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Not Bad, But After Reading The New Series I Can't Remember What Stands Out
on 2 December 2012
'First Term at Malory Towers' was the first real full length book I ever read. I was about 10, and it was what got me thinking about becoming a children's author. Say what you like about Enid Blyton, her books sold, and she set a benchmark for children's writers.
So when I saw this new follow-on series, ending with 'Goodbye, Malory Towers', continuing the story with Darrell's sister Felicity and her friends at Malory Towers boarding school, I thought I would download them to my Kindle and go back in time to my childhood.
On the whole I quite enjoyed them. The author has done her best to keep the tone of the dialogue to the period in which the book is set, just after the Second World War, with not too much in the way of 'jolly well' or 'wizard' but enough to tell us there's nothing 2012 about the language. All the old favourite teachers are there: Miss Grayling the headmistress, Miss Potts the head of North Tower, Mam'zelle Dupont and Mam'zelle Rougier. In this last book we even see the return of two old adversaries of Darrell and Felicity: Gwendoline Lacey from Darrell's form, who has returned to teach deportment, and Jo Jones from Felicity's days in the second form, now known as Alice, given a second chance because she has become a better person. We're even reunited with the Old Girls from Darrell's time, like Alicia and Sally, who come to the school for a reunion.
My problem is this: I finished reading the book about three months ago, and nothing but old names really stands out in my memory of it. I can't remember much about the previous books, either, but with the old series I remember Darrell giving Gwen her slaps when she ducks Mary-Lou in the pool, and June and the poison pen letters. This series seems to have too much going on; too many characters trying to take a slice of the action, and I'm struggling to remember the names of the other girls in Felicity's class, other than her best friend Susan, and indeed the events surrounding them.
To conclude an overall good effort to re-create an old favourite. It may inspire someone to bring the series into the present day and tell the story of Malory Towers with one of Darrell's granddaughters as a pupil.