July 2021 - dedicated to Skipper and Holly with all my love...
  books monthly
Nine new Girls Gone By titles in June and July...


June and July are busy months for Girls Gone By Publishers, who are putting out no less than nine new titles! Read about them below; I'll review them as and when they reach me - I can't wait! Editor's note: three of the new titles have so far been received; they all appear below, complete with my notes of appreciation...

Jane Shaw: Crooked Sixpence

Published July 2021

Crooked Sixpence is actually the sixth and last title of the Penny series, but we are publishing it first because it is so rare. If you have not read any of the Penny series before, that will not spoil your enjoyment of this book.

After a jaunt to Austria, the Carters and Mallorys are back in Friars Combe,  near Bath, where there are many mysterious things going on. Why was old Mr Gauntlett, who had always been so well-beloved, suddenly inundated by a spate of anonymous letters, presumably from his villagers, bidding him pack up and be gone? And what was the mystery of the Villain Field? Did it … ? Was it …? Penny’s hobby of coin collecting was largely responsible for answering both these questions.Ian Evans, son of Jane Shaw, has written our introduction, and we shall also be including a short story, ‘Crooks Limited’. Illustrated by Gilbert Dunlap, the book includes a colour frontispiece, which we shall reproduce on our back cover. Crooked Sixpence will be published in July.

I've been waiting for this title to arrive, and it came in the post on Friday last - for me, this is one of the very finest GGBP books, courtesy of a stunning cover by the great Gilbert Dunlop - incidentally, huge thanks to Clarissa Cridland (GGBP) for her information about Gilbert - his brilliant illustrations first caught my eye in the Barney mysteries by Enid Blyton back in the 1950s, and it was because of him that I fell in love with Diana, one of the main Barney Mysteries characters! As for the story - well, it's a combination of Famous Five and Rex Millington's Busy Term (Anthony Buckeridge) as Penny and her chums race to discredit the unscrupulous people trying to buy Mr Gauntlett's land and home. Full of thrills like ghostly boys dressed in Tudor attire etc., etc., and a rag-tag collection of orphans treated to a brilliant summer holiday by Stephen - it's a typical 1950s children's adventure - I had never heard of this series until GGBP announced their intention of publishing Crooked Sixpence - now I want to read the rest of them, and I'm hopeful that GGBP will publish them all in the fullness of time. Absolutely superb!

Lisa Townsend: The Chalet School Returns to the Alps

Published June 2021

As the Chalet School opens for its first term in Switzerland, Barbara Chester is not the only newcomer for Upper IVB. There’s the form’s other new girl, day girl Sue Meadows, and the school is also welcoming a new form-mistress in the shape of Old Chaletian (and former ‘Saint’) Nancy Wilmot. Nancy is thrilled to join the Chalet School as its new maths mistress. She is warmly welcomed and delighted to meet up again with her old friend Hilary on the Platz.  Everything looks rosy, so she’s puzzled when she finds herself feeling like something of an outsider. Very last thing she ever expected to feel at the Chalet School is that she doesn’t fit in—but life in the Staff Room isn’t always as easy as she’d imagined it would be.   Teaching and helping sort out the problems of girls in her form is the simple part—it’s feeling she belongs that is more difficult.  It takes her a little time (and some wise words from Miss Annersley), to find her true place in the school. Sue, meanwhile, is accustomed to living life on the outside.  Solitary by nature, she’s been more than content in the past to go her own quiet way, happy in the companionship of her mother and father.  When her parents must travel abroad and her aunt asks that Sue accompany them to the Alps to be a companion to her cousin, Leila, Sue is excited by the prospect of going to the Chalet School but a little dismayed by the thought of having to spend all her time with other people.  Leila is very ill – she is also demanding, sulky and at times an absolute horror. Sue has to draw on deep wells of patience and understanding to cope with life in the Elisehütte, the chalet her aunt has rented.  Her first term at the Chalet School brings its own share of challenges, too. There’s a bully in her form, and Sue also finds herself fielding questions from some of the more inquisitive members of the form about her home situation—questions she is not inclined to answer.   Sharing a room with the triplets brings a rare moment of pleasure and offers a glimpse of what might lie ahead if only Aunt Adela can be persuaded to let Sue board at times.  Luckily there are people at the school concerned for her welfare. It takes the combined ingenuity of Nancy Wilmot and a sympathetic Jo Maynard, as well as an unexpected snowstorm, to see that Sue has opportunities for some proper school fun, even while helping look after her cousin. By the end of the term, both Sue and Nancy have faced their own problems and look forward to a happier future in the Chalet School in the Alps.The action of this book takes place during the term covered in  The Chalet School and Barbara.

Lisa Townsend is one of the authors carrying on writing Chalet School stories who, for me, gets closest to EBD. The characterisation is superlative, the plot and supplementary storylines are pure EBD, and you could be forgiven for believing this to have been written by EBD. There's little more to be said except that for me, the cover picture is marred by the apparent distortion of the principle figure. This is the first time I have ever criticised a GGBP book - apart from the cover picture, it is superlative.

Lisa Townsend: A Difficult Term for the Chalet School

Published June 2021

A Difficult Term for the Chalet School was first published by GGBP in 2011, and we are delighted to be re-reprinting it now. It will have a brand new cover, since its first one was not one of our more successful ones!Lisa has written a short story for this new edition – ‘The Girl Who Cried Wolf’. A Difficult Term for the Chalet School is set between Three Go to the Chalet School and The Chalet School and the Island. When 15 year old Annis Lovell is sent to the Chalet School by her Aunt Margaret, she is furious and vows to get expelled as soon as possible. As a result, she finds herself in hot water with the other girls, the prefects and the staff throughout the term. Can she ever become reconciled to life at the School? Confined to quarters by the bitterly cold weather, with half term cancelled because of sickness – something has gone wrong with the drains – and even the annual Sale of Work under threat, girls and staff alike struggle with the challenges which beset them.The last term at Plas Howell is a most difficult term for the Chalet School. A Difficult Term for the Chalet School will be published in June.

Lisa Townsend's second book this month from GGBP is "A Difficult Term for the Chalet School, which GGBP first published ten years ago. I have to say that the cover is far superior to the first title, pictured above, but the story is more of the same, and it's becoming customary to think of the number of Chalet School titles as far more than the original number written by EBD because the standard of writing is simply so superb. I have difficulty telling the difference between a Lisa Townsend Chalet School book and an original EBD. Full marks to GGBP for their usual superb package. The front cover is classic Chalet School, reflecting the time in which the action is set. Brilliant!

Elinor M Brent-Dyer: Eustacia Goes To The Chalet School

Published June 2021


We published Eustacia in 2016, and sold out much too quickly. We are reprinting this now, but have not added any extras to our first edition.

Eustacia Benson, recently orphaned, is now living with her aunt in Taverton where the Bettany family lived before coming to Austria. Grizel Cochrane’s stepmother recommends the Chalet School. From the beginning Eustacia openly expresses her dissatisfaction with the school – including such things as feather beds (insanitary), shared dormitories, and being in the same class as girls of her own age. She does not endear herself to the girls, as she quickly becomes a tale teller and she flagrantly disregards rules which she feels should not apply to her, thus incurring the wrath of the prefects. During the half-term climb of the Stubai Glacier, the group get caught in a blizzard on the glacier, and Miss Wilson sprains her ankle. Later, Eustacia decides to run away.

Susan McMichael has written an introduction on Falling Down Cliffs: Rebels and Heroines in the School Story.

The Armada paperback had minor, frequent, cuts.

Eustacia will be published in June.

Monica Edwards: No Mistaking Corker

Published July 2021

No Mistaking Corker, the author’s second book, introduces the Thornton family and is unusual for Monica Edwards, in that it is ‘written’ by one of the main characters, Lindsey. This is, in effect, the first book in the Punchbowl Farm series. However, it predates the family’s move there and so is really a prequel.

Which of the brown carthorse mares was really Corker, is the mystery that runs through this story of a caravan journey to the sea. Lindsey keeps the log of the family’s wandering, and it is good to read because it is about such real people. They think and say and do all the mad and surprising things that people say and do when they are on holiday and when they are happy. Everyone who has spent long days in the country will enjoy this book because although, like all good holidays theirs is full of unplanned excitements, Lindsey does not forget to record the more ordinary things like eating picnic meals, running across wet early morning meadows, and sleeping under the stars.

Rima Devereaux has written the introduction, and Julia Smith has written an article on Anne Bullen, the artist. We  shall also be including a short story by Monica Edwards, “The Irresponsible Rescue”.

No Mistaking Corker will be published in July.

Elinor M Brent-Dyer: A Problem for the Chalet School

Published July 2021

GGBP first published Problem in 2005.

Rosamund Lilley is horrified to learn that she has won a scholarship to the Chalet School given by Tom Gay’s parents. She doesn’t want to leave her friends and family in a south of England town and go to Switzerland. But her mother feels that Rosamund was being influenced by the wrong girls, especially Joan Baker, their next-door neighbour, and accepts for her. Once she arrives she is introduced to the Maynard triplets and quickly becomes friends with Len, making the transition into school life easier. She also discovers that it isn’t as scary as she had feared. But then Joan arrives at the School …

Lisa Townsend has written a brand new short story for this edition, “A Trying Day for Joan”.

The Armada paperback had very major cuts.

Problem will be published in July.

Lorna Hill: Castle in Northumbria

Published July 2021

GGBP first published Problem in 2005.

Castle in Northumbria is the fifth title in Lorna Hill’s Marjorie series. Over the years, we have published the first four titles – in fact the very first title we ever published (long before GGBP) was the fourth title, Northern Lights, in its first edition. Now, as requested by so many people, we shall be adding Castle in Northumbria to the list.

Like most of Lorna Hill’s other Marjorie and Patience books, this was originally written by hand in a large exercise book for Lorna Hill’s daughter, Vicki – with beautiful illustrations by the author. In the first four Marjorie books we published we reproduced these in colour – sadly we cannot do this now, except on the cover, but we shall be reproducing them all in black and white.

It is Easter and all the members of the Clan, (Guy Charlton, young Toby, Esme, Marjorie and Pan) find themselves together again. Camping in the country, with the ponies is the best thing to do and this year Guy produces a wonderful old Border castle, a ruined stronghold crammed with romantic possibilities. They go off without Marjorie, whose parents have other plans for her, or so it seems, until she turns up to enjoy the fun and many lively escapades follow her arrival. With plenty of riding, a May Day Festival, a Northumbrian Fortress and the whole countryside to enjoy, the Clan has a grand holiday.

Hilary Clare has written a really excellent and very informative introduction.

Castle in Northumbria will be published in July.

Mabel Esther Allen: The Adventurous Summer

Published July 2021

GGBP first published Problem in 2005.

Sorrel and Nicholas Richmond have always lived in London until they go to stay with their aunt and uncle in Wyndstane-by-the-Water in the Cotswolds, where they meet Caroline who lives at the Court. Caroline longs for school but has a strict governess, employed by her grandfather. She is always in trouble but cheers herself up by forming an Adventure Club which Sorrel and Nick join, as do Tony, Bill and Shandy. The club’s wanderings take them to a ruined manor house on Gloud Ridge, to the Mound on Windlip Hill and as far as Stratford-on-Avon.

Mia Jha is writing the introduction to this, and we are also including a short story, ‘Silver Rose’, which was published in the 1950s and is a fragment of an unpublished sequel to The Adventurous Summer.

The Adventurous Summer will be published in July.

Malcolm Saville: Seven White Gates

Published July 2021

GGBP first published Problem in 2005.

First published by GGBP in 2006, Seven White Gates has been out of print for many years, and we are re-publishing it due to much demand!

This is one of the strongest of the Lone Pine Books. Peter is at the centre of the story, as she is sent to stay with a strange uncle under the haunted mountain crested by The Devil’s Chair. She meets a new friend, Jenny who recounts the terrible legends that stalk the hill, and they are joined by David and the twins, with Tom to solve the mystery of her uncle’s unhappiness and lay the ghosts of the Stiperstones.

Originally published in 1944, it was serialised by the BBC on Children’s Hour and was an instant hit with listeners, as indeed was the published book with readers.

Martin Crookall, who has blogged about Seven White Gates, has written our new introduction, and we shall also be including the original introduction by Mary Cadogan.

Seven White Gates will be published in July.

Yours Retro Magazine - the latest issue - out now!

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of! The latest issue of Yours Retro Magazine is in the newsagents now, with superb articles about Abbot and Costello, Cleopatra, the two film versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dads from TV series, Adam Adamant with Gerald Harper, Deborah Kerr and The King and I, how Frank Sinatra was arrested and his links to the "mob", and much much more. It's the best magazine on the shelves!

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its 24th year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at paulenorman1@gmail.com and I'll let you know where to send it.

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