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Books: The Chalet School In Exile
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Author:  Vintagejazz [ 20 Apr 2017, 15:31 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Yes, I could never understand the choice of Godmothers, or why Joey would name one of her daughters after Con Stewart. It would have been more logical to call her after Mademoiselle Lepattre who had died recently and had been a bigger part of Joey's life than Miss Stewart.

Author:  ivohenry [ 20 Apr 2017, 22:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Vintagejazz wrote:
Yes, I could never understand the choice of Godmothers, or why Joey would name one of her daughters after Con Stewart. It would have been more logical to call her after Mademoiselle Lepattre who had died recently and had been a bigger part of Joey's life than Miss Stewart.


She was a bit limited in needing to choose Catholic Godparents, but that wouldn't have excluded Robin, Marie, Frieda or Simone. Can't remember any earlier mention of Con or Grace being Catholic but probably is somewhere. She could have given each of them two Godmothers, it's more usual (at least in C of E, think also RC) to have two of same sex as child and one of the other, though just one of each is OK - and of course the Royal Family have lots!

Author:  shesings [ 20 Apr 2017, 22:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

We're told in 'Camp' that Con and Grace are Catholic when Grace gets in a tizz about who takes prayers for the Protestants - Juliet and Grizel are detailed for the job.

Author:  jennifer [ 21 Apr 2017, 05:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

I think this is by far the best book that EBD wrote - the combination of school story trappings, an amazingly honest look at the rise of the Nazi regime and the events leading to early days of the war for a kids' book, and a very compassionate distinction between Germans and Nazis.

EBD could easily have skipped the book, and picked up in England, with a first chapter describing how the school had to move to England because of impending war, but instead she covers that transition, in all its horror.

The book does, however, have massive numbers of EBDisms between the first and second halves, with some girls not aging at all, some aging backwards, and some ending up older than they should. I also wonder where all those girls hung out the more than year between the school closing and opening again.

I can see the problem though from a writing perspective. We get books at one a term until Jo returns, skip a term, then one more book. Then there's a more than a year gap, then the events of the first half Exile (which focuses on a relatively small number of girls, most of them older), then another more than year gap before the school re-opens. So there is a roughly 3 year gap between the last regular school story, and the school re-opening.

So the prefects at that point should be people like Elizabeth Arnett and Mary Shaw, and the middles should be people who were in second form in New CS, and we don't have many of those mentioned. EBD would have to start from nearly new students, giving up the feeling of connectedness between the earlier books. In the later gaps of ~2 years, we have the younger generation of Bettanys and Rochelle people who age into the middles category, so there we still familiar characters in the younger forms.

Author:  Audrey25 [ 21 Apr 2017, 06:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

There were lots of mistakes anyway regarding ages. EBD did not help by changing the age at which Joey had the triplets in the reprints of the book. Originally they were born around the time of her 22nd birthday which makes sense but this is then changed to her 21st birthday. I greatly doubt if any other ages were changed in line.

Also, at the time of the re-start in Exile, David's age is given as seven. As Jo was 15 when he was born, he could not possibly have been seven. Even if Jo was around her 22nd birthday when the triplets were born, he would still only be six.

I wonder if EBD deliberately upped the age of some of the Bettany/Russell children for the sake of the story. I seem to remember Sybil should only be about seven or at the most eight in Jo to the Rescue.

She should at least seen that the ages of the Bettanys and Russells were correct.

Author:  lizco [ 21 Apr 2017, 07:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

jennifer wrote:
I think this is by far the best book that EBD wrote - the combination of school story trappings, an amazingly honest look at the rise of the Nazi regime and the events leading to early days of the war for a kids' book, and a very compassionate distinction between Germans and Nazis.


.


As Jennifer and many others have posted, I agree this was the high point of the series from a writing point of view. Her distinction between Germans and Nazis was very forward-thinking. Does anyone know if she received criticism for this - either privately by letters from angry parents/grand-parents or publicly in the press? Many of her readers' families must have suffered losses during the First World War and there were still many of the opinion that "the only good German was a dead German".

