Read the school at the chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer Online

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When Madge Bettany sets up a school in the Austrian Tyrol, her sister Joey is among the first pupils. From small beginnings, it grows rapidly, enjoying all sorts of exciting adventures and mishaps....

Title : the school at the chalet
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ISBN : 12971559
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 375 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the school at the chalet Reviews

  • Beth
    2019-03-02 20:00

    Well, I've reread about ten of these today (not going to rate them all, thinking of your poor feeds), and I've only got about twenty in the series, which must contain over fifty books... I tend to divide the copies I've got into two sets. The first set is the beginning of the school, which is a boarding school that Madge Bettany, all of twenty-four years old, starts in the Austrian Tyrol, while her sister Joey becomes one of the first students. It's entertaining, particularly the obsession with slang. If you've ever read any British boarding school stories, nothing about these will surprise you: lots of emphasis on honor and the prefect system and pranks and proper behavior. The series is also a weird mix of cosmopolitan (students from all over Europe, even a few Americans) with casual misogyny and asides that smack of racism, which honestly isn't the oddest thing in old-school British boarding school stories.The second set takes place some fifteen or twenty years later, when Madge and Joey and a bunch of former students, of course, have children attending the school. The stories aren't really new there, but again, I grew up with stories like these, and they have a certain charm nevertheless. And it's fun reading about the school now that it's so established!I don't know how the books deal with the two world wars that take place during the time these stories take place. There are references to the school moving to either northern England or Ireland for a few years, but I can't quite figure out during which books, or if the books even cover it with any specificity. Mostly, the stories feel like they take place in a bubble, where old-fashioned living and schooling are predominant, everyone marries happily, and all their children come back to the school - this despite countless illnesses and rows and kidnappings by any number of crazed people. It's classic melodrama, but it's fun anyway.

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-03-04 01:20

    This is a well written, well paced, and engaging story, the first of many in a long series about a boarding school in the Austrian Tyrol. I’m really glad that I got an unabridged copy, a facsimile reproduction of the original edition. I was interested in the characters and one of my favorite things about them and the story was how the girls of all nationalities had read English boarding school stories and had ideas about how their new school should comply. As a fan of orphan and quasi-orphan books, I was in literary heaven with this one. There was quite a bit of adventure in this story as well, and I’m sure I’d have been utterly engrossed had I been introduced to this at age 10 or so. The story is skillfully told with just the right amount of unusual occurrences and everyday life being described.This book was originally published in 1925 and I’ve read many children’s books from that and earlier eras, but with this book I noticed quite a bit of outdated material, more than I’ve noticed in many other older books. While the girls who attend the school and for the most part get along are both local and international, and the sisters at the heart of the story are relatively well traveled, I found the many stereotypes jarring. There were blanket statements about people from various countries and areas, much talk of the hue of people’s complexions and their import on people’s character and personalities, much sexism, derogatory comments about fat people (even though the “regular thin” people seem to eat an awful lot), one character’s constant phrase of “honest injun” and such. The adjective plucky was overused, or at least it got to the point where I felt irritated. I did think some of the trials and tribulations of some of the students were not given the full weight they deserved. Re one of the many references to locations (and their peoples) I did laugh at the, I think unintentionally, funny line: “…whose parents wanted to go to Norway, and were not anxious to take their children on such a tiresome journey.” I must say I did often find myself in disagreement with what are considered to be people's positive or negative attributes.However, despite all of this, I can see why this series has been so popular over the years. I might seek out the second book and others too if I can get unabridged editions. I really enjoy Joey and Madge and so many of the other characters, and I’m curious to know what happens to them; I would guess quite a bit given how many books follow this one. I read this book because it’s the October book selection for the Goodreads’ group: A Thrilling Term at Goodreads: The Girls' School-Story Group, a group that has quarterly group reads.

  • Ro
    2019-03-04 22:55

    Loved these when I was growing up and they are still as magical as ever.

  • Susan in Perthshire
    2019-03-16 17:59

    I read the entire Chalet school series when I was young. I read my first one when I was about 10 and continued till I was about 15. They described a time and a way of life that was completely alien to me and yet, just like Enid Blyton's depictions of a middle class upbringing in series like The Famous Five etc, - I loved these books. They were well plotted and in my eyes, populated with interesting, believable characters. They were a true escape and food for my imagination. Ms Brent-Dyer never patronised her readers - she expected them to be able to read and understand well written English and to have a broad understanding of history and geography. I guess the teacher in her was never far away and perhaps that's why the books were so popular with girls like me. I re-read this - the very first Chalet school book just recently and was charmed by its ability to still evoke my childhood enjoyment. However, I will not be bothering reading the entire series again! Yes, the stories and situations are somewhat dated, but they were well written and very entertaining. I am pleased I was able to revisit my childhood so pleasurably. It is encouraging me to revisit many books that I have not read for decades!!

