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Ebook The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer read! Book Title: The School at the Chalet
The size of the: 26.90 MB
Edition: HarperCollins (UK)
Date of issue: March 1st 2001
ISBN: 0006925170
ISBN 13: 9780006925170
The author of the book: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
Language: English
Format files: PDF

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This is a well written, well paced, and engaging story, the first of many in a long series about a boarding school in the Austrian Tyrol. I’m really glad that I got an unabridged copy, a facsimile reproduction of the original edition.

I was interested in the characters and one of my favorite things about them and the story was how the girls of all nationalities had read English boarding school stories and had ideas about how their new school should comply. As a fan of orphan and quasi-orphan books, I was in literary heaven with this one. There was quite a bit of adventure in this story as well, and I’m sure I’d have been utterly engrossed had I been introduced to this at age 10 or so. The story is skillfully told with just the right amount of unusual occurrences and everyday life being described.

This book was originally published in 1925 and I’ve read many children’s books from that and earlier eras, but with this book I noticed quite a bit of outdated material, more than I’ve noticed in many other older books. While the girls who attend the school and for the most part get along are both local and international, and the sisters at the heart of the story are relatively well traveled, I found the many stereotypes jarring. There were blanket statements about people from various countries and areas, much talk of the hue of people’s complexions and their import on people’s character and personalities, much sexism, derogatory comments about fat people (even though the “regular thin” people seem to eat an awful lot), one character’s constant phrase of “honest injun” and such. The adjective plucky was overused, or at least it got to the point where I felt irritated. I did think some of the trials and tribulations of some of the students were not given the full weight they deserved. Re one of the many references to locations (and their peoples) I did laugh at the, I think unintentionally, funny line: “…whose parents wanted to go to Norway, and were not anxious to take their children on such a tiresome journey.” I must say I did often find myself in disagreement with what are considered to be people's positive or negative attributes.

However, despite all of this, I can see why this series has been so popular over the years. I might seek out the second book and others too if I can get unabridged editions. I really enjoy Joey and Madge and so many of the other characters, and I’m curious to know what happens to them; I would guess quite a bit given how many books follow this one. I read this book because it’s the October book selection for the Goodreads’ group: A Thrilling Term at Goodreads: The Girls' School-Story Group, a group that has quarterly group reads.

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Ebook The School at the Chalet read Online! Elinor 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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