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 Post subject: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 02:00 
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Hello and welcome to this week’s discussion thread, Two Sams at the Chalet School, the final Easter term book of the series. Samaris Davies and Samantha van der Byl, both new girls, form an unlikely friendship, and the school at large is intrigued by their similar-sounding names. Meanwhile, the Maynard family has grave concerns over the recovery of Phil from her polio. Notable events:

The book opens on the first day of term, with Samaris Davies, a new girl, standing at one side feeling awkward as the girls unload from the coaches and line up in their forms. Len brings up another new girl, Samantha van der Byl, and after the Head’s usual greeting takes them off to their Splasheries. She hands Samantha over to Val Gardiner in Inter V, and Samaris to Robina McQueen in Upper IVb.
Over the course of the evening and the next morning, the two Sams pass each other several times and share smiles and words of encouragement, having been drawn to each other despite the difference in ages and forms.
After the first morning walk, the school assembles for Prayers, and Miss Annersley makes several announcements. A new school, run by an acquaintance of hers, is opening down at Thun, and arrangements will be made for matches, gym tournaments and winter sports with them. She also informs the girls that Nina Rutherford, who is now of age and in control of her money, has established a music scholarship and also another annual prize of £20, to be spent by the winner on books about her specialist subject. The competition for the latter prize is to write an essay on My Life and what I Hope to do With It.
The girls go back to their form rooms, eagerly discussing the essay, and Miss Moore comes to the Inter V form room to take charge. As some of the girls head off to unpack, there is a loud crash and explosion outside, and everyone runs to the window to look as Gaudenz races off to the scene with the fire extinguisher.
Everyone is agog with curiosity, and even more so when Matey is summoned from unpacking to help with the casualties of what transpires to have been a car accident outside the school gates. Later in the morning, the school is summoned to Hall and Miss Annersley tells them that in one car was a young American, and that in the other was Nine Rutherford and her cousins Lady Rutherford, Alixe and Anthea. The American has suffered internal injuries and Nina’s cousins have only minor injuries, but Nina herself struck her head on a stone and it is feared she has fractured her skull.
To take the girls’ minds off the accident, Nancy Wilmot takes charge of another walk and mixes the Senior and Middle forms up, with the result that the two Sams are able to partner. Samaris, who had heard Nina performing in Innsbruck and admired her deeply, is very upset at the news of the accident, and Samantha tries to comfort her.
Over the next few days, news from the San comes regarding the victims. Nina is operated on but remains unconscious, while her cousins continue to improve. The young American man, on the other hand, has been operated on with no success and is lying between life and death.
The two Sams go to English tea with Joey, and the talk turns to Nina’s essay. Samantha says that she only wants to travel and get married, which she doubts is likely to win her the prize, while Samaris would like an outdoors career. Samantha proposes that her father take her on as an apprentice at his horse ranch in Kentucky, but before they can discuss it further Jo returns from taking a phone call with the news that Nina has recovered consciousness and will be all right again in time.
After a literature lesson one morning, Samaris finds herself under fire for her excellent reading of a poem from one Lysbet Alsen, who accuses her of being a marks hunter and making the mistresses expect a high standard of work from the whole form, who have a reputation for coasting along doing as little as they can get away with. Samaris retorts that she has every intention of working hard, and Miss Ferrars, who has come into the room unnoticed, says she is delighted to hear it, much to the horror of the form.
It transpires that the staff, especially Upper IVb’s form mistress Miss Stone, have complained so bitterly about their laziness and poor work that the Head has decided to swap Miss Stone and Miss Ferrars as their form mistress, as Miss Ferrars is very keen on games and she hopes that that will inspire the games-obsessed Upper IVb to work better for her.
Miss Ferrars tells the horrified form that although they will have their usual walks for exercise, they will be spending their games periods catching up on the subjects they have slacked at, with only the girls performing well going to ordinary games as usual.
After a long period of mist, the weather clears and skiing is ordained for the first time that term. Both Sams can ski and set off together to enjoy themselves. Upon reaching the run reserved only for experienced skiers, they spot Con, who is dreaming about a sonnet, and ask if they are allowed to try it. Con, not paying full attention, agrees that Samantha can try it but not Samaris.
Samantha climbs to the top, where Priscilla Dawbarn, Carmela Walther and Henriette Zendl are congregated, and they give her some tips about the run, although they are privately doubtful about Samantha’s abilities. When she sets off, they realise that she isn’t experienced enough for the run and Carmela and Henriette dash after her, but not before Samantha fudges a jump, crashes and knocks herself out.
Con, properly woken out of her daydream in her horror, dashes off to the Elisehütte to phone the San, and Samaris hurries to fetch Mlle de Lachenais. The girls are sent back to school, and eventually the news comes that Samantha has broken her collarbone and sprained an ankle.
The Head has Priscilla, Carmela and Henriette into the study and catechises them severely for letting Samantha try the run without first ascertaining that she had been given permission from a mistress. She tells them that from now on a mistress must be with them when supervising that run, and the other prefects are disgusted at having their ability to shoulder responsibility questioned. When Con hears that the other three are being blamed for the incident, she goes to the study to confess that she was the one who gave Samantha permission initially.
