Antonia Forest(89 Posts)
For some reason the Marlowe series passed me by as a child. However, in recent months I have managed to buy all four of the Kingscote books (with only Cricket Term costing a slightly eye watering amount) and I cannot believe what I was missing.
They are so realistic you can almost smell the chalkdust and feel the tedium of a long afternoon in a stuffy classroom. The girls, with their shifting friendships and changing group dynamics, are totally believeable and Miss Cromwell has to be the most authentic sounding teacher in any school fiction. I also love the way AF shows teachers and prefects as flawed, human and sometimes prone to favouritism or poor judgment, not the all seeing, all knowing fonts of wisdom they usually are in other fictional schools such as Malory Towers or the Chalet School.
Any other Kingscote fans out there? I've just ordered Sally Hayward's Spring Term and hope it lives up to the work of the original author.
There are plenty of us on here........just wait , they'll all be along in a minute.......
Have you read the non-Kingscote books? Really worth it.
You may also enjoy the readthroughs with discussion at trennels.livejournal.com
I'd love to read some of the non-Kingscote books, especially Ready Made Family, but they're a huge price and as I live in Ireland the postage can add considerably more to the total. I'm keeping an eye on ABE Books as I eventually got Attic Term on there for under a tenner even though it's usually considerably more than that. I snapped it up immediately, convinced there'd been some mistake, and got a perfect Puffin copy in the post a couple of weeks later.
They are some of my favourite works of literature (as you might have guessed from my username ). Have told DD she can read them when she's a bit older. Can't decide when to let her - she's 9 and adores Malory Towers.
I was lucky in that I have the majority of the non Marlowe books through GGBP when they republished them.
I love Antonia Forest. I also missed them as a child. Thanks to GGBP and an old school library that was throwing away 3 hardbacks (Oh my) I now have them all. I also loved the Sally Hayward one. Her books are very believable. My favourite is Falconer's Lure. Nicola Marlow is possibly my favourite children's book character.
I can't believe libraries have got rid of her books and that they are all out of print. They are so well written they should be children's classics.
I haven't read all of them, but I love the ones I've read.
I didn't actually like them that much as a child - I got the 4 school ones aged 10-14 - as they were often uncomfortable reading (Guide court of honour, for starters) and lots of the allusions and subtlety went over my head. They're really adult books that just happen to be mainly about children. They remind me of Dorothy Sayers more than anything else.
Spring term is good. You can believe AF wrote most of it, as oppose to the new Enid Blyton which scream "imposter" the whole way through.
I agree with slightly uncomfortable reading as a child, although the characters are unusually well drawn reading as an adult.
They remind me very much of a book I read as a child called "Jenny and the Syndicate". Jenny is very like Nicola, there's a Lois character who bullies her and the Tim-like child really nastily, and I remember finding it fairly upsetting. But I didn't read AF as a child, so I didn't have opinions on that back then.
My favourite is The Ready Made family. The characters' reaction to Edwin are just so realistic. The only bit I didn't like was when Edwin hits Peter. Now Peter had gone too far and knew he had, but it didn't seem like Edwin, he was more a walk off and sulk sort of person. I see that something had to be there to be the catalyst of Rose running off, but to me that seemed out of character.
My Cricket term paperback has an interesting past. I bought it as a student, it's an ex school library copy, from a place I'd never heard of.
We moved away, and dd1 is now at the (local) school the book came from.
That amuses me in a silly way.
I'm dying to read Ready Made Family but I can't find any copies for less than the £40 mark, and some are considerably more.
No I'm not a member but I might pop over there and see about joining.
The Kingscote books are brilliant, aren't they? Spring Term is very faithful to the original, and I felt like I was reading a long-lost book by a favourite author, not an imitation at all. Personally I didn't like the non-school books. Perhaps it's that I only read them as an adult whereas I read the school ones in pre- and early-teen years. But although they do add backstory detail I didn't think it was particularly necessary to my enjoyment of the school books. The early ones - The Marlows and the Traitor and Falconer's Lure - were just about OK, but some of the later ones just seemed silly to me, and as she sets them in the period she's writing, I think they're very obviously anachronistic in the way the earlier ones aren't. Didn't stop me reading them, though! I was lucky enough to buy them when the GGBP editions came out and cost normal prices.
I sold the Thuggery Affair . But she did say it was an experiment so I don't feel so bad I couldn't manage it.
Also not great with Peters Room but I preservers every now and again.
Peter's room grew on me over time. Part of the reason I dislike the Thuggery is the lack of Nicola.
I read most of them aged about 10 but didn't really get them til my mid teens. The only ones I have never read are Ready Made Family and Run Away Home. If I was to buy one as a Christmas treat, which would you recommend?
Ready Made Family. It's fab and explains a lot of references in Cricket/Attic Term.
Run Away Home is the last book and you feel a bit left hanging after (and its rather a lot of Giles and manliness).
I started reading them as a child, i picjed some up in libraryb and jumble sales. Then when the 'tinternet was invented and they were republished I bought all I could. I then splurged on one or two on Amazon and now have the full set.
As a child I thoug I was the only person in the world who understood how good they were.
I live near Hampstead and I have been known to wander around trying to work out which was the Marlow/Merick house with the turret.
Amazingly good books - really in a league of their own in terms of the depth and complexity of characterisation in both the children and the adults.
Rowan Marlowe for President!
I hated Ready Made Family. I disliked all of the Dodds and Mrs Marlow really grated on me. Of the later books, The Thuggery Affair is probably the one I like best. Once you get past the 'slang' (oh please, what on earth was AF thinking), I rather enjoyed seeing the Marlows through the eyes of people with very different values and expectations. And I just love the way she turns her Thuggery baddies into real, believable people.
The whole point is that you aren't supposed to like everyone. Or even most people. And even the ones you do like bring you up short every now and again. Just like real life.
How can anyone not like Fob?
I read Ready Made Family quite recently, and it's wonderful. Antonia Forrest really was merciless towards her characters and their flaws.
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