Non CS EBD Books
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#1: Non CS EBD Books Author: CazxLocation: London PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:53 pm
I've just finished Chudleigh Hold, my first non CS EBD, and was wondering what people thought of her non CS books? Warning there are spoilers if people haven't read Chudleigh Hold.

I liked Chudleigh Hold, in some respects I thought it was better than the standard CS book but in others I didn't. I thought EBD wrote better male characters in Chudleigh Hold than she did in the CS, also I thought the family atmosphere was more realistic. For example Cherry's sniping at Crumpet I could see happening quite a lot in a large family but you never really see the Maynards as anything but a big happy bunch. The plot was interesting and fast moving to (no plays to read-hurrah).

However I didn't think EBD's writing was as good as the CS books, and this let the book down for me. There were a lot of awkward sentences and a few to many typo's for my liking (though the typo's may not be EBD's fault...). Also one thing that did annoy me was why didn't Auntie M say anything to Cousin Merril when she saw her go into the wardrobe?

I know Chudleigh Hold is based on Gill Culver's family or well the story is, how much do people see the characters as being Gill and her family? I couldn't see a trace of Gill in Crumpet so for me they are separate characters and the book isn't really linked to the CS at all. But that doesn't mean that I like it any less!

I would be interested to hear other people's view's, also what do you think is EBD's best non CS book and why?

#2:  Author: KatLocation: Kingston-upon-Thames/Swansea PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:30 pm

I totally agree with you on Gillian being nothing like the Crumpet we see in Chudleigh Hold; I very much see them as two different people and that works for me.

I'm lucky enough to own Top Secret, The Susannah Adventure, Condor Crags, Chudleigh Hold and the GO annual with the cut version of Fardingales in (called The House of Secrets), and out of them all, I think Top Secret is definitely the best.

It does seem to be aimed at a different audience compared to the CS books - the fact that Hawk gets tortured and we get to read about it as it's happening rather than it being glossed over as I'd normally have expected EBD to do, especially within the CS books (I'm thinking of what Bruno and Friedal are meant to have suffered at the hands of the Nazi's, along with various others).

Going back to CH - a lot of it did seem too far fetched to be believed. Cousin Merril screamed out at me from the very beginning, and I spent a fair bit of time getting frustrated that Hawk et al were being so dense!
Having said that, there were some bits I enjoyed - the images of them playing hide and seek, the description of the sound coming from the cave. Doesn't compare to Top Secret though!!

The plot of TS, when you come to actually think about it, isn't in any way believable - why Hawk? How was he chosen? Who chose him? What are the actual chances of that piece of metal flying through the cables to release the lifeboat into the sea?
But you don't actually think about those things when you read it, by which time you've already got caught up in eeeek! the brutes are winning! to actually care!

Don't get me started on Condor Crags....!

The Susannah Adventure is quite good. Again, there's alot more physical violence than we are used to seeing from EBD, with children being shot at and a big fight with the prospect of one man not making it (a baddie, so not much thought is really given to him!), and the possibility of 2, if not 4, children being murdered.
Seeing EBD write violence is quite bizarre, but in TS especially, she does it very well.

As for EBD's best non-CS book... hmm, I don't know. TS is winning for me at the moment, but I suppose I should with hold judgement until I've read them all!

#3:  Author: LulieLocation: Middlesbrough PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:09 pm
I haven't read Chudleigh Hold (getting it from GGBP!) or any of that series, but I have read quite a few of her non-CS books and they vary immensely. My favourite of the ones which I have read is Kennelmaid Nan and the one I really couldn't finish was Beechy of the Harbour School.

I'm looking forward to reading CH as I enjoy adventure stories. I hope that GGBP publish the rest of the series too.

#4:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:19 pm
Personally, I love Elizabeth the Gallant and I'm also very fond of Kennelmaid Nan.

#5:  Author: Laura VLocation: Czech Republic PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:00 pm
Just finished Chudleigh Hold too and I think it's the best non CS EBD I've read (though I have only read 2 other non CS EBDs!). I particularly enjoyed the comedy elements in the book - especially those about Miss Moseley's teeth! Rather than this being the story/fill-in about Gill Culver's background I think EBD wrote this in character as Joey, making Chudleigh Hold a JMB book rather than an EBD. This would explain the character of Arminel and it being set post-War when it should really have been just before or in the early War years.

#6:  Author: SquirrelLocation: St-Andrews or Dunfermline PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:05 pm
Another vote here for Kennelmaid Nan, I just love the story.

#7:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:31 pm
I loved Kennelmaid Nan, too. It was far more grown up than the others.

#8:  Author: clair PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:46 am
I love both the 'Lorna' books - she's a much more realistic character in many ways! Wish EBD had written more of those ones.
Having dicovered GGBP late I've not managed to get all of the non-CS ones but will do so at some point. Less keen on 'Monica' though

#9:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:34 pm
I have read a couple on the transcripts site but none of them appeal to me as much as CS. For instance, I felt that Beechy was more like a Christian story than a school story. And the happenings in Carnation were way over the top. (I did think it was funny that Carnation's aunt was called Nancy Drew though).

#10:  Author: Cath V-PLocation: Newcastle NSW PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:15 am
I like the two Lorna's and Carnation (although it does annoy me that EBD used that exact and precise 'locking X in the art room so that she misses the tennis match' scenario in Wrong CS).

I have a theory (and almost nothing to substantiate it) that CH started life as a 'catching spies in wartime' book and then as the war years receded, she was asked to rewrite it as more relevant to the early 1950s.

#11:  Author: Ruth BLocation: Oxford, UK PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:19 am
Of the one's I have read I really enjoyed both Janie Steps in and Janie of La Rochelle. I also loved Heather leaves school. I think it is a real shame Janie wasn't developed as a character more in the CS books.