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    2019-02-27 17:09

    Published in 1925, this is very much in the tradition of Angela Brazil who wrote all those 20s school stories for girls, full of elongated line drawings, sport, doing your bit and bucking up. However, it's set in the Tyrol instead of the British Isles, as Joey and Madge (Jo and Meg?) have no money and their brother is off to serve in India. They plump for setting up a school in the Tyrol because it's cheaper than Britain and of course Jo is "delicate" and the mountain climate will do her good. It is true that many girls of good family of the time had to make do with a governess, and perhaps a year or two at a boarding school which might have as few as a dozen students per term. These schools were often (usually) run by decayed gentlewomen; academic standards were the little end of it. The point was to be socially "finished," learn languages, and often to be off the parents' hands for a year or two.The school starts with four whole students, one of whom is Joey, and three instructresses: Madge, Madame (for French) and Miss Maynard for mathematics. John Bull attitudes are applauded, and national stereotypes much to the fore: the French student is clingy and weepy, the English girls are brusque and hearty and hate emotional display, the Anglo-Indian student is rebellious, while the German girls are sensible and organised and hard-working. We are told that "only Prussians are rude". This was a time when most upper-class English girls spoke German--ww1 notwithstanding, the dear old Queen and her beloved Albert were still admired, and England still had ties with Germany, given that she was grandma to most of the royal houses of Europe.There are many adventures, large and small, and of course a case of "brain-fever"; I've read of it before in 19th century novels. Apparently it involves being unconscious (in a coma?) for a week at a time. I found the ending a taste abrupt, but of course there's another installment to come.

  • ^
    2019-03-07 16:56

    “… condemmed to sitting and sewing name-tapes onto new stockings and gloves …” (p.12) brought back memories galore; though my stitching was onto articles such as gym shirts and hockey socks. I sometimes wonder if the harmless fun of certain schoolgirl pranks such as (p.148) vaselining the blackboards (or whatever is the best equivalent is on a whiteboard) ought to be positively encouraged nowadays, as a way of teaching what limits can be tested but must never be breached.I’m horrified to read on Goodreads that this book was later abridged to comply with health & safety and political correctness; but there again I would have naturally been cautious of a Yorkshireman sharing fresh gooseberries on a train between (of all places) Boulogne and Paris: I’d have thought I’d stumbled into a “Two Ronnies” sketch!The un-sentimentalised death of the parents of a pupil comes as a shock, though for me that acted as a very useful prompt to discuss (and be greatly reassured) with my own parents that what would happen were I and my siblings to be orphaned, .had all already been thought out.

  • T
    2019-02-20 17:21

    This is the first book in the famous Chalet School series. This is a fun book like Enid Blyton's St. Clares and Mallory Towers. Only things are much more nascent as school is being founded. So focus is on the young headmistress Madge and her attempts to start the school. Individual girls and their temperament, the inter personal dynamics is not given so much importance. Other than Jo, Madge's sister, only 2-3 of them even come across as characters with distinct personalities. In some ways intensity is much lower because a broad sweep of events are covered and across both inside and outside school. So the individual events just pass like specks. One good think though is the scenic settings near Innsbruck and introduction to local culture. This is something I could well relate with having lived in the vicinity of those places for over a year.

  • Roseanne Wright
    2019-02-28 18:15

    I think I must have read every one of these stories when I was young. I just loved the fact that it was set in a foreign country and the pupils had to speak different languages depending on the day of the week. I wanted so badly to be a pupil there!

