With the Hogmanay celebrations being cancelled in Scotland and meeting up with people being discouraged, I needed a trip into a different world via a book, and Exile for Annis by Josephine Elder hit the spot. It was first published in 1938 and it’s the first book in the author’s Farm School series.
Annis is 14 years old and has been quite ill, her mother thinks it isn’t a good idea for her to go back to her school which is an ordinary High School that concentrates on a lot of sports. Annis loves her school, in fact she’s quite disdainful of any others, she thinks the way her school is run is perfect, but when it’s described it’s evident to the reader that the school and its pupils have fostered a rather elitist attitude as they all believe that any other schools are inferior. So when her parents decide that Annis will be sent to a school in the country Annis is horrified, she thinks it sounds awful, but she can’t wriggle out of it as her parents are going to be away from home for some time.
Annis soon learns that her prejudices were misplaced as she blossoms in the more relaxed atmosphere of the farm school and finds new friends. It’s a surprise to her that although the pupils don’t seem to be studying anything like as hard as they would if they had been at the High School they still all pass their important exams, and they also learn how to care for animals and do farm work. Despite some difficulties the experience has been a positive one as Annis has met people she would not have encountered at her old school and it has all contributed to enriching experiences for her, and for most of the people she encounters.
It was an enjoyable read. I had never come across the name Annis before but it’s explained in the book that it is a Scottish name for a girl, but I’ve certainly never heard of it before.