Malory Towers revisited

And now, onto the very important matter of those new Malory Towers books. They are much more Blytonish than Pamela Cox’s contributions to the St Clare’s books, though still unBlytonish in some ways.

Partly the Blytonish stuff comes from using elements of previous stories (either St Clare’s or earlier Malory Towers books). For example, there is an American student who needs to be made more Englishy and wholesome. There are many practical jokes and midnight feasts. There is an incidence of a girl redeeming herself via saving another student from a burning building. (But of course!) There are family secrets and devious people and stressed-out sleepwalkers and possible thieves!

I am very fond of Felicity Rivers, it must be said, so I was delighted to see her adventures throughout the school (and being like Darrell in some ways, but unlike her in others). And June!

The last book does feature a very fanservicey and improbable reunion of all the old girls, but it is nevertheless quite fantastic. Minor spoiler alert: Darrell becomes a journalist and also has just sold her first children’s book in that final book. Come on, that’s pretty perfect.

(Bill and Clarissa continue to run their spinster horsey school and allegedly sleep in different bedrooms. Hmmph.)

So, yes… not the worst Blyton sequels ever, by a long shot. Definitely worth giving ’em a try, anyway.

(In other girls’ series news, have an article about the return of the BSC books in 2010. The books and the prequel have been up on Amazon for a while, but this is the first official thing I’ve seen about it.)

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

6 responses to “Malory Towers revisited

  • Margaret

    I got New Term at Malory Towers and Winter Term at Malory Towers yesterday. Easons didn’t have Summer Term at Malory Towers, but then I read the original series out of sequence anyway (I think Third Form at Malory Towers was the first I ever read), so I guess it’s apt that I should do the same with these.

    I like the fact that they are about Felicity’s class rather than Darrell’s, as most of her class, apart from Felicity herself and June, were pretty much just names, so I don’t spend the whole book thinking “but she wouldn’t say/do that.”

    *cracks up* All that “everybody has to become English” struck me as really offensive when I was seven or eight. Now it just seems funny. In the Chalet School books, Irish and American students used to be punished for having Irish/American accents or using Irish/American expressions. And one of the early books (which was set around the ’20s) had this Irish nationalist girl (which begs the question of what an Irish nationalist was doing at a British boarding school but however), who started going on about how all the English were tyrants and all the wrongs they’d done to Ireland and stuff. I think now the writer was mocking us, but as a child I was just impressed that she were aware enough of Irish history to write a character like that. She was also half-Spanish. Not sure if that was some kind of comment on de Valera or not. *grins*

    I see what you mean about aspects of Blyton books. It sounds like the new teacher in Winter Term is going to be a repeat of Miss Wilcox from Fifth Formers at St. Claire’s.

    Actually, the whole family secret thing in New Term at Malory Towers reminds me a little of the first Dimsie book, which isn’t Blyton, but is a British boarding school secret. It’s not really that similar though. Just the whole randomly coming across somebody who gives the clue to a family secret thing.

    I was wondering if Darrell would become an author in the last book, because I was figuring she should have completed uni at that point.

    I probably wouldn’t even have noticed that about Bill and Clarissa if you hadn’t mentioned it here.

    • clairehennessy

      I think it was definitely a smart move having them be about Felicity’s class rather than trying to insert canon in between various books… works much better. And even though the ongoing introduction of new characters felt a little odd, I had to remind myself that it’s actually a fairly typical Blyton technique, to have a bunch of new girls arrive every year or term regardless of how late in their schooling it is!

      I’d love to track down that Chalet School book, it sounds rather amusing. 🙂

      • Margaret

        It’s The Head Girl of the Chalet School. The exchange tends to get interrupted fairly quickly, probably because the writer came to the limits of her knowledge of Irish history!

  • Anastasia

    Good to meet another Blyton fan – do you want to contribute to the Enid Blyton Society forums –

  • On Malory Towers, fandom, fanfiction, et al. « Claire Hennessy

    […] cox” malory towers bill clarissa bedrooms (all in one). I have documented elsewhere the fact that Bill and Clarissa allegedly sleep in separate bedrooms in the sequels, where they are living together, horsey-spinster-style, so I presume it was a fruitful search for […]

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