  • Tara Calaby
    2019-02-27 19:24

    (2.5 stars)From the opening pages of this novel, there's no escaping that it was written in the 1920s. The slang is an instant giveaway, and the ongoing casual racism throughout the book ensures that you never forget that this is children's fiction written for a now-distant generation of children. The page about the Romany people is particularly gasp-worthy. Enid Blyton's gypsies have nothing on Brent-Dyer's "religious" superstition!The School at the Chalet suffers from first book in a series syndrome, in that it's very slow to get started. The initial discussion of the school is understandable, but then follows a boring account of three characters' tourist outings in Paris, which seems completely unnecessary and indulgent. The book picks up once the school is actually founded, though, and soon settles into a cozy pattern of anecdotal stories about the school's first few months. One of the problems with The School at the Chalet, from a reader's point of view, is that the character focus is too wide. At times, it seems like Joey is intended as the protagonist, but the perspective flits from one character to another, which becomes very confusing, especially given the long list of unusual names and names that sound quite like each other – Grizel and Gisela are particularly easy to confuse. Few girls are given distinct personalities, which adds to the confusion. Joey is very likeable, although her health issues are forgotten for most of the book, and Grizel and Simone are also a little more three-dimensional than most of the characters, but one would hope that there is more development in later books – or at least more of an effort to focus on one or two of the school's students. There is something to be enjoyed here for lovers of school stories, with several fun tropes being represented and the necessary level of unwitting homoeroticism. (Poor Simone has such a crush on Joey – or a "violent affection", as Brent-Dyer puts it.) The writing leaves a lot to be desired, however, and there's an overall attitude towards women and foreigners (running the full gamut from exoticism to demonisation) that is quite uncomfortable for a modern reader. And the final chapter? Well, that was just plain bizarre. I wouldn't refuse to read more in this series, but I wouldn't rush to do so either.

  • Carolynne
    2019-03-22 22:57

    The first, and possibly the best, in the Chalet School series by the prolific Elinor Brent-Dyer. In this book, in order to make a living for herself and her delicate little sister Jo, Madge Bettanyt establishes a new school in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol. Despite their tenuous financial status, she is able to acquire a Tyrolean chalet capacious enough to house a small school without much difficulty. Despite this unlikely setup, the descriptions of the formation of the new school are detailed and homey. Starting with only one pupil (besides Jo), the school soon attracts new pupils and quickly becomes an educational force to be reckoned with. The combination of a British-type private school with immersion in three languages (English, French, and German, lots of outdoor activities, and simple, healthy food is apparently irresistible to well-to-do parents in the area. Soon the school is deservedly drawing pupils from all over Europe and even the Western Hemisphere.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-06 22:11

    I adored these books when I was a little girl, and I used to wish I could attend the Chalet School. It sounded like a dream, a boarding school for girls, studying in a foreign country, and plenty of outdoor fun.I decided to re-read my collection this year, and even though I'm much older now, I still enjoy them. In this first book, Madge Bettany decides to open a boarding school for girls in Austria. Her younger sister, Joey, is her first pupil, and the Chalet School soon grows rapidly.This book sets the scene for the many books in the rest of the series. I only wish I had all the books in the collection, since it's out of print now, the rarer books are tremendously pricey!

  • eghzarw
    2019-03-06 22:58

    Вроде ничего особенного, типичное произведение жанра jolly hockeysticks and lashings of lemonade, но затягивает, и теперь, когда ты, читатель, закончил книгу первую из пятидесяти, что ли, четырех, коготок увяз, и хочется знать, что там дальше. А дальше тяжкий выбор между дешевыми, но сокращенными изданиями и полными, но довольно дорогими, особенно если собирать все.Жизнь в школе-шале уютна и весела. Никто никого не лупит линейкой, наказания справедливы, ванны -- теплые, а на завтрак подаются великолепный кофе и небывалые сдобные булочки. А вокруг Альпы: захватывающие дух пейзажи, альпийские цветы, неотесанные, но дружелюбные пастухи, которые приютят во время грозы и продадут кружку молока. Школа растет и взрослеет, и наши героини в коричневых сарафанчиках -- вместе с ней. Все шалости удались, и никто не умер. Ура!

  • Kate Merlin
    2019-02-28 20:03

    Loved these books as a child and wish I could find them again.