Len takes Upper IVb for prep, and there is a scuffle between two girls, Frederika and Brigit. Frederika had got hold of a loose map and was using it to cheat at her geography prep, and Brigit had caught her in the act. Neither girl refuses to speak when questioned, and it is only when Robina goes to retrieve a dropped pencil and finds the screwed up map on the floor that the mystery is solved and Frederika owns up.
Half-term arrives, and Inter V go to Lake Lucerne and Stans for their expedition. On their way up the Stanserhorn in the mountain train, the electricity fails, causing several girls to panic. After some time sitting stationary, the train slides backwards into the nearest station and the party gets out safely.
Jo goes to visit Nina at the San, and breaks the news to her that the young American, Mr Dwight, who had crashed into the Rutherfords’ car, died a week after the accident having never recovered consciousness. To take Nina’s mind off it, she asks if she can bring Samaris to meet her, and Nina agrees with delight.
Jo takes the two Sams to the San, and on the way, they discover that Samaris’s second name is Charlot which was her mother’s maiden name, and that one of Samantha’s aunts married a Mr Charlot.
At the San, Nina is delighted to meet the girls, and on hearing that Samaris loves music but can only play the mouth organ, having given up piano lessons in despair, suggests that she try a wind instrument instead. She proposes writing to a flautist friend and asking to borrow one of his flutes to start Samaris off, and she is delighted at the idea. Jo adds that Mr Denny played the flute when he was younger and could start her off on lessons.
Several musical girls throughout the school are miffed that the two Sams were the first to be chosen to visit Nina, but just as a quarrel is about to blow up in Upper IVb between Samaris and several others, they are distracted by a loud outcry from the Junior common room, where the latch on the door appears to have slipped.
Gaudenz is eventually forced to take the door off its hinges to get the girls out, and it transpires that two of the Juniors, Jean Allison and Amarilla van der Kock, had stuffed pencil dust and shavings into the lock to see what would happen. They are given a lecture by the Head, docked of their pocket money to pay for a new door, and the disgusted Juniors are told that from now on they will have two mistresses or prefects in charge of them, as the girls had played the prank while Miss Andrews was out of the room fetching a handkerchief.
Some of Inter V, led by Renata van Buren, continues to hold a grudge against Samantha for being the first to visit Nina. Samantha refuses to take things lying down and baits her enemies back, and soon a feud is ongoing in the form.
One day, while sent on an errand by Miss Wilmot, Samantha hears Minette, who has escaped outside, stuck half inside a ventilator and mewing for help. Breaking all sorts of rules, she climbs out of a window, climbs a tree and manages to free the cat, just as the branch she is sitting on gives way and pitches her into a snowdrift. Jo, coming over from Freudesheim, arrives just in time to see it and whisks both Samantha and Minette into the house, where it is soon established neither is the worse for the wear, although Samantha is well scolded for dashing out to the rescue instead of fetching someone in authority.
The night before the St Mildred’s pantomime, Samaris wakes up unexpectedly at three o’clock in the morning, and on looking out of her window spots a fire in the distance. Her shouts rouse the entire school, and it is soon confirmed that the fire is in a shed at St Mildred’s. The fire is soon put out with no danger to anyone or the main chalet, but the pantomime dresses are ruined, and after ascertaining that the main school is unable to supply enough to cover the ruined ones, Miss Wilson is forced to postpone the pantomime until the end of term.
The girls are disappointed at the postponing of the pantomime, but the incident does have the effect of ending Inter V’s feud, as the girls speculate on what the staff plan to do with them to make up for the disappointment. It transpires that they have cobbled together a St Patrick’s evening with Irish-themed songs, dances, food and gifts.
Jo comes to visit Miss Annersley and asks if Samaris can come to Freudesheim. The flute Nina had promised her has arrived and she wants to give it to her herself, and also Phil, whose recovery has stalled, wants to see her and Jo, who is very anxious about her, wants to do anything she can to help get her recovery going again. Miss Annersley comforts her, and agrees to send Samaris along that afternoon.
Matey escorts Samaris over to Freudesheim, and Jo hands over the flute and tells her to take it up to the playroom to try it out with the twins. Samaris obliges, and Phil is delighted to see her, and even more so when Samaris tries out the flute and produces nothing but screeches with it. She eats all her tea and even asks for seconds, and Jo is immensely relieved to see that she appears to have been shaken out of her setback.
Samantha receives a letter from her parents to say that they are coming to stay at Interlaken for a few days, and also that they believe her father may be a cousin of Samaris’s father. After some more enquiries are made, it is confirmed that they are second cousins, making the two Sams third cousins, and the two girls are thrilled.
While on their way to the San one day to visit Nina, the two Sams walk past the zig-zagging mountain road, which is no longer in use and is slippery from the recent thaw. Samaris longs to go down it a little way, but Samantha forbids it and they walk on to the San.
When they reach the San, they find that the Emburys have come up unexpectedly from Montreux to visit Nina, and so, not knowing what else to do, they go back to the mountain road and explore down it a little way. Samaris slips and skids down part of the way, dislodging a boulder which is only stopped from squashing her by catching on a jut of rock. She climbs up to a shelf out of the way while Samantha runs back to the San for help.
Samaris is rescued with nothing worse than some bruising at the bottom of her spine, but she is in a lot pain with it and is forced to miss the pantomime, which this year is Dick Whittington. Samantha is allowed to go, but is catechised by Miss Annersley for not stopping Samaris exploring down the path.
The book ends with the story of the two Sams’ great-grandmothers, who were twins also called Samantha and Samaris. Samaris had eloped with an Englishman her parents had disapproved of and cut off all contact with the family.

