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 Post subject: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2018, 17:04 
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I've finally reached Prefects in my read through which is not something I have achieved before! I have to say that I have noticed a marked difference in style between Prefects and the rest of the series and I know that many CS fans believe that Phyllis Matthewman may have had a hand in writing the book. I can also see hints of this in Althea with some of the language used and scenes being very un-EBD (surely EBD would not have one of the girls swear, nor have it go unpunished!).

What are everyone's thoughts on Phyllis Matthewman and her help (or 'help') in the final 2 books? Also, why would the final term for the triplets be split into 2 books?


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2018, 18:24 
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I agree that Althea and Prefects don't seem to be quite EBD in style. Some of the characters, notably Hilda, seem 'off'.

Pure speculation, but my theory is that EBD did an outline or first draft, but wasn't able to finish the book(s) so PM did it for her, whether that was providing a final edit/polish or a greater contribution.

I also think it was probably originally intended to be one book, but EBD was struggling and the publishers were waiting, so the decision was made to take what she had and publish it as Althea, with the second part to follow. It was probably clear that there would be no more, so the publishers did what it took to finish the series.

I don't particularly like Althea or Prefects, but overall I'm glad they were published. The triplets leaving school makes a suitable ending point for the series; it would have felt annoyingly incomplete if it had ended with just one term to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2018, 19:58 
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I agree that Althea and Prefects seem different from the rest of the series but to me they seem unrevised rather than anything else.

There's a lot of repetition in these books which feels like an author experimenting with different ways of handling or resolving a situation. Normally, one would expect the author to make a decision as to which of these would be used and the rest to be cut but this has not happened. This goes partly towards accounting for why Althea/prefects are two books instead of one - there's enough material but it's all padding.

It should be noted that the repetition does creep into earlier books (notably Feud), it isn't a sudden appearance although it is more marked at this point. Equally, there are earlier signs of books not being revised properly (the increasing number of dead-ends where a subplot appears to be missing, for instance - which also occurs in Prefects).

Books which have not been revised by the author often do feel marked different in style - you just have to look at authors' unpublished and working material (Coots In The North is a good example). It doesn't need someone else's hand


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2018, 20:13 
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The final term could've been split purely to drag it out and get an extra book, for commercial reasons. Or, as Victoria said, just because of lack of editing.

There is a definite sense of rushing to a close. The triplets have to stay on at school an extra year, so they can be there for the finale. Len is rushed into an engagement. Madge, Jem and Mary-Lou all turn up at the Platz, for no obvious reason, as if all the main characters are making their final curtain call. That could just have been EBD wanting to finish things because her health was failing, but there are differences in language. And everyone seems fed up! Joey doesn't want to be landed with Althea. Fair enough, but it doesn't fit with the rest of the Swiss books. And doesn't one of the teachers (Miss Stone?) moan about having to collect girls from the station. Hilda tells the prefects they'll all make bad mothers :roll:. Having said which, some of Summer Term is very weird as well.

I think the last two books did have to be published, as JayB said, because the triplets leaving was a good cutting-off point, but it feels as if EBD had had enough, probably because of health issues.

Has anyone read any of Phyllis Matthewman's own books? Is there anything about them that's reminiscent of these books?

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2018, 03:20 
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I am positive that EBD did not write the published Prefects. She very possibly wrote the outline of the story but the style of writing was different.

At one point something similar to "Miss Annersley glaring at Nancy" was written. This does not sound like EBD.

What clinched it for me though was that Joey was on a trip to "Vevey". Vevey and not Montreux? Definitely not EBD.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2018, 16:51 
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IIRC, the girls don't drink any milk in Prefects, and that alone makes me think EBD didn't write it. A Chalet School without milk is like a pub without beer.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2018, 21:13 
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Audrey25 wrote:
What clinched it for me though was that Joey was on a trip to "Vevey". Vevey and not Montreux? Definitely not EBD.


That's exactly the kind of error EBD does make.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 03:53 
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Victoria wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
What clinched it for me though was that Joey was on a trip to "Vevey". Vevey and not Montreux? Definitely not EBD.


That's exactly the kind of error EBD does make.


Really? This particular error? In what other books then as she said Vevey and not Montreux?


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 06:03 
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She's definitely bored and going through the motions with Althea and Prefects and I would not be surprised if someone else wrote them.

I would say from Jane to Two Sams the plots simply get more insane and fantastical with drug gangs and the school being a lost and found for long lost relatives, but then she decides in Althea to simply give up the ghost.

The new girl comes to school, upsets another girl and then they reconcile (or don't) plot has obviously been done before (Barbara, Theodora, Ruey, Richenda) but to much greater effect and readability. I simply don't care about Althea and when you have no interest in ostensibly the main character, then the book is dead on the water.

Prefects is so bad, I chucked it across the room the first time I read it. It definitely has an air of "let's get this over with." I think EBD always had in mind the final book being the Maynard triplets leaving and Len's engagement because it was hinted at so many times.

But it is done in such way to make the reader feel the author is pushing hard for a 'happy ending' and she is deliberately contriving situations to force it to happen.

Who under the sun, because the girl they like is relieved he is not dead, automatically assumes they are now engaged?