  • Megan-fei
    2019-03-13 19:58

    The School at the Chalet is a very nice children's modern classic. The amazing adventures of the children captured me, the christian theme was intriguing, and most of there situations were hilarious. A great kids book if you ask me. This is an amazing idea for a story and the beautiful descriptions of the vivid countryside were THE best. I absolutely loved it. I do wish there were more illustrations, coloured, but it is a great book. Loved it!❤️

  • Geraldine
    2019-03-22 21:11

    Top notch yarn. Ripping! I read several of the Chalet books when I was young, not really in order, and very much dependent upon - largely - Coppice Avenue library and more broadly the wider Trafford library system. I bought several when I was working during the student vacation - this 1987 edition cost £1.95. That's the equivalent of over £5 now, a price I try to avoid paying for any book, let alone a flimsy child's paperback - and I try to get as many as poss on Amazon's 99p deal!It really does stand up to adult/modern-day reading. I recently learnt that Val McDermid is a huge fan. She's such a hero of mine - she's a truly great writer, and has a vast knowledge of English literature, without any snobby pretensions about some types being better than others - good books can happen in any genre - and she shied away from 'literary' fiction because of a fashionable focus on structure. She's a Scots Nationalist, so while our politics are not the same, she's a feminist and on the left, so more unites us than divides us, and she has a splendid way of not giving a sausage about pretensions.So, I added the Chalet School series to my TBR random selection spreadsheet. I'd quite like to read the lot (at 3 a year that's 20 years, at 1 a month that's 5 years). But they're mainly out of print, and although it will be fun to trace down copies beyond the dozen or so I already own, I will not pay ludicrous money.I think all of us who read these wanted to be Chalet School pupils. Of course this wasn't sensible in the 70s & 80s. One of the reasons Madge moved to Austria was because of school fees for Joey at 'The High' - the girls' grammar in their town. Clearly Joey wasn't one of the 25% entitled to a scholarship at The High, so the only option was a little school abroad. Thankfully, subsequent generations could get a decent education at state schools, but I doubt that anybody would be leaving The Chalet School with a School Cert, let alone a Higher School Cert.All boarding school stories are about girls from privileged backgrounds, no doubt reflecting that of their writers. And, of course, a book published in 1925, whether it's Elinor Brent-Dyer or Agatha Christie, will reflect the attitudes of their time. This is an Armada edition and perhaps it has been watered down, so i don't see the overt racism that some reviewers observe, although there are lazy generalisations that people's character are due to their nationality or race. I thought the description of the 'Tzigane', the Romany, was far more respectful than modern day rubbish like 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding'.I'm sure Ofsted would put The Chalet School into Special Measures for its teaching and learning. However, throughout the book, the emphasis is very much on women and girls striving and achieving. Madge running a business at age 24, and the girls rowing, producing a school magazine, hiking, and taking responsibility for themselves. Grizel was mad to attempt to climb the Tiernjoch, and Joey just as mad to follow her, but they never thought 'girls can't' - and they did it in school uniform, and, one would assume, T-bar sandals. I'm sure modern day girls would be amazed.The plotting of mini-sagas is excellent, and in this book she is beginning to outline the characters which will develop throughout the series. Some lovely descriptions of the school and of the 'Tiernsee', based on the Achensee in the Tyrol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achen_LakeI really enjoyed, and having read probably about half of the series in the dim distant past, I see some foreshadowing, which is delightful.But I wish the print was a bit bigger!

  • Jenn
    2019-02-20 23:14

    When I was about 11, my Mum came home with about 30 of these books that she’d picked up from a sale, and living in the country and with not much to do I ploughed my way through the lot.I was a `70s child, so I thought them old-fashioned, overly religious and much too goody, goody (Just William was my favourite, more anarchic and funny.) Even I could see Jo casually popping out all those children pretty unlikely. I didn’t think of them as politically incorrect – political correctness didn’t exist in the `70s but I thought them snobby. And there was the expectation that women should leave school, settle down to get married and have children – but then again that’s the way world was.So I read them to criticise….but having said that, I read them and re-read them and re-read them.…they filled many a bored moment. For one thing they gave me a grounding in social history. The first one was written not long after the First World War, when they were still talking about war reparations, they then spanned right through the 1930s, the Second World War and into the 1950s. In the first book Jo and Madge’s parents have died, which no-one seemed particularly bothered about, hence why Madge must set up a school in the Tyrol. And there are lovely descriptions of Austria and the Alps which I was very jealous of. You could almost do a GCSE History on the back of the Chalet School Series - OK a very Anglicised GCSE history without any poor people.I can still remember that first book vividly as if I read it yesterday (which is annoying when you consider there’s plenty more important things I’d like to remember but can’t). I remember poor Grizel with her miserable childhood, her only friend being the cook. And still paying for that childhood in later years. I remember the trip around Paris (not fair I thought the furthest I got was Preston shopping centre). I remember annoying Miss-Perfect Jo who was always sickly, and Simone they had as dark and intense (as if all the French were dark and intense!)Most of all I can recount that flight up the Ternjoch (is there a mountain called the Ternjoch??) almost word for word, even though I’ve not read the book in more than 30 years. Most of the Chalet School books ended with some dramatic disaster and Jo nearly dying. There was one scene in about Book 4 I think, where Jo very nearly drowned but didn’t and she got double pleuro-pneumonia which I thought really exciting. I kind of hoped she would die, me being bitchy and not liking her very much.My own children haven’t read the Chalet School books, it’s all Harry Potter now. Besides they wouldn’t have been so accepting of the old fashioned writing style as I was. You’ve got to be really bored, with no computers and no telly to just sit and read and understand novels written in a different era to your own - the past is a different country as they say. And there’s no point me re-reading them now, a book from your childhood should stay in your childhood I think.My Mum eventually gave them all away, and now I discover they are probably worth thousands, because they were nearly all first editions! Doh.