So, thoughts on this book? What do you think of the two Sams and their friendship? What about their long lost cousins connection? Thoughts on the accident involving the Rutherfords and Mr Dwight? What about Samaris’s connection with Phil Maynard, and the latter’s setback in her recovery from polio? Samantha’s accident and the aftermath?


Overall, I like the two Sams and their odd attraction to each other, but the whole long-lost relative stuff is eye-rolling. We’ve had the Richardsons, Mélanie Lucas, Adrienne, Erica and now the two Sams all discovering long lost connections to the Chalet clan, all in just the latter half of the Swiss books!

I like Samaris and her ‘screw you I’ll work whether you like it or not’ attitude to Upper IVb’s sneers and her connection with Phil, and as an ex-flautist I’m delighted to see the flute getting some love instead of another cello storyline. Her determination to explore that path at the end just seemed really unnecessary – would a girl of thirteen or fourteen really be so idiotic?

I quite like Samantha too, although sometimes she reads more like she’s the same age as Samaris instead of two years older, such as in said silly path incident at the end. There’s a bit of a Corney/Evadne vibe about her; a generous, kindly, easy-going wealthy American girl. I’m also highly impressed by her ability to ski to the San to visit Nina just a couple of weeks after breaking her collarbone and spraining her ankle!

Jo comes across as much more human in this book than she has done for a while with her worry over Phil – her comment about her being in God’s hands not really being a comfort at the moment is pretty striking considering that’s usually the sort of thing she says to other people when in the throes of a crisis. Poor old Marie-Claire the one book wonder, though; there’s absolutely no mention of her being part of the Freudesheim nursery here. Maybe the de Mabillons decided to claim her after all.

