The Feud in the Fifth Remove by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Feud in the Fifth Remove by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was first published in 1932  but it has been reprinted by Girls Gone By Books more recently. At just 112 pages it’s a quick read, but still very enjoyable.

It begins at the start of a Christmas term at the Abbey School which has a fair few girls with unusual names, even for the 1930s – Philathea and Salathiel are new to me. But it’s Brenda, the new girl who causes trouble.

Brenda is an only child and has been utterly spoiled by her parents, but particularly her mother.  The results are that Brenda is a complete snob and it isn’t long before she’s sussed out and graded all the girls according to how much money she thinks their fathers will earn. Despite having  an eclectic mixture of backgrounds the pupils get on well together in general, but Brenda believes that those girls in the higher echelons, by her standards, shouldn’t have to consort with the girls who come from a ‘trade’ background, and she’s daft enough to try to get the other girls to join in with her and freeze out what Brenda regards as the poorer pupils.

It transpires that Brenda isn’t only a snob but she’s a liar and cheat too, and when she starts being rude to her mother even her mother has to accept that she has brought up a thoroughly unpleasant daughter. Brenda won’t even accept that the school’s prefects have a right to tell her what to do and she decides to run a campaign to get rid of them.

This book is like a handbook of how to conduct your life if you want to be an upstanding member of society. Just don’t do as Brenda does. I found it entertaining though and as ever I enjoyed being in the company of the characters.