Saturday, 12 November 2016

Book Review - Class: Welcome to the Little School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it! 

This week's back catalogue book review is Class by Jenny Colgan. This was originally published in 2008 under the name Jane Beaton, but reissued this summer. 

Amazon UK
Title: Class: Welcome to the Little School by the Sea
Author: Jenny Colgan
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 28th July 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Maggie went to the window and opened it wide, inhaling the lovely, ozoney air off the sea. Why had she never lived by the sea before? Why had she always looked out on housing estates and not the little white hulls of trawlers bobbing off in the distance?

It's gloriously sunny in Cornwall as the school year starts at the little boarding school by the sea. 
Maggie, the newest teacher at Downey House, is determined to make her mark - but will it be at the expense of her relationship with safe, dependable Stan?

Simone has won a scholarship and wants to make her parents proud. Forced to share a room with the glossy, pretty, clever girls of Downey House, she needs to find a friend, fast.

Fliss is furious at being sent away from her home. As Simone tries desperately to fit in, Fliss tries desperately to get out.

Over the course of one year, friendships will bloom and lives will be changed forever.

When I was a child I devoured every school story I could get my hands on, St Clare's, Mallory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, Sweet Valley (most of the series), Trebizon and almost certainly others. Fast forward perhaps 25 years, and I discover that Jenny Colgan one of my favourite authors has re-released her first two books in the Maggie Adair series. 

Clearly I had no choice but to not only buy the books, but start reading as soon as I could, and I am so glad that I had the time today to devour Class, the first book of this series. No before long I felt as at home with the book and the school Downey House, as I had all those years ago, and this really does live up to its billing as Mallory Towers for adults. 

Class is exactly what I would want from a modern, contemporary updated boarding school story, aimed at a marginally older audience. The focus is on predominately two of the children, and two of the teachers, but we get a great feel for the school as a whole in its magnificent Cornish setting, during the first year of a new intake. 

Maggie is an English teacher who originally was a teacher in Glasgow in a rundown comprehensive school. None of her family, nor boyfriend can understand why she wants to move to Cornwall and a completely different class of school, but she is determined. 

Veronica is the headmistress, who is far more interesting than it originally appears. She has been in charge of the school for many years and has finally succumbed to allowing the inspectors to come in, so its a fraught year as the inspectors don't exactly see eye to eye with the sort of school that is being run. 

Simone is a scholarship student who is quite different from the usual students at the school, she isn't well off, and doesn't look like a carbon copy of all the others. Her story is all about her trying to fit in and possibly make friends for the first time. 

Fliss on the other hand is also new to the school and she desperately doesn't want to be there. She is the typical troublemaking student, along with a new friend, and its interesting to see just what they can get away with. 

I feel as though I was transported back to my childhood as I absorbed myself in this book, in a school that has tricks, a Mam'selle, a boys school that is used for joint events, packing lists, mentions of tuck and plenty of hockey too. I think this book will really appeal to people of any age that recall these sorts of books from their childhood, while also bringing the school genre to a new audience. 

I can safely say I'm itching to start reading the second book of this series, as I really want to see how the girls and Maggie progress in their second year at the school. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...