Dimsie Among the Prefects by Dorita Fairlie Bruce – 20 Books of Summer 2023

Dimsie Among the Prefects by the Scottish author Dorita Fairlie Bruce is the fourth book in her Dimsie series and it was published in 1924.

It begins with Hilary Garth in disgrace,  something she’s not a stranger to, in fact her grandparents are at their wits’ end with her and they’ve decided that it’s time to give up on her being educated at home by a governess, she needs the more strict regime of a boarding school. Part of the problem is that Hilary’s parents had died in India when she was very young and her grandparents had always spoiled and indulged her for that reason. Their own daughter Rosamund isn’t best pleased however as Hilary will be at the same school she is, and she’s not keen to have her out of control niece at what she regards as her school.

Hilary is of course thrilled to be going to school and she seems to spend all her time thinking up ways of causing mayhem, ‘inventing’ adventures. She quickly becomes the dominant character in her dorm as the other girls are so easily led.

Dimsie can see some parallels with her own behaviour as a junior, but she’s a prefect now and thinks that she will be able to deal with Hilary and sort her out. At the same time Dimsie is having to help Rosamund with her problems within the school, but it’s an oversight by the local council which leads to the most serious incident, as you would expect, all’s well that ends well.

I was very lucky to be sent lovely old copies of most of this series by a very kind lady in London who was looking for a good home for her Dimsie books. Thanks again, Clodagh.


Three Twins at the Crater School by Chaz Brenchley – 20 Books of Summer 2022

Three Twins at tha Crater School by Chaz Brenchley is a strange combination of a girls’ boarding school book, science fiction and steam punk, but it all added up to an entertaining read for me. I have to say that the science fiction aspects are slight because although the setting is Mars, there’s absolutely no problem about actually living there, no mention of how they were able to breathe or anything like that. Although there’s no date mentioned, there are plenty of references to the Tsar and the Queen Empress and it’s the age of aetherships and steam. The Crater School is on the edge of a crater, there’s a lake nearby which is home to some dangerous Martian wildlife.

There has been a war between Britain and Russia, and Russia came off worst. Mars is a British colony, the furthest outpost of the Empire, much to the chagrin of the Russians. They would like it for themselves. Some of the Crater School girls are in part Russian, but they certainly aren’t on the side of the Tsar.

But at its heart this book is a faithful homage to the Chalet School books, with twins, visits to the san, threats of being sent to the headmistress, a goddess of a head girl, out of control middle school girls and brave girls willing to take on any danger. As a child the author had had to read not only his own choice of books, but those of his sister and brother too. As his sister was a fan of the Chalet School series he developed an appreciation of them too. The books are really all about friendship and decency.

Jack was sent a copy of this book to review, and you can read his much more detailed thoughts on it here.