Author:  Alison H [ 21 Apr 2017, 09:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

I've never heard if she did or not, but I find it interesting that, after the storyline in Three Go about Verity and the German carols, nearly all the Austrian characters (I don't think there were any German girls at the school at the time) vanish. Natalie Mensch stays, but the Austrian girls in Mary-Lou's form are never heard of again. I've always wondered if there was a negative reaction to that storyline, given the public mood after the Nuremberg trials etc. And EBD's own attitude seemed to have changed from Exploits, when all Prussians were lumped together as bad guys.

Were there any other ongoing children's series which had the war years "live" (if that makes sense)? I know that Lorna Hill's Northern Lights was turned down by publishers because it covered the war years, but that wasn't until after the war. I'm fairly sure there weren't any other English language series which were set in Austria and therefore had authors in such a challenging position as EBD was in.

Author:  Joyce [ 21 Apr 2017, 10:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

I love Marie's idea of a small house - three sitting rooms and six bedrooms. Though I suppose she is coming down from living in a castle.

Alison H wrote:
I've never heard if she did or not, but I find it interesting that, after the storyline in Three Go about Verity and the German carols, nearly all the Austrian characters (I don't think there were any German girls at the school at the time) vanish. Natalie Mensch stays, but the Austrian girls in Mary-Lou's form are never heard of again.


The number of non-English girls in the England years decrease right down to the daughters of old girls - Simone, Marie, Wanda etc

I also think there is never another non-English head girl again even after they return to Switzerland.

Cheers,
Joyce

Author:  Mabel [ 21 Apr 2017, 11:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Alison H wrote:

Were there any other ongoing children's series which had the war years "live" (if that makes sense)?

It's not exactly ongoing, because it is about the adult Nancy, but the last in DFB's Nancy/St Bride's series is set in the war. It's much more gung-ho and anti-German than EBD though.

Author:  Loryat [ 21 Apr 2017, 13:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Audrey, the Godparent thing always baffled me too. Given that Joey has three Catholic best friends, it would have been the perfect opportunity to make them Godmothers without leaving anyone out!

Author:  Audrey25 [ 21 Apr 2017, 17:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Loryat wrote:
Audrey, the Godparent thing always baffled me too. Given that Joey has three Catholic best friends, it would have been the perfect opportunity to make them Godmothers without leaving anyone out!


Nobody could have condemned her for having Frieda, Simone and Marie. It is not as if Madge could have been included.

I didn't mind Miss Wilson and would have quite liked Robin but they could have come later.

I just don't understand Miss Stewart and especially Miss Nalder.

The only other solution I can think of is that because the Godfathers were all non-British, that she wanted all Brtiish Godmothers.

Author:  cestina [ 21 Apr 2017, 19:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Audrey25 wrote:

The only other solution I can think of is that because the Godfathers were all non-British, that she wanted all Brtiish Godmothers.

Is there any indication in the books anywhere that Jo would have made this sort of distinction between people? I can't think of any and the idea makes me very uncomfortable :(

Author:  Audrey25 [ 21 Apr 2017, 21:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

cestina wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:

The only other solution I can think of is that because the Godfathers were all non-British, that she wanted all Brtiish Godmothers.

Is there any indication in the books anywhere that Jo would have made this sort of distinction between people? I can't think of any and the idea makes me very uncomfortable :(


No, Cestina, Jo certainly would not. The "she" I was meaning was EBD.

It does make quite uncomfortabe reading but in looking for an explanation as to the strange choice of Godmothers and bearing in mind it was wartime, maybe EBD - or Chambers - decided that if there were going to be three Austrian Godparents, then the other three should be British, to balance it all out. Probably a stupid idea but only looking for possible reasons.

Author:  Alison H [ 21 Apr 2017, 22:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

It's particularly odd as Jo knew that Con Stewart was engaged to a man who worked in Singapore. No-one expected at this stage that Singapore would be taken by the Japanese, and Jo must have expected Con to settle there. You never know where people are going to end up, but it would have made more sense to pick someone whom she at least expected to be around.

Something which I don't think's mentioned until later, but which must have happened either during or after Exile, is that Gisela has a baby boy and names him after her father, and then he dies in infancy. She and Maria and Frau Marani didn't half go through it :cry: .

