Jo of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Jo of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was first published in 1926 and it’s the second book in the very large Chalet School series, 58 books long in fact.

There are over thirty girls at The Chalet School now and Jo’s sister Miss Bettany is the rather young headmistress. There’s a lot going on in this book as it’s set in the winter term, an exciting time in the Austrian Tyrol with plenty of entertainments for the schoolgirls to get involved in. It’s not so great for the locals though as it’s a lean time for them economically. This results in the school getting a Saint Bernard’s pup, the only one saved from a litter.

The ‘school baby’ also arrives, Robin’s mother has died and as her father has to travel for work Robin is placed in the care of the school, she quickly becomes a favourite.

Miss Bettany launches a campaign against slang, just about none of which we would call slang nowadays. Jo is so annoyed about that and she decides to start speaking as they did in Shakespeare’s time. That’s a bit of a hoot, but otherwise there’s a lot of jeapordy for Jo as she gets ill a few times and has accidents.

I read some of the Chalet School books when I was about ten years old, and I remembered that I felt so cosmopolitan because of the smatterings of French and German in them, but I’ve been enjoying reading them recently for the charm of a bygone age, and sometimes they just hit the spot when things are grim in real life, as they were earlier in the month with the death of our friend Eric.

10 thoughts on “Jo of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

  1. I loved these books too I was also around 10 years old (now age 66) when I read them, borrowed from the local library!
    Your reviews are excellent Katrina have been reading them for about two years. By chance my partner came across you a serendipitous moment and he thought I’d be interested. As like you I was a librarian. He’s Scottish born in Dunfermline but came south to England age 13.

    • Cecilia,
      I’m so glad that you’ve been enjoying my reviews. I tend to be quite scanty on the details as I don’t like it myself when people give a blow by blow account, then I feel there’s no point in reading the book if I know the ending! Jack used to teach in Dunfermline, it’s very historic but shopwise isn’t what it was, like almost everywhere nowadays. Your husband is still a Scot, even if he was just 13 when he moved! We lived in Braintree, Essex for a few years back in the late 1970s.
      Thanks for looking in and taking the time to comment.

      • He’s definitely a proud Scot! He didn’t want to leave but due to family issues they had to come South. At the time he was living in a tenement building (not the lap of luxury) but it was in the Royal Mile and he loved it. Dartford in Kent just didn’t compare with Edinburgh! Interesting that you lived in Braintree not that far across the Dartford Bridge into Essex. My sister and I are are having city breaks in England to see all the cathedrals. We went to Braintree for the day when I was staying with her in Maidstone. We loved the Catholic Cathedral and attended an organ recital in the Cathedral.

        • Cecilia,
          Tenements are actually really nice and comfortable when you get inside them, I was born in one in Glasgow! That Royal Mile tenement that he lived in will be worth a fortune now. I was never in any of the churches in Braintree, they didn’t have a Church of Scotland there! But nowadays, despite not being religious we often visit churches, especially the very old ones. We’ll be visiting Elgin Cathedral in the Highlands soon, although it is now a ruin. Peterborough Cathedral is the one we visited most recently (apart from St Giles, Edinburgh for the Queen) and Peterborough is really interesting, I believe Katherine of Aragon is still there.

          • Katrina
            It was rented and they had to share a toilet on the landing with several other families. That didn’t phase him though. He definitely wouldn’d like it now as he likes his creature comforts! He had won a scholership to attend Heriot Watt School so was very disappointed when he had to move. He begged his mum to let him stay and live with his granparents but to no avail. Oh well he wouldnt’t have met me if he’d stayed in Scotland! A friend of mine was brought up in a tenement in Glasgow when she was around 7 years they moved to a house on one of the new estates built in the fifties.
            We havn’t visited Peterborogh yet it’s on the list. We did say once we’ve done the English ones there is Scotland and Wales too. We are hoping to go to Exeter in June this trip had been planned for Easter 2020 but of course due to lockdown it never happened. We were brought up as Catholics but neither of us practice now but we do enjoy the archiecture of cathedrals and they are always in interesting cities.
            Good to chat to you.

          • Cecilia,
            That tenement does sound a bit grim, I wonder what it’s like nowadays. I will try to email you in a few days, if that is okay with you.

  2. Hi Katrina,Jo of the Chalet School is one of my favourites of the series. I love Robin! I’m so glad you are reading them and talking about them, it might encourage other people to pick them up for the first time or go back for another read. They are such lovely comfort reads.

    • Deb,
      They’re definitely comfort reads. I just had no idea that she had written so many of them, I’m trying to read them in order, but it will be a long project.

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