And forget about doctors, by this point in the series all Gaudenz is missing is a Spandex suit and a cape! How many times has he strode in to the rescue now? He’s the real hero of Chalet-land!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 03:48 
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I agree that this is the book where the old Jo comes back and she is much nicer as a result. Her reaction to Phil's illness is very true-to-life and I am glad EBD had her react in this way.

It is easy in times of great difficulty for an onlooker to tell someone how to behave. In truth though we have to be the person doing the experiencing to know what something is really like. Jo found it a different kettle of fish and not so easy when it was her own little girl who was so ill.

I love the scene where Jo is in the study with Hilda and Hilda is encouraging Jo to eat. I also love Gaudenz!

Regarding the Rutherfords had they not suffered enough misfortune? As the name Rutherford is in EBD's own family I always wondered if the CS Rutherfords are a "poshed-up" version of her own family?

A good book on the whole for the end of the series and thank you again!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 06:08 
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I agree that this is one of the better of the last run of books.

Joey does come across as less of a caricature in this book. I particularly like her focus on Phil, and Miss Annersley telling her she can't demand visits from students at random times, even if Phil wants it. It's also the only time we've really seen Joey with a child who is seriously ill. We're told Margot was frail as a child and spoiled, but we don't actually see those scenes and we mostly see her being completely healthy. And the other kids were quite healthy, with normal childhood illnesses.

The flute stuff is funny, and Samaris and Samantha are decent characters. Samantha's difficulties settling into school are realistic and not over-blown, and Samaris's insistence on wanting to work and do well in spite of form pressure to slack is good. The jealousy over the visit with Nina is something I could see happening, and a nice variation on a series of jealousy plotlines.

The skiing incident is infuriating, however. It doesn't sound like the girls were told the rules for needing tests for particular runs, Con gives Samantha permission, and the other prefects give her tips, but she's blamed for doing the run without permission. And then the prefects are dressed down and told they will make bad mothers :roll: for not figuring out the sequence of misunderstandings. It sounds like the school needs a better system for managing and supervising winter sporting, rather than letting a couple hundred girls explode across the landscape with the prefects expected to keep everything running smoothly.

Also kind of distasteful is the conversation where Joey basically explains that as Mr Dwight was alone in the world and had just lost his mother, he was better off dead.

Samantha climbing out the window in the middle of the night to rescue Minette is a retread of a similar incident in Feud.

Is it just me, or do the long-lost relative plotlines keep getting more convoluted? First we have Nina happening to run into the Embury's on a boat in Switzerland and it turns out they are related. Then the Richardsons turn out to be cousins of the Rosomons, which they find out via their father's unusual name, and a story involving a domineering mother and an elopement/estrangement. Then Melanie is a niece of Jeanne le Cadoulec, discovered because their eyes and gestures are the same, and the story involves the destruction of the family estate and Jeanne's death by drowning during the war. Then Adrienne is a long-lost cousin of sorts to Robin, which is determined by Mary-Lou who notices a resemblance, in spite of the fact that they are related via their fathers but Robin resembles her mother. This story has two estrangements, one due to family feuding and one due to an elopements, with a change of name in the first one. And here we've got two girls of very different nationalities and appearances, whose name starts with the same syllable, and who turn out to be related via twin great-grandmothers, with an elopement and estrangement, and various international moves.

I'm pretty sure that if the series had continued, there'd have been a plot where the two girls were related because one parent had been stolen away from their real family at birth.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 08:51 
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I like both Samantha and Samaris, but, as everyone else has said, the long lost relation plot is just beyond silly. We've already had a load of long lost relation plots, and why on earth would you think two people might be related because they had similar first names?! If they had the same unusual surname, maybe, but not first names!

I'm not comfortable with a lot of things in this book, though - Joey saying that Sophie was known as "Fatty", which Madge would never have allowed, Hilda telling the prefects that they'd make bad mothers for not supervising ski-ing properly, and, whilst I appreciate that they were trying to make the Rutherfords feel better, the comment about how the young man in the car crash wouldn't have wanted to live anyway because his mother had just died.

