Wintle's Wonders is my favorite NS.  So much so, in
fact, that I suggest that children in my library start
with it, rather than with Ballet Shoes.  I don't think
that Wintle's Wonders is the better book - just that
it's more accessible for children today.  Rachel is a
well-drawn character, and I think Hilary is adequately
characterized.  I'm not sure that she _could_ be more
deeply characterized; she lives so much on the surface
of things that I don't think there's much below to
write about.  
   That said, I agree about Dulcie and her mother as
cardboard villains.  Certainly they appeared that way
to RachelandHilary (one of my favorite bits in the
book, that - they begin to be lumped together and
called "tiresome").  The events are unlikely, but the
book is (for me, at least) a loveable bit of fluff. 
   And yes - "Fancy, a shark! And him an Honourable
too!" is one of NS's best lines.
   Allison (who might have to re-read tonight)

--- Ann Dowker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> What do people think of "Wintle's Wonders"? I think
> that Rachel's 
> mistaken sense of responsibility for Hilary's
> dancing, and the 
> ways in which her reaction to her mother's death are
> misunderstood,
> are very well done. But I think that the book as a
> whole is marred
> by Streatfield's obvious distaste for the world that
> she's 
> describing. In her other books, there are lots of
> improbabilities
> of plot, but they are carried along by enthusiasm
> and by the 
> characters. In "Wintle's Wonders", Rachel is a very
> good character;
> but Hilary isn't seen enough from the inside, and
> Dulcie is a bit
> pasteboard [e.g. Miranda in "Curtain Up" is a
> somewhat similar 
> character, but much more believable]. Also, there
> are rather too
> many dramatic fates carrying off various characters
> in the first 
> chapter; though these do provide one of the best
> lines of the 
> book, when Mrs. Wintle comments on the fate of
> Pursey's former 
> charge: "Fancy, a shark! And him an Honourable too!"
> Ann

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