The Edge of the Cloud by K.M. Peyton is the second book in the Flambards series and was first published in 1969.
Christina is now eighteen and she has been living with her uncle and her two male cousins who are a bit older than her. Her uncle is determined to marry Christina off to her eldest cousin Mark and so keep Christina’s money in the family. Her uncle and cousins are cash poor but do have a large house and estate where horses and hunting are the only things of importance. Christina is in love with the younger cousin Will, and unlike the rest of the family he is terrified of horses and riding, flying aeroplanes is his obsession.
Christina can’t get her hands on her money until she is twenty-one and she and Will can’t get married until then either, as Uncle Russell will never consent to their marriage, so they run off to stay with Aunt Grace where Christina has to help her with the sewing by which she earns her living. Meanwhile Will has managed to get a job as a mechanic at an airfield and is living in a shed, it’s not what he wants, he dreams of becoming an aeroplane designer and flying them. Eventually he does begin to teach other people to fly and earns much needed money by taking part in air displays, looping the loop and such like.
Christina is terrified of flying and of course lives in fear of Will being involved in an accident, neither of them can understand the other’s fear of riding/flying. Inevitably accidents occur.
This book is set in 1913 when flying was all new and wildly exciting. A note at the beginning of the book states that the first loop the loop was demonstrated in England by Pegoud in September 1913. The first British pilots to loop were B.C. Hucks and G. Hamel later in the year. Forty-eight British pilots were killed in various accidents from the beginning of flying in 1910 up to the outbreak of war in 1914.
The Edge of the Cloud won the Carnegie Medal in 1969 and the trilogy won the Guardian award in 1970. It was published by Penguin as a Puffin Book so was meant to be read by older children, but it’s a good read for children of all ages.
I loved the Flambards series when it was shown on TV years ago, that was aimed at adults. There isn’t much in the way of horse riding in this book but if you’re keen on early aviation you might find this one interesting.
We had a close look at the weather forecast this morning and decided it was good enough to sashay up to the wee Highland town of Aberfeldy to go for a good walk up the Birks of Aberfeldy, more about that at a later date, but you can see images of it here.
It ended up being a gorgeous day up there and on the way back we decided to veer off to Pitlochry, mainly because I had heard that there was a bookshop in one of the railway station buildings. In fact we discovered that you have to go on to the station platform to get into the shop which presumably used to be offices or a waiting room or some such thing. You really have to know that it’s there as you will never stumble across it, unless you’re getting off a train.
There was a display of hardback books from the Reprint Society right at the door so I wasn’t even in there two seconds before I had a couple of books in my hands and in the end I took books to the counter to pay for them. The sales assistant called me ‘madam’ – I’m never sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it makes me feel old anyway.
However, he was very impressed with my haul of books and he gave me a discount despite them already being ridiculously cheap compared with other secondhand bookshops. I felt quite bad about that as I think the proceeds go to a local charity.
So what did I buy this time?
1. The Edge of the Cloud by K.M Peyton
2. Flambards in Summer by K.M.Peyton
3. Flambards Divided by K.M. Peyton
I loved the first Flambards book, they were published by Puffin aimed at older children I suppose but I only got to know about the books after watching Flambards on TV in 1979 and that was not a children’s programme. I’ve already read the first book in the series.
4. The Rider of the White Horse by Rosemary Sutcliff
5. The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau
6. The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
7. This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
8. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
9. Peak Country by Joseph E. Morris which is an A&C Black book from their Beautiful Britain series. 1914.
Not a bad haul I think you’ll agree. I really do have to concentrate on my own books now!
I loved the TV adaptation of K.M.Peyton‘s Flambards which I watched way back in 1979. It doesn’t seem to have been repeated since then. Anyway for some reason Flambards popped into my head just before I went to a local library book sale earlier in the year and I was quite amazed to see a copy of the first book in the series sitting unloved and unwanted in the children’s section. It was still there at the end so I decided that it must have been meant for me and I bought it. It was first published in 1967 and the Flambards quartet was the runner-up for the Carnegie Medal.
The story begins in 1908 and Christina who is an orphan has been sent to live at Flambards, the home of her widowed uncle. He has two sons the eldest being Mark who is arrogant and selfish like his father and they are both obsessed with horses and fox-hunting. I know, the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable. Christina’s uncle is an invalid and unable to walk and ride due to a riding accident and they are obviously a lot poorer than they used to be. It’s supposed that he plans to get Christina to marry his son and heir Mark so that they can get their hands on Christina’s money when she comes of age. The younger son Will is completely different from his brother, he has no interest in horses. Machinery is his obsession and in particular, flying machines!
Will is bullied and beaten by his father because he isn’t the sort of son that he wants and a close friendship grows between Christina and her cousin Will, despite the fact that Christina has caught the horse obsession.
There’s a lot of horsey stuff in the shape of hunting and point-to-points so this series is bound to be of interest to the many girls around who are into horse riding. I never was but my schoolfriends Vivian and Lorna just lived for horses.
This book takes us up to 1912 so there isn’t much about flying in it but I’m going to be seeking out the other three books in this series which, if they’re anything like the TV series will feature the estate of Flambards as a First World War flying base.