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Calling Antonia Forest fans - who is your favourite character and who are you most like?

(102 Posts)
MirandaWest Thu 29-Aug-13 20:03:04

Have been doing some re-reading of Antonia Forest books (including Spring Term which I had only read once before and couldn't remember much at all blush)

As is probably clear I do like Miranda very much smile And also like Rowan too. Ginty annoys me, as does Lawrie to a lesser extent.

I enjoy reading about Nicola but in real life I think I would find her a bit intimidating.

I do sometimes think I might be an Esther. But at least I am not a Lois....

MooncupGoddess Mon 02-Sep-13 13:34:57

Yes, I love Peter's Room best too - though The Ready-Made Family is pretty impressive too.

I find most of AF's characters v convincing but Rowan is too self-assured for a 17-year-old... I can't imagine her in real life, unlike most of the others (I had a friend at school who was Lawrie to a T).

Spring Term is better than I expected and has a few genuinely Foresty turns of phrase, but the Ginty plot is weak and there is some ridiculous slush regarding Patrick and Nicola that would make AF turn in her grave.

Would very much recommend the Players books to any Marlow fans who haven't read them. They are amazing.

kalidasa Mon 02-Sep-13 14:16:30

The best 'imitation' Forest I have ever read is on this website:

Scroll down to the 'Introduction post' for the AF stuff.

I think 'Run Away Home' is my favourite single book too.

LifeHuh Mon 02-Sep-13 20:18:44

Rose and Lizard's writing is fantastic I think.IMO she has got AF's voice to a T,though I know not everyone agrees.
I particularly like " Dangers Untold,Hardships Unnumbered"

I've been trying to decide which book is my favorite,and apart from not being so keen on The Marlows and the Traitor it is impossible to decide.

This is the link to that article about Ann ParkerTheThief mentioned,if anyone is interested- I knew I'd read it at some point!

And if you are still here,CJ hello! Pogle in disguise here - how the devil are you,as my old boss would say? grin

Littlemousewithcloggson Mon 02-Sep-13 20:42:06

Oooooooooo I love those books. Peters room is def the best as far as I'm concerned.

CJCregg Mon 02-Sep-13 22:05:18

POGLE! grin shock grin

How completely lovely to see you - and on an AF thread, what a surprise wink

Do you see the others around, ever? Someone did a similar book-related AIBU thread recently and it made me feel all nostalgic. That raft ... that lamb ... grin

LifeHuh Tue 03-Sep-13 07:12:53

smile Yes,can't imagine what either of us are doing here! wink

Oh heavens - I had actually forgotten the lamb- how could I have forgotten the lamb? Poor innocent creature... grin

That AIBU thread definitely was a blast from the past. Aah,those were fun times! Elephants is around,isn't she,but I don't see anyone else - though of course no-one is seeing me either and I am still here!

Lovely to see you around smile (glad you haven't name changed!!)

QuidditchTonedThighs Tue 03-Sep-13 08:57:10

I adore Rowan, Miranda, Tim and Patrick, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I realised that Forest meant me to like Nicola best. I always loved Lawrie the best, and still do. I can relate to her dramatics, terrors and Lawrie-thinking much better than I can to Nicola's courageous and mostly sensible cleverness.

As for interesting characters - isn't Lois Sanger the absolute business? Just a fantastic creation, and a fascinating person's head to be inside of. And Ginty is another compelling character with hints of awfulness - but you can always relate to what she is feeling. Forest is a genius, really no exaggeration. Now I have tried to write my own fiction I am in utter awe of her skill.

I think I am probably still most like Lawrie, unfortunately, at least internally. I'd like to be Rowan grin Someone upthread said Rowan at 17 was unbelievable, but I don't agree. The Marlows are not your normal family and I don't think Rowan is so very out of the ordinary.

QuidditchTonedThighs Tue 03-Sep-13 09:02:21

btw, if anyone else is a fan of Harry Potter as well as Forest, these stories are wonderful and beautifully in character.

A Wand with Sixteen Strings series

There's one where one of the Marlows is revealed as Draco's wife grin They are funny and believably Potter as well as AF.

I read Spring Term, but, although I admired the attempt, I didn't quite feel she pulled it off.

And to the poster who said they had not yet read The Players books, you are in for a treat when you do. Just wonderful [happy sigh]

CJCregg Tue 03-Sep-13 09:34:40

That would be me, Quidditch grin

I love those fanfic stories - they're surprisingly good. Even <gasp> the crossover ones.

I started Spring Term last night - I have to say that so far I'm quite impressed. She's really got AF's tone. It was like meeting old friends again smile

CJCregg Tue 03-Sep-13 09:36:21

Pogle, I have spotted Poledra occasionally but otherwise everyone seems to have drifted off on their own separate rafts sad

Mind you, name changes don't help <hard stare>


mrsshackleton Tue 03-Sep-13 09:51:46

My favourite character is Ginty - not the character I like best, but the one that fascinates me most. I'm boringly closest to Nicola (without the brilliance at games), but Nicola is an idealised everywoman, so that's not surprising.