  • Deborah
    2019-03-22 18:02

    A book for which, like many other readers, I have huge affection. The astonishing thing is not that so many people have read this, and then got sucked in to an entire Chalet world. No, the astonishing thing is that anybody could read this and go, well, that was OK, but I don't think I'm that fussed about reading any more.Because EBD was really on top form when she wrote this. She seems to have settled down a bit, so instead of trying to cram in every idea she's ever had, in case she never gets another book published, she focuses on just two: starting up a school from scratch, and Being Abroad. I mean she lobs in an abandoned child, a night in a barn, some pranks, a cliff-edge rescue, and a train crash, but all for legitimate plot or character development reasons, and by school story standards (certainly by EBD standards) it's fairly restrained.It's the characters which make it, though, even here when EBD has produced a reasonable plot. She quickly loses track of how many pupils there are (and indeed of how big the Chalet is and how time is passing) but her characters are bright and alive (even when they are dull and stolid, ie Eigen, or giving or receiving bizarre instructions around hairwashing). Not just the central characters either - EBD populates this book with schoolgirls, their families, peasants, random travellers, cads (well - a cad), Americans who say 'It's N G Nix on the movies stunt'(look, this is still an EBD book), gipsy musicians ... and they all waltz happily off the page and into your head and your heart.The star of the book, though, has to be the location. EBD doesn't labour her descriptions but the beauty of the Tiernsee is simply unforgettable right from the start. When I finally visited Achensee a few years ago, it was like coming home, and although of course that was after several decades of reading and re-reading all the Tiernsee Chalet books, and many years of sighing over other people's photos, still, some of what I felt stemmed back to that very first introduction to Abroad which EBD gave me when I was a child. Who needs a magical kingdom hidden in a wardrobe when you can have a mountain-ringed lake in your mind's eye? With a school! A really friendly school with a pretty and kind headmistress! What's not to like? I mean, I could be picky, and speculate on exactly how many industrial-sized jars of Vaseline one would need to cover two blackboards, but that would be churlish. This is just one of those books everybody should read - ideally at a point in their life when they have many hours hanging on their hands in which to read all the books which follow.

  • Karen
    2019-03-19 22:16

    This is the first book of Eleanor M. Brent Dyer's quite long series--some nearly 60 books--about the fictional Chalet School, begun by Madge Bettany in the Austrian Tirol about 1925 as British boarding school chiefly because it's too expensive for her to live with her much younger and somewhat frail sister Jo in England. The air of the Austrian mountains was then thought to have healthful qualities, and the school starts up with about 15 girls, some few from England, the others from local families. Over the years until about 1938, the school grows by leaps and bounds until the Anschluss, when it moves to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Fairly quickly, they have to move again, this time to the Welsh Border, then to an island off the coast of South Wales, then finally back to the Alps, this time to the Swiss Alps. Over the course of the stories, girls come and go, some shining lights, others headaches for their teachers and fellow students. Miss Bettany marries an English doctor who's started up a TB sanatorium. Her younger sister Jo eventually becomes a writer of girls' school stories and historical novels along with marrying another doctor from the sanatorium, and many of the other students, including their younger sisters, show up for several of the books. Some of them cover only one term, others have a short break of at least part of a year, but they pick up with so many of the same characters that they are easy to follow, and they do stand alone pretty well. They aren't as formulaic as one might think, and I've read the whole series--in paperback--a couple of times. There's not too much about the actual schoolwork, though there is a bit, and there's not too much about the sports that they pursue, such as tennis, cricket, and hockey. Of course there is mention of skiing and of walks in the mountains. It's good comfort reading.

