goes to school, was published in 1922 and was written for the child actress Hazel Bainbridge. Her first 'Chalet' story, The School at the Chalet, was originally published in 1925.
In 1930, the same year that Jean of Storms was serialised, she converted to Roman Catholicism.
In 1933 the Brent-Dyer household (she lived with her mother and stepfather until her mother's death in 1957) moved to Hereford. She travelled daily to Peterchurch as a governess.
When her stepfather died she started her own school in Hereford, The Margaret Roper School. It was non-denominational but with a strong religious tradition. Many Chalet School customs were followed, the girls even wore a similar uniform made in the Chalet School's colours of brown and flame. Elinor was rather untidy, erratic and flamboyant and not really suited to being a headmistress. After her school closed in 1948 she devoted most of her time to writing.
Elinor's mother died in 1957 and in 1964 Brent-Dyer moved to Redhill, where she lived in a joint establishment with fellow school story author Phyllis Matthewman and her husband, until her death on 20th September 1969.
During her lifetime Elinor M. Brent-Dyer published 101 books but she is remembered mainly for her Chalet School series. The series numbers 59 books and is the longest-surviving series of girls' school-stories ever known, having been continuously in print for more than 70 years. 100,000 paperback copies are still being sold each year. Among her published books are other school stories; family, historical, adventure and animal stories; a cookery book, and four educational geography-readers. She also wrote plays and numerous unpublished poems and was a keen musician.
In 1994, the year of the centenary of her Elinor Brent-Dyer's birth, Friends of the Chalet School put up plaques in Pertisau, South Shields and Hereford, and a headstone was erected on her grave in Redstone Cemetery, since there was not one previously. They also put flowers on her grave on the anniversaries of her birth and death and on other special occasions.
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