I generally liked Spring Term and hope the author does another, though no way would AF have allowed Nicola and Patrick's relationship to actually become a gloopy romance <shudder> and the Ginty plot slid into melodrama. Disagree with whoever complained about itallics, AF's work is full of itallics, being the interesting child I was, I once counted something like 20 on one page of The Cricket Term, (which is her masterpiece imo).,

mrsshackleton Tue 03-Sep-13 09:53:10

Also especially like - as in find brilliantly depicted - Miranda and Marie Dobson - the scene when she discovers about the netball trick and the scene where they learn about her death are two of the most chilling in fiction, imvho.

QuidditchTonedThighs Tue 03-Sep-13 09:54:27

I disliked the romance in Spring Term, I must say. It didn't have the edge and the... well, the way Forest would just imply reams of stuff with a look or a thought or a seemingly casual remark that would be obsessed about for weeks. But to manage that, you have to BE Forest, I'd imagine.

mrsshackleton Tue 03-Sep-13 10:53:00

Agree, Af would have thought Spring Term romance "welly icky".

QuidditchTonedThighs Tue 03-Sep-13 12:00:02

Marie Dobson another superb creation, you're right! I always think of that brilliant passage where they realise that even the reviled Marie Dobson has feelings and "minds."

HumphreyCobbler Tue 03-Sep-13 12:06:46

I am not entirely sure about Nicola being an idealised everywoman. She has flaws. Her friends abandon her, both Tim and Patrick move on to having a meaningful relationship with her sister instead. She is terrified of riding and gets seasick. I DO see what you mean though.

Marie Dobson is brilliantly drawn. I agree that the netball scene is chilling. Reading that post having my own children made me actually upset.

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 12:11:01

sorry, which is Spring Term - the school ones I had were, in order, Autumn Term, End of Term, The Cricket Term and The Attic Term.

I would love to be like Rowan, to the extent that I had the name, based on her, on my baby names' list. I fear I am quite like Ginty (not beautiful, but fickle and rather all over the place), which is handy as I would so shag Patrick.

MinnieBar Tue 03-Sep-13 12:11:23

I used to love these books when younger but don't have them any more sad.

WHY are they all/nearly all out of print/ridiculously expensive/unavailable on kindle? WHY??!

mrsshackleton Tue 03-Sep-13 12:54:08

I head the reason they're so hard to get hold of was to do with some argument with Penguin, who published her later books in paperback. It's infuriating. I have all of them except Falconer's Lure and The Marlows and The Traitor, luckily I took them out of the library so much as a child i can still remember chunks by heart.

Spring Term is a fanfiction novel that takes on where AF left off.

And yes, Nicola has flaws but they're relatable flaws, and not fatal, which is not the case with Ginty, Karen, Ann, Patrick etc etc.

Someone said AF was the Jane Austen of children's writers, I disagree, she's better than JA and everyone should read her.

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 13:07:43

ah right. And Nicola gets together with Patrick?? I find that so hard to swallow. I was assuming he had his first fling with Claudie - I can't see Nicola following on from that, tbh.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 03-Sep-13 13:08:41

MrsOakenshield, you can have Patrick but Giles is mine wink

HumphreyCobbler Tue 03-Sep-13 13:13:42

I love the way books are mentioned in AF novels. I am a real Mary Renault obsessive so love the Mask of Apollo reference in Cricket Term. I think that Renault and Forest share similar gifts despite their subject matter being so different. They are both totally convincing in drawing complex characters and manage to indicate deep layers of meaning with seemingly simple prose.

ParkerTheThief Tue 03-Sep-13 19:56:17

I emailed girls gone by to see if they were planning on releasing any of them as ebooks, unfortunately the answer was no, not at the moment.

Some of my favourite parts are with Lois. When Lois gets Nicola dropped from the netball team her thought process are so real I actually feel embarrassed for her as she implies that Nicola shouldn't be in the team.

Cantdothisagain Tue 03-Sep-13 19:56:41

Is Spring Term gloopy romance? Thinking I might not bother now.

Agree about Lois Sanger. I love in End of Term where she realises she can casually cause trouble for Nicola with well chosen hints about falconry being prioritised over netball. Totally loved the tribunal in Autumn Term too.

I loved the scene in that book too where Tim is goading Nicola over the tidiness monitor thing and chalks a caricature on the board to wind Nicola up, and Nicola is driven to wipe it off. The characters are all so real!

mrsshackleton Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:08

Spring Term isn't gloopy romance, it's very good, it's just Patrick and Nicola are a little soppier than they would have been in AF land. But it's still very good and worth a read.

I think Girls Gone By are in some kind of cartel and selling the precious copies they reissued of Falconer's Lure etc and then rapidly withdrew for a fortune on amazon etc. Why didn't they just do another print run?

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