Author:  Noreen [ 21 Apr 2017, 22:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

I wonder whether the reason for not having Simone, Frieda and Marie as godmothers was because they may not have been around or available at the time? It's always struck me as odd, but that's about the only reason I can think of. Pretty silly, if so, as proxy godparents were (and are) perfectly acceptable, but one's clutching at straws here.

Alison H wrote:
Something which I don't think's mentioned until later, but which must have happened either during or after Exile, is that Gisela has a baby boy and names him after her father, and then he dies in infancy. She and Maria and Frau Marani didn't half go through it :cry: .
Don't they - I always thought that was tragic. He's born during Exile and in Highland Twins we're told that he died at three weeks old.

Author:  Audrey25 [ 22 Apr 2017, 00:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Noreen wrote:
I wonder whether the reason for not having Simone, Frieda and Marie as godmothers was because they may not have been around or available at the time? It's always struck me as odd, but that's about the only reason I can think of. Pretty silly, if so, as proxy godparents were (and are) perfectly acceptable, but one's clutching at straws here.

This would have been a good explanation but Robin stood in for Miss Nalder who was not available.

Simone was definitely there at the time of the Christening and I think Marie was too.

Alison H wrote:
Something which I don't think's mentioned until later, but which must have happened either during or after Exile, is that Gisela has a baby boy and names him after her father, and then he dies in infancy. She and Maria and Frau Marani didn't half go through it :cry: .
Don't they - I always thought that was tragic. He's born during Exile and in Highland Twins we're told that he died at three weeks old.


I'd forgotten about that. I real life it does go on and on for some people but EBD could have let something nice happen to them and let the baby live.

Author:  Audrey25 [ 22 Apr 2017, 00:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Sorry for spreeing but I messed up that last reply a bit. I replied to both Noreen and Alison.

Author:  Joyce [ 22 Apr 2017, 09:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Alison H wrote:
Something which I don't think's mentioned until later, but which must have happened either during or after Exile, is that Gisela has a baby boy and names him after her father, and then he dies in infancy. She and Maria and Frau Marani didn't half go through it :cry: .


Where was Gisela living then? Had she and Frau Marani left Austria at that stage?

Cheers,
Joyce

Author:  Fiona Mc [ 22 Apr 2017, 11:48 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

Joyce wrote:
Alison H wrote:
Something which I don't think's mentioned until later, but which must have happened either during or after Exile, is that Gisela has a baby boy and names him after her father, and then he dies in infancy. She and Maria and Frau Marani didn't half go through it :cry: .


Where was Gisela living then? Had she and Frau Marani left Austria at that stage?

Cheers,
Joyce


Gisela and Gottfried were in England as Gottfried was getting his qualifications to be able to practice medicine in England. It's also mentioned earlier in Exile that Gottfried was sending Gisela and the children out of the country before things got really bad. It would make sense that her Mother and sister join her.

Regarding Godparents, I can understand why Joey chooses Nell and Gottfried. Gottfried had worked with Jack at the San closely for a number of years and risked his life guiding both Jack and Joey (and others) on the trek to Switzerland and would have faced tougher penalties if caught. Nell also led the trek with them, that to me it makes sense that those two are asked to be Jack and Joey's eldest child's godparents. Once they are chosen, it would make it almost impossible to choose any of Joey's three friends as godparents as whichever two are chosen, the third would feel left out (no matter how tactfully your tried to do or say it). Joey is friendly or reasonably close to Con and Grace, and Grace Nalder, Nell Wilson and Con Stewart are a known trio, so it does make sense for the three to be together on that one. I know someone has suggested in the past that those three may have also helped Joey with her early days of conversion and understanding the RC church. Robin is still in her teens and Len Maynard is the only one ever asked as a teenager to be a godparent, in the whole series that EBD mentions.

Author:  brie [ 22 Apr 2017, 12:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Books: The Chalet School In Exile

This question used to always confuse me about the Godmother choices. I wonder though, Gottried is one of the Godfathers isn't he? Perhaps Joey and Jack had decided after everything that happened that they wanted Nell and Gottfried to be the Godparents. Then there was more than one baby and everything got rather more complicated. They might not want to change their minds about such an emotional and personal decision, and then felt like they couldn't ask two of Jo's three best friends to be the remaining Godparents?

ETA: Just read Fiona's post after posting this whoops. :roll:

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