I've just read my first Dorita Fairlie Bruce book, The Girls of St Bride's.
I loved the book, but think the girls sound pretty awful on the whole, only
liking people if they have done anything "for the school". And as for the
"sneaking", if the other girls' lives were at risk then Winifred/Cynthia
should have been thanked. I like Morag and Christine though, hope they don't
become too St Bride-ish later on.
I'm not sure whether you'll be disappointed when you read the next book, Nancy at St. Bride´s, Avital. The St. Bride's/Nancy series is rather complex; only three of the books are set at St. Bride's - with several years between them - and the rest in Maudsley Grammar School, a day school in south England, and the last one in Scotland during the War. The Girls of St. Bride's was evidently not intended as part of a series, as the idea of a series from the same school was more or less founded by DFB, with the Dimsie books, and EJO by this time. Girls of St. Bride's plays the same part as a 'prequel' to a series as Girls of the Hamlet Club.
Nancy at St. Bride's is a retrospective book about Nancy's first term at St. Bride's, before she gets to Maudsley. It takes place several years after GOSB, when Christine is a prefect; Morag has left school but appears briefly in this book. Nancy Goes Back is set several years later again, when Nancy returns for a last year and meets some of her contemporaries from her first sejour.
I'm not sure if Christine in the second book turns into what you call 'St. Bride-ish' GOSB is very much about how Morag, Cynthia and the juniors fights against what must be the tendencies you dislike in the other seniors - some of them are not intended to be very nice -. Don't you even like Christine's set among the juniors? I'm not wholly sure I undersand exactly what you mean by 'St. Bride-ish'; being too obsessed about what you can do for the school is very common in school stories, for good or bad.
Girls of St. Bride's is one of my favourite DFBs, both for the setting and atmosphere and the skilfull handling on the plot. Inchmore is in this book said to be in the Outer Hebrides, but it's seen from the two later books that it's really Great Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde - which is sometimes counted among the Inner Hebrides - opposite Largs, which, as 'Redchurch' and 'Colmskirk', is the centre of DFB land in Scotland.
DFB Website: http://home.swipnet.se/flickbok/bruce.html
I'm afraid I haven't had time to finish the short summaries I was rash enough to promise long ago<g>
In reading order:
The Girls of St. Bride's
Nancy at St. Bride's
That Boarding School Girl (Maudsley)
The New Girl and Nancy (Maudsley)
Nancy to the Rescue (Maudsley)
The Best Bat In the School (Maudsley)
Nancy in the Sixth (Maudsley)
Nancy Returns to St. Bride's (Maudsley)
Nancy Calls the Tune
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