I do like the fact that one of the Juniors escaped being locked in the classroom because she'd gone to be excused. Finally, someone at the Chalet School needs to use the toilet :lol: :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 15:37 
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I find this one rather dull. There's so much recycling of past plot elements -- long-lost relatives, a music-loving girl, a winter sports accident, Minette in trouble. It's frustrating to see Con revert to dreaminess when events in "Theodora" and "Triplets" are supposed to have jolted her a bit. The fuss made about Samantha and Samaris having similar names is silly -- Mary Shaw and Mary Shand had practically identical names and both came from America, yet no one asks if they might be related.

I wish there had been an incident that brought the Sams together and kindled their friendship rather than some vague sense of liking each other that may or may not be predetermined by their kinship.

I find Samantha a bit bland, but there's good stuff in Samaris -- sensible, stands up for herself, firm in her beliefs. I can see her as head girl one day.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 16:29 
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I like this one. For one thing, it's got more proper school stuff than we've seen in a while - lessons, prep and so on.

And I do like the two Sams. They bring some much needed fresh blood to the series, coming in with no previous connection to any of the school families (other than the tenuous one with Sophie Hamel).

I like the way both of them stand up to their respective forms. I agree that Samaris is being set up as a potential future Head Girl. Her form mates are all new characters, but I think the form as a whole works better than Erica's crowd in Summer Term, and Samaris is a much better and stronger character than Erica.

I like the way Samaris is quite matter of fact about her family not being wealthy, and says that they can only afford some things because she's an only child.

Samantha I could see providing alternative leadership to Jack Lambert in her form. I don't think she'd let herself be drawn into an open feud with Jack, but she wouldn't let Jack walk all over her, either.

It struck me, actually, while re-reading for this discussion, that Jack has been quite low-key in the last few books, and I wondered whether EBD was having second thoughts about her.

And where was Copper Ansell? She should have been in this form, shouldn't she? If she and Samantha teamed up, they'd make a strong pairing.

I'd never heard the name Samaris outside this book, but I've just done a search on one of the big family history sites and there are a few. So it's a real name that EBD presumably came across somewhere.

Samaris says she's Welsh, but other than her name being Davies, there doesn't seem to be anything Welsh about her family history.

On a side note, I first read this in the original hardback, and the cover of that shows Samantha as dark, so I always think of her as dark and Samaris as fair. It comes as a surprise every time I read the book to find that it's the other way round.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 18:19 
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I really enjoyed this one and it's definitely my favourite of the later Swiss books. :D I like both of the Sams - Samaris is a great character and seems very *real* and Samantha, though not as interesting, is still very nice. When Samantha states that she just wants to get married after finishing school Samaris is very shocked - how things change over the course of the series!

But yes, the long lost relative storyline is ridiculous :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 01:02 
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jennifer wrote:
The skiing incident is infuriating, however. ... then the prefects are dressed down and told they will make bad mothers :roll: for not figuring out the sequence of misunderstandings.


I agree. The school now has well over 400 girls and they need better supervision procedures rather than the ad hoc "I'll look after this new girl, you look after that one etc" which seems to be the case.

Why aren't the girls gathered together before they go out and reminded of the rules? Why don't the mistresses gather the new girls separately and have a proper procedure to do the test no matter how good the girl says they can ski? Just assuming a new girl knows the rules is downright unfair.

Miss Annersley then institutes this rule, which actually should have been the case all along:

Quote:
... In future, anyone wishing to try the run may only do so when a mistress who is qualified to judge a girl's ability to use it is with you. And this must apply to all the prefects.


As for what Miss Annersley says to the prefects - it was just wrong. Firstly, to put so much responsibility on them in the first place and secondly, what about the mistresses? Did she give them a lecture about proper supervision as well?

Quote:
Also kind of distasteful is the conversation where Joey basically explains that as Mr Dwight was alone in the world and had just lost his mother, he was better off dead.


I know Joey was just trying to comfort Nina by telling her that, but it does sound callous.

