Sunday, 12 February 2017

Class by Jenny Colgan, writing as Jane Beaton - An up-to-date yet nostalgic, novel about boarding school life by the sea

What girl didn't like Enid Blyton's boarding school books: Malory Towers, The Twins at St Clare's, or The Naughtiest Girl in the School?
I loved them, and so did Jenny Colgan -  so much that she decided to write her own school series for grown-ups, set in the twenty-first century, not the Forties and Fifties, and telling the story of the teaching staff as well as the girls. The first ones were published a few years ago, by Jane Beaton, but nobody knew that she was really Jenny Colgan as they were quite different from her usual books. Now they've been republished with Jenny Colgan boldly on the cover for us all to enjoy!
Class: Welcome to the Little School by the Sea  is set at a fictional school in Cornwall with four towers. Sounds familiar? Enid Blyton based Malory Towers on Lulworth Castle in Dorset (Wikipedia).
The main characters are:
Maggie Adair, from Glasgow, who applies for a teaching post at Downey House School to get some experience of teaching girls who want to learn instead of the indifferent students at the local comprehensive, is amazed to get the job.
Dr Veronica Deveral, the headteacher, who needs to keep the school successful to ensure it receives certain funding, is being besieged by the inspectors, and on a more personal level has a secret that she's kept close to her heart for many years.
Felicity Prosser, known as Fliss, doesn't want to leave her friends in Guildford and follow in her elder sister's footsteps to Downey House, and sets out to do all she can to be sent home (a bit like Elizabeth Allen in The Naughtiest Girl in the School!).
Alice Trebizon-Woods, who befriends Fliss and sets out to lead her astray.
And Simone Pribetich, a scholarship girl, who is so proud to have a place at Downey House, but finds it so hard to fit in, no thanks to Alice and Fliss.
Add Stan, Maggie's devoted boyfriend back in Scotland and David McDonald, the handsome English master from the neighbouring boys' school (and his dog!), and you have a wonderful story of the ups and downs of life at Downey House.
If you're looking for an up-to-date, yet nostalgic, novel about boarding school life by the sea, this is the book for you!
And if you want to know what happens next, Rules: Things are Changing at the Little School by the Sea, is also out now, and there are four more to come. Now where's my torch so I can get reading under the bedclothes?!


  1. Well that's a quite different kind of book! Love the sound of this, Jean, so thanks again for bringing a new series to our attention. Used to love the Chalet School books.

  2. Thank you, Rosemary. I never read those, but someone was telling me how much she did and was sorry she'd given some of them away.