When I first started this novel, I