Fair enough, the guy was distraught about his mother's death. But he could have pulled himself together and gone on to have a fulfilling life. For her to say point blank he's better off dead makes it sound so final.

I like the Sams as characters as they are definitely stronger than other new girls of the same era. But I seriously don't care about the finding out they are cousins because the friendship is lovely and established without it.

If it was the only long lost relative storyline, then it would be far more interesting. But by Two Sams time, it's been done to death.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 03:03 
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That's actually one area that EBD remained quite progressive on, up until the end of the series. The girls are generally thinking of having careers, and there's a wide variety of jobs they are considering - the standards of secretary, nurse, teacher and stewardess, but also writer, doctor, chef, actor, working with animals, archaeology, textile design, journalist, librarian, accountant, engineer... My mom would be about the same age as the triplets, and when she finished high school it was still very much the nurse/secretary/teacher/wife choice (and, as she did not attend an isolated girls' only boarding school, getting married a year or two out of high school to your high school sweetheart was not particularly remarkable).

I see Samantha as someone who would be good at backing up a leader character (someone like Copper), but not necessarily a strong leader herself. Samaris has potential for that, particularly given that she's in a bit of a dud form.

One thing that hasn't been discussed - the Pertwees. Sending them back to the CS seems a bit odd. They attended for two terms, then left due to their mother's illness. They spent four years attending public school in the US, and are now shipped across the Atlantic to attend a tri-lingual boarding school in Switzerland. Ronnie, in particular, arrives at the school one year from public exams, from a completely different curriculum, so she'd be well behind her peers. I'm not sure how a school can be a legal guardian to children in the first place, and why Yseult, who is now a responsible married adult, wouldn't be their logical guardian.

Re skiing - with 400+ girls, and a batch of new girls who had never been skiing before every winter, they should have separated out the novices and had actual lessons in skiing, rather than just hoping a prefect would grab them and help. And possibly a designated beginner's area, sledding area and skiing area, with people assigned to oversee each. Or even splitting them up into groups so there are fewer people to watch at once. Not to mention giving the prefects an occasional junior-free skiing session so they can actually ski instead of supervising. The school actually does have official tests and rules for swimming, so why not skiing?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2018, 18:52 
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Not a favourite, but it was very near the end of the series. Pluses:

- Samaris is lovely. I can identify with her being a hard worker in a class full of slackers who make fun of her for it, and her enthusiasm is so sweet, as is the scene where Samaris makes the kids laugh by playing the flute badly. Samantha is quite a likeable character too. She's not drippy or a genius or eccentric or whatever, just an ordinary teenage girl.
- It's a welcome change to see a more vulnerable side of Joey with Phil's illness. She tries to put on a cheerful front, but Miss Annersley knows she's worried.
- At least we didn't get a pantomime description. I'm reading Triplets at the moment and the whole thing makes me cringe, though I like the idea of Clem dressed up as an evil fairy. I was never a big fan of panto anyway, to be fair.
- Joey appreciating that Samantha is nervous around big dogs (I know Bruno is seen as badly trained, but this book also points out that he is trained to be careful around Phil). I'm not as frightened of them as I used to be, but I admit I'd be very freaked out if a great big St Bernard jumped on me!

Minuses:
- The incident where both girls hurt themselves near the end seems a bit tacked on. Like EBD was thinking 'must have obligatory incident'.
- Miss Annersley is a bit harsh towards the prefects. I get they shouldn't have let Samantha use that slope, but implying they're going to be bad mothers because of Samantha's accident? Come on now. And even if Con is a space cadet, I think Miss Annersley overdoes it with her. Good point about how the mistresses should have been supervising. The prefects get far too much dumped on them sometimes, even if prefects did have a lot of responsibility then (my mum was a Head Girl in the 60s!)
- I didn't like how nasty the other girls were to Sam and Sam over getting to see Nina.
- Did they have to be related? Why did EBD have to throw that in? It would be OK if it was a one-off, but this is after Winnie and Nina, Jeanne and Mélanie AND Robin and Adrienne. They could have been BFFs without the cousins plot.

I've not read Genius yet, but I know about Nina by osmosis. It's on my to-read list.