As a reader who has followed Len since she was born, I want her to be happy. But I feel the author is insisting I be happy for her, when the entire engagement is very questionable.

EBD doesn't do that with any other of her romances, which makes me feel someone else did write it. They forced the Mills and Boon happy ending without stopping to consider Len's age or circumstances.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 16:07 
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Victoria wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
What clinched it for me though was that Joey was on a trip to "Vevey". Vevey and not Montreux? Definitely not EBD.


That's exactly the kind of error EBD does make.


What was the context of this - can't remember. Is it same trip with 2 different locations?


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 16:28 
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Joey usually went to Montreux, to visit Winnie Embury, but, in this book, she went to Vevey.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 18:46 
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Well given that the two are 7km apart and there is a beautiful boat trip between them,maybe Jo and Winnie decided to have a bit of quality time together...

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 21:10 
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The author does not state that Joey is going to Vevey to see Winifred Embury. She simply states Joey is going to Vevey in the way it is normally stated that Joey goes to Montreux.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 21:47 
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Maybe she just fancied a day out somewhere different :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 21:51 
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Perhaps she'd been re-reading Good Wives...


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 01:25 
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Of course Joey only wanted a change of scenery and of course EBD wrote every word of Prefects. Only offering what I thought was quite a valid comment and actually still think I am right, so there!


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 08:57 
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I don't think that the way Len and Reg get together is very EBD. Reg falls in the river, has to be fished out by Jem - the middle-aged uncle of the girl he's after - and is then put to bed to recover. Can you imagine that happening to Jem, or Jack, or even someone like Phil Graves or Eugen Courvoisier? It seems like a comedian's take-off of the whole heroic doctor-SLOC thing. Surely Reg should have been the rescuer, not the rescuee! It just feels all wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2018, 20:55 
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One thing that always grated on me, over the last couple of books, is that Len is dscribed as speaking 'suavely' to people. At least twice, maybe three times, this happens. I always thught, it doesn't seem to match with Len's character as a whole.

Len doesn't seem to be in any way debonair or sophisicated, which are other meanings for suave. In particular, it's normally used to describe men!

Just, to me, it seems an out-of-place word. I know one word doesn't lead to a lot, but I can't quite see it, somehow. I might have said Margot would suit it better.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 01:33 
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The events surrounding the Len and Reg romance seem off to me in Prefects. I mean, the whole thing made me cringe, but in a different way. Miss Annersley commenting (about whether to tell Len about Reg being missing).

Quote:
I'm not so sure that after all it mightn't be as well for Len to be faced with anxiety of this kind. She's eighteen, nearly nineteen, and it's time she grew up. I wouldn't give her a shock like this if it could be avoided, but can it?"

At which point she rang off and when an infuriated Jo tried to get her again the School telephone was in use elsewhere.


Which seems totally unlike her. Len's always been regarded as mature and responsible, for one thing. For another - we're talking about a student at a sheltered girls-only boarding school where they are not allowed to 'talk about boys', who has never been on a date and rarely interacted with boys who are not related to her, who is being pursued by a late-twenties man. Pushing her to accept his suit is way out of character for the series, let alone Miss Annersley.

Then there's Joey's cry of

Quote:
You're not going on playing fast and loose with that poor boy."


When Len comments that she wants to do her degree before marriage, followed by (from Len)

Quote:
Len said. "If nothing else will satisfy him, I'll be engaged.


Again, very non-EBD, where the girl is always eager for the engagement and marriage, if a bit shy, even if she's finishing her degree, or they need to wait.

and finally,

Quote:
Reg looked after her and sighed. "I wish she'd grow up," he said to himself. "It's all very well being matey, but I want more than that. A heck of a lot more than that." However, it was no use wishing. He could only wait and, as far as possible, see to it that no one else took his place, and it wasn't going to be easy once Len had gone to Oxford.


I mean, he's moping after her at a school function, which is not usually considered a place for adult men to pursue girls. And, I think it's basically the only time in the series where we get a direct quote of what the *man* is thinking. It's something you might get in a romance novel, but is very much non-EBD, where at most you would get a brief mention of his interest and patience.

So in the EBD version of it, assuming the series was continuing, you might have Reg clear about his interest, but waiting patiently, and an engagement during a vacation from university. Or, to tidy things up, having him rescue Len, and her falling into his arms, realizing how much she cares.

In general, though, EBD goes straight from interest to engaged - we don't really see any of the women actually interacting with the man after they've mutually established romantic interest, but before getting engaged. So Len realizing and admitting how she feels would have to be followed by an engagement, however awkward.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 01:34 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Victoria wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
What clinched it for me though was that Joey was on a trip to "Vevey". Vevey and not Montreux? Definitely not EBD.


That's exactly the kind of error EBD does make.


Really? This particular error? In what other books then as she said Vevey and not Montreux?


I mean that this is a type pf error to which EBD is prone. For example, in one book she uses "Cicero" instead of "Plato". The lily ponds visited in Carola are at Bosherton but are referred to as "Bosham" elsewhere. She isn't even consistent about the names of her main characters.
Using Vevey instead of Montreux is in the same style - consistent with EBD's.


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