I also enjoyed Judy the Guide. The New Housemistress was ok, but I really couldn't get into the Skelton Hall books.

I think I enjoyed both Heather and Judy as they felt more like other stand alone school stories I have read from the same era and thus were completely different to the CS books.

#12:  Author: SquirrelLocation: St-Andrews or Dunfermline PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:29 am
Hmmm - I wasn't so fond of Judy on my first read through. I think it was because of the strong stand taken on the whole 'our empire' thing. I *think* I've at least read bits of Judy later, and I don't remember feeling it as much, but as I can't recall if I finished it again...

#13:  Author: macyroseLocation: Great White North (Canada) PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:10 pm
My vote for best non-CS book is The Lost Staircase. I like the history/mystery aspects as well as the Dragon House traditions and Jesanne is a nice well rounded character whose problems with adjusting to a new country and her grandfather are believable, plus it has a kitten who plays a major part! Very Happy

#14:  Author: ClareLocation: Liverpool PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:17 pm
I've read the Lorna books, Janeways and The Lost Staircase. Of those I really rate the Lorna books, and I really wish there had been more of them! Janeways were OK, but I haven't read them for a while. I think I found them a bit too old fashioned... I did like the Lost Staircase, but not as much as the Lorna books. I think I prefer the Lorna ones as they are very realistic and the characters are all well developed.

#15:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:47 am
I loved the first Lorna book - one of EBD's best - but am not so keen on the second one. It starts OK, but finishes very abruptly, and I don't really believe in Marigold's reformation.

I also really like Monica - probably because it's got quite a lot of school in it, as well as the family stuff, and because I really like Monica and her brother, too.

#16:  Author: MaeveLocation: Romania PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:32 am
clair wrote:
Having discovered GGBP late I've not managed to get all of the non-CS ones but will do so at some point.

In case you don't know, a lot of EBD's non-CS books are available on the transcript site,

I finally started reading some of the non-CS titles as a result of this discussion. Like others, I love Kennelmaid Nan - it feels much more grown up than the CS, although Nan is only just out of school. Janie Steps In is another favourite. Am looking forward to reading some more after reading all your recommendations.

#17:  Author: FatimaLocation: Sunny Qatar PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:54 pm
Caroline wrote:
I loved the first Lorna book - one of EBD's best - but am not so keen on the second one. It starts OK, but finishes very abruptly, and I don't really believe in Marigold's reformation.

No, I didn't believe in it, either. I'd have liked to see a third book where Marigold tried to reform but didn't quite manage it!

#18:  Author: RóisínLocation: Gaillimh PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:48 am
I think the only non-Chalet/La Roch. EBD that I've read is Monica - does this count as it eventually ties in with the Chalet Series? Anyhow, I thought it was okay, not instantly rereadable or anything like that. I mainly read it so that I could have some background on that family.

I think if EBD's work stood on her one-offs alone then she wouldn't have anything like the name she has today. The Series Factor (to cadge a term from Revisited) accounts for most of her success - her ability to leave each book ending with the prospect of more to come.

Unless that is just me and of course, I haven't even read half the books I'm talking about (the one-offs). Do those who have read them own them, and are they rereadable in the same way as the CS/LR are? Very Happy

#19:  Author: KatherineLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:02 pm
I agree about the series factor. For me it’s the way that there can be some much development of characters over a long period that makes the CS. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I love the way it all weaves in and out over the years.
Interesting to compare with Angela Brazil who is also still pretty well known and wrote a huge number of books but who tended to write one-offs.
I read Jean of Storms recently and I did enjoy that. Might have to have a quick reread and post my thoughts as there were many.

#20:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:08 pm
I also agree about "the series factor". I've read several of the one-offs, and, whilst I enjoyed them, the only ones I'd re-read would be The School by the River (and that's mainly because it vaguely ties in with the CS books because it's set in Mirania) and maybe The Lost Staircase.

#21:  Author: SquirrelLocation: St-Andrews or Dunfermline PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:36 pm
I've actually reread several of the non series books - and I do reread them, but then I think I reread almost every fiction book I come across.

My favourites have to be School by the River, and Kennelmaid Nan of those that I have actually read.

*repeating herself from earlier on in the thread*

#22:  Author: RóisínLocation: Gaillimh PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:39 pm
Oh I forgot about School by the River - I really did enjoy that - it felt like an early CS book.

Should we count one-offs that tie in *somehow* with the CS as one-offs? They are 90% individual, but then the only reason a lot of people bother to seek them out is *because* of that 10% link with the CS. Personally, I've only read one-offs that are connected - I don't have the same urge to read up on say the Susannah Adventure or Judy the Guide etc.

#23:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:56 pm
I am reading Judy the Guide on the transcripts site just now and I am enjoying it, it's well written, but as someone on here mentioned before, there is just too much about the empire. I've barely started it and it's come up a bunch of times already, along with numerous references to 'English' 'English ways' and 'English faces' - this last seemingly describing, among others, Judy, who is in fact Irish and grew up in Canada! Evil or Very Mad

Also, I disliked the political propaganda: 'A guide is loyal'/ 'That means you're not a bolshie'. Grrr conservative attitudes Evil or Very Mad .

The frightening thing is that, compared to some other books of the period I've read, EBD is actually progressive and enlightened!

#24:  Author: SquirrelLocation: St-Andrews or Dunfermline PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:14 pm
I remember going back to reading Judy the Guide, and possibly because I was expecting it, the empire stuff didn't seem as bad as I had thought.

Though to be fair, I never completed my reread - not sure why now - possibly I simply ran out of time and then forgot about it.

#25:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:55 pm
I'm looking forward to the day we have all the La Rochelle books on the transcripts site, until the much happier day that I can afford all the actual books.

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