ETA: and Sophie Hamel was never called 'Fatty'!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 09:23 
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Being told to stand on your own two feet
Being told to stand on your own two feet
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The young American, Mr Dwight, would have been upset at the death of his mother but sadly that is part of life.Saying he was better off dead is a very misjudged comment by Joey, he had a life to live and I'm sure that his mother would have wished him to live it.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 10:49 
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Winning the dolls' house
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I am sure most mothers would want the lives of their children to go on no matter what happened to the mother. Joey should have known this unless she said it to comfort the girls (not sure of exact context) but that was not the chalet style.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 12:30 
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Being told to stand on your own two feet
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One presumes that she was trying to comfort the girls because he died in the crash, and it is understandable that she would want to.Its the way she put it that jars a bit ,after all the death of a parent happens to everyone and people grieve and move on, he would surely have done the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 13:43 
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Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
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Jo was breaking the news of Mr Dwight's death to Nina. She had to be told, but they didn't want her to be distressed and possibly set back her recovery. I think Jo said whatever she thought necessary to minimise the distress to Nina at that time. I think she'd have handled it differently if it had been Mary Lou, for example, in Nina's place.

I'd expect that when Nina is stronger, and has had time to think it over, they might talk about it more.

If young Mr Dwight and his mother really were 'all in all' to each other, to the extent that he really did have nothing else to live for, it suggests a rather unhealthy relationship, and I should think Nina, with her own experience of bereavement, would come to realise that. But this wasn't the time to go into it, when Nina herself was still so fragile.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2018, 23:39 
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Indulging in a midnight feast
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I think Nina of all people would understand what it was like to be all in all with a parent and then to have them die. I think she would understand better than most what It was like and how Mr Dwight felt. So hopefully would bring her own understanding to the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Mar 2018, 17:53 
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Escorting the new girls to Freudesheim
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I think that this is the best of the last books.

Samantha may not have any great ambitions, but she is, for the most part, a friendly, pleasant girl, but one with enough character to stick up for herself, especially when the others in Inter V are angry that Sam has been taken to see Nina.

Samaris already has character, and will develop more as he grows older. For one thing, she already knows that she will have to have a career and be self-supporting when she is an adult, and she will not be put off doing her work to please her form-mates.

I was as bored a everyone else with the 'news' that the two Sams were related, but how else to explain the attraction between them?

As for the way Miss Annersley treats the prefects after the skiing accident, it was just not on. She really ought to have known that the prefects should not have been placed in such a supervisory position. A qualified teacher ought to have been there, if the run was as dangerous as supposed.

At last Jo knows what it's like to have a child who is really ill. This is not just swanning into the San to bring about a miraculous recovery.

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
'Life,' said Marvin, 'don't talk to me about life!'


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 24 Mar 2018, 00:01 
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Lamenting the amount of work
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This was always one of my favourite books, and I took it out of the library many times; ironically it was one of the last I got my hands on for my own collection.

I do see why people are bored/ unconvinced by the fact that the two Sams are related, but I rather think that this repeating plot device in the later books probably reflects EMBD's own feelings. By the last decade of her life I seem to remember that she had few living relatives left, certainly that she would have known, and it may well have seemed to her the most pleasant surprise that she could give her characters - that they were not as 'alone in the world' as they had thought, and that the new relatives were people that they liked.

I can add an instance from my own experience, as it happens: in my Upper VIth year at school I became friends with a boy who had arrived to do A levels the previous year, and whose form room was opposite my own that year - platonic stuff only, I hasten to add, but we were definitely drawn to each other, and he's one of the few people from school that I've stayed in touch with all this time, despite his globe-trotting habits. A few years ago, he commented to me that his mother thought we might be related, and she was right - we have a set of Great-Great Grandparents in common. OK, that's even more distant than the Sams, but we do have fun calling each other 'Cousin' after all these years.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Two Sams at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Mar 2018, 20:26 
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Winning the dolls' house
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My sister's husband was a distant cousin but we did know about it from nearly the beginning and not anything special as we all lived in the same town. It did used to freak them out a bit and they didn't like talking about it but not a close relationship.


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