  • Tracey Morait
    2019-03-18 00:57

    Years ago (I won't say how many!) I went on holiday to the Austrian Tirol with my parents and stayed in a resort called Pertisau situated by the largest lake in the region, Achensee. At that time, I was still reading the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer and I loved them. I guessed that her fictional location of Tiern See was based on Achensee, but wasn't sure; fast-forward to the easy-research-at- your-fingertips world of the internet and I found I'd guessed correctly. In August this year, I went with my husband to the Tirol and we went to Achensee for a day trip. That prompted me to want to revisit the Chalet School because I came over all nostalgic and because I never got to read the entire series.I managed to find a pdf version of the first of the series, The School at the Chalet, on Scribd, and unfortunately it didn't hold the same magic for me as an adult as it did as a teen. My adult eyes could see the dated language, the glaring class distinctions, the prejudice and condescending behaviour against certain diverse groups, quick acquiring of pupils who suddenly appear off the boat with their parents, the fact that Jo Bettany's 'delicate' health wasn't much referred to beyond the first chapter and the far-fetched story surrounding Juliet's predicament. It's all that which prevents me from giving it the five stars I would have given it when I was 13.That said, I'm on the lookout for the second book in the series, Jo of the Chalet School, because I want to see improvements. I know Girls Gone By publishers have reprised the series on ebook, but not this title. It is available on paperback, but I understand that the later editions published in my decade (by Armada) were abridged and I would like to read unabridged versions

  • Emma Rose Ribbons
    2019-03-16 22:11

    Good and entertaining - though I'd prefer if more of the classes and school itself were shown (as opposed to whatever happens in the area around the school), I really enjoyed this, especially the fact that Brent-Dyer focuses as much on the staff as she does the students. The premise is quite original since we see the founding of the school and the number of girls is quite small in this first book. That being said, all the characters seem exactly the same to me and the author's use of racial stereotypes was painful to read, though she does subvert them by having the prefects not be English and the school is very multicultural in its composition, there always seem to be an undercurrent of 'English is better anyway, and only if we don't have access to that should we go for something else' (when the prefects are chosen, the headteacher says she would have preferred English girls but they weren't good enough for the job, also, the students have to speak English around the school at all times even though the Chalet seems really international to me with some of them having French or German as a first language). I did enjoy the story as it's got enough school stuff to keep me happy but I do hope the next installments will be a bit more focused.

  • Katherine Bruce
    2019-03-14 18:11

    Reading this after the first few La Rochelle titles, it is possible to see EBD's growing prowess as a writer. Her descriptions of the new arrival into Paris and also Innsbruck are very different from the much more vague descriptions of Guernsey (at least partly due to the fact that she is probably describing her own visits) but even once the school begins it is a very different dynamic. The balance of the Englishness of the school with the foreignness of the pupils and the location is deftly handled and we can see the roots of EBD's belief that, as with the Nazis, a nation as a whole cannot be responsible for individual examples (although she is rather unkind to Berliners). New ideas appear, some of which are strongly location-based - the cinema-company wanting to film the girls, the half-term night spent on the Alm, Grizel's attempt to climb the Tiernjoch, vaselining the blackboards (which seems to be a peculiarly Chalet-ish idea as it does not appear in any of her other works), etc. The setting and EBD's experience of it is what sets the Chalet School apart from a lot of her other works.

  • Weasel
    2019-02-27 20:16

    This book is very much a product of the time it was written (c1924 - published 1925) - it's interesting in the glimpse of how things were and the opinions of the time. Reading other reviews it's interesting to see some of the negative comments (the gypsies, there are both negative and positive views given on them (a character is even corrected re: they steal children), more so then in many modern tales/opinions - but it is by no means perfect.) I am equally sad to hear that they edited the series, as they have a number of others, as the time it was written is a key element of the stories and attitudes within. In comparison to some later school stories, it is milder in some ways - and the mixed national nature of it is very interesting, along with things likes Josephine being in love with Napoleon... I read this book first as a kid and am now re-reading. It's strange to reread it knowing what comes later - and it is very much a baseline book to start the series from. The pacing isn't brilliant, and it lacks depth in some places, but it sets the scene well.

  • Jody
    2019-03-16 21:03

    It is about a new boarding school in a remote (at the time) area of Austria. A British woman and her sister need a means to live off of (without going to India with their brother) and had fond memories from traveling to this area. The younger sister is still of school age, so they decide to start a school for girls in the area. Students quickly trickle in from everywhere. Then the rest of the story is simply about the various girls interactions with each other. Little adventures, if you will. I liked the internationalness of it. I liked that it was about the women and girls trying to fend for themselves (for the most part... there were times when 'men know best'.) I didn't bond with any character or situation enough to want to scurry out and read others in the series. However, it was still a nice, sweet, but at times, real story.

  • Alison
    2019-03-08 16:57

    Just re-read this book after many, many years. Still a good read! Rather dated in content, of course - attitudes to girls' capabilities, for instance - although they were probably quite liberated at the time. Madge is clearly a well educated, well travelled, highly motivated and independent woman despite her brother's concern for her managing without a man. Although there is some condescension towards the 'peasants,' everyone behaves politely or is brought to see the error of their ways. Obviously all that did not occur to me when I was reading the books as a child. I just longed to be in a world where I could learn languages so easily, and have such fun with wonderful friends like Joey. I heard a programme on Radio 4 recently which inspired me to seek the Chalet School books out again and I'm so pleased I have. Just need to find them now! Cumbria Library services only had one!

  • Mumbler
    2019-03-18 18:01

    really, I just began it, and found it much too soppy and square for me to want to read more. if I read many more school stories, maybe I'll be curious to compare, and try again.at this time, I had just read Antonia Forest for the first time. I just can't get a second Marlows book at the moment, so I felt i might as well try this and compare. some reviews prepared me for feeling this way. I certainly didn't expect it to be as sharp as Forest. but some find that very out of date, too, and I only had minor problems that way, amid loving it. this time, it was the negative reviews that proved to match my reaction.

  • Celia
    2019-03-18 21:19

    The first book in the Chalet School series (which comprises an incredible 60 volumes). I decided to re-read the series this year - or what books I can get hold of, as many of them are out of print - and do it in order. In School at the Chalet we meet English sisters Madge (in her early twenties) and Joey Bettany (a twelve year old). Madge has decided to start a boarding school in Austria, in a small chalet in the mountains, with Joey as her first pupil. The school develops in leaps and bounds in this first book - many students are introduced, expeditions are undertaken, and the scenery and "fresh mountain air" of Austria is lovingly described. A terribly fun book.

  • Catherine
    2019-03-01 01:17

    2.5 starsA little too stilted for me to really enjoy, though some aspects were not bad. However, I was thoroughly sick by the end, of everything being either top-hole or topping. It may be that if I had read these as a child, I would have had residual warm feelings for these stories in the same way I do for Enid Blyton's Malory Towers books, which I still love. In Enid Blyton's school stories though, the girls are a little less obedient and more inclined to joking about. Elinor's creations here, would never dream of disobeying either their parents or school mistresses and the pranks are of the feeblest kind, followed by much angst at having been daring enough to be so naughty.

  • Sarah Adamson
    2019-02-23 20:24

    This is the first book in the famous Chalet School series featuring Joey and Madge Bettany and lots of friends. Yes the series is now seen as dated and there are some inappropriate stories with girls running off to climb mountains and so on but I will always love this series. It's a fun and entertaining read and provides some really thought provoking morals and lessons. This is the first book which explores Joey and Madge Bettany moving to Austria to set up a new school to be run along English school lines but focusing on language skills and proper behaviour. The book explores their first adventures in the area and as their school starts to grow as well as some delightful local customs.

  • Shawne
    2019-03-14 18:58

    One of the cornerstones of my childhood. I've probably reread this at least ten times, to the point that when I recently read the unabridged version (yes, several of the paperbacks that aren't GGBP are abridged, wtf is that right!), I knew exactly which parts/lines were new. Scary. Not necessarily one of the BEST books of the series, but because it kicked off the longest boarding school series ever in such a fantastic way (oh, to live at the Tiernsee!), it's worthy of a 5-star rating.

  • Felicity
    2019-03-01 00:03

    A lovely book which is about a quintessentially British boarding school in Austria. It is full of lively characters and captures childhood in the beginning of the 20th century when children would always be outside and playing pranks on eachother. If you are fan of Enid Blyton you will enjoy this. The main difference between this and Blyton apart from the setting is that it isn't quite so middle class and includes people from all over the world.