Although these books are seriously out of date these days, this is another series from my childhood that I loved as a kid and can still enjoy as an adult. Yes, there are some issues that don't sit comfortably - the most recent of which to be brought to mind is the glorification of the KKK - but there are also a lot of positives to take from them., including The Chalet School Peace League. There are things I just accepted as a child that make me shake my head as an adult, but I can, largely, ignore them.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, this is the first of almost 60 books set at The Chalet School.
When Joey Bettany’s sister Madge sets up a school in the Austrian Tyrol, Joey is among the first pupils. From its small beginnings it grows rapidly, enjoying all sorts of exciting adventures and mishaps.
Joey, effectively an only child because Madge is twelve years her senior, is always ill during the English winter. Madge’s solution to Joey’s health problems is to start a school in the Austrian Tyrol. At first there are only a handful of pupils, but soon the numbers grow, with children coming from all over the world. Joey is always the central character, in this as in many of the other 60-odd books in the series. There are alarms and excursions in which she takes part with interest, wonderful descriptions of the spectacular local scenery, hilarious antics of one sort or another, and plenty of near disasters in the mountains. The School at the Chalet is the first book in an ever-popular series. It was first published in 1925 and has been in print ever since. (from Amazon)
In this first book, Madge opens her school and gets her first pupils, some from home in England, others who join once they arrive in Austria. She also meets her future husband and founder of the Sanatorium that later becomes inextricably linked with the school. Whilst the books are 'of their time', if they are viewed in this light, they are still highly enjoyable. Their lasting legacy can be seen from the Facebook pages dedicated to them, the fan club that still boasts high numbers of members and the fact that the books are regularly re-printed. They were old when I read the paperback Armada editions in the 1980s, but every year, Girls Gone By Publishers re-release a few from the series.
My own collection is a combination of hardbacks, paperbacks and reprints and there is still one book I have yet to source a copy of, but it has pride of place in my study - another little piece of home that came with me when I moved into my own house.