September 2021 Books Monthly Review of books and stories magazine - on the web since 1998...
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Four superb new Girls Gone By titles in this issue...


The new titles continue from Girls Gone By with four superb new books in August and many more to come before the end of the year, mostly in October. First off, there's a new Monica Edwards title, No Mistaking Corker...

Monica Edwards: No Mistaking Corker

Published August 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”.

Monica's horse and pony stories are, for me, the best ever written. I discovered Wish for a Pony when I was quite young, it being sent to me as a monthly selection by the Children's Book Club - and although I was really into adventure and school stories, I found myself enjoying "Pony" very much. I was thrilled when I learned that GGBP were going to publish "Corker" as I'd never read this particular title, and it doesn't disappoint (in fact no GGBP book has ever disappointed). It's an adventure story in its own right, involving a horse-drawn caravan trip to the seaside, something you simply don't see any longer. There are dramas and accidents involving missing horses, and the whole story has the feel, almost, of a Famous Five. Absolutely thrilling, perfect summer reading for children and adults alike!

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

Published August 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.

EBD was turning these stories out at a phenomenal rate during the middle of the last century, but it has to be said that the quality of the writing was quite extraordinarily good, and never dropped as far as I'm concerned. As always, what you get with a GGBP Chalet School story is the complete package, including the publishing history and extra, superb illustrations of previously published editions, along with commentaries etc. The front cover sparkles with style, the story is as good as any in the series - it's an honour and a privilege to read these stories in their new and very best livery. Superb!

Lorna Hill: Castle in Northumbria

Published August 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.

The only thing I'm not that enamoured of with this book is Lorna Hill's own illustrations, which don't, for me, match up to the usual very high standards. I can understand GGBP wanting to use these illustrations, but they are a little amateurish for me. This in no way detracts from the quality of the writing, and the story is the kind of thing youngsters in the 1950s would very much want to read. Added to that are the notes and commentaries included in this edition, something you don't get from any other publisher that I know of. A super addition to the GGBP library!

Mabel Esther Allen: The Adventurous Summer

Published August 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.

A second GGBP involving a horse-drawn Gipsy caravan, and once again it has the feel of a Famous Five adventure, which is not a bad thing! Travelling through countryside in which I was brought up in the late 1940s/early 1950s, Sorrel and Nicholas are accompanied by their Aunt and Uncle on a journey they will never forget. This, again, is a complete package from GGBP, and provides superb entertainment for the summer holidays. From the golden age of children's literature...

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 Robert Redford, The Wizard of Oz, Gene Wilder and that Chocolate Factory, and much, much more. It's the best magazine on the newsstands for memories and nostalgia. Pick up a copy today - you won't regret it!

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 and I'll let you know where to send it.



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