As discussed in the thread in the School Noticeboard, I plan to start a proper discussion thread every week for the books, starting with School At
and going through each book in the series. I'll do a brief synopsis and a run-down of major events in the book, and everyone can discuss away.
So, getting right down to it...
The book that started it all.
First published in 1925, the series opens with twenty-four year old Madge Bettany deciding to take the fate of herself and her frail young sister Joey into her own hands by starting up a school on the shores of the Tiernsee, in the Austrian Tyrol. Adventures abound follow as the school establishes itself, including:
The introduction of the Marani and Mensch families, who go on to play pivotal roles in the series
Simone developing an obsession with Joey
The establishment of the prefect system
Juliet’s arrival and rebellion against CS authority, and subsequent abandonment by the dastardly Carricks
Several run-ins with Frau Berlin
A ramble on the Mondscheinspitze which turns into a night spent in a hut due to a change in weather conditions
Pranks by the Juniors
Grizel’s near-fatal expedition up the Tiernjoch
The train crash in which a certain Russell, James Russell, first appears
So, thoughts on the first book in the series? Do you think the rapid growth of the school was realistic? What do you think of Gisela as the first Head Girl, the other prefects, and how they handle the situations that require them to show their authority? Thoughts on Juliet and Grizel, who could be considered this book’s ‘problem’ girls? Did you enjoy the pranks that were played? We see a lot of Chalet traditions/clichés established in this book, such as Jo dashing off to someone’s rescue, Madge’s birthday celebrations, the school magazine, a ramble that goes awry due to adverse weather, an unmarried doctor conveniently showing up during a crisis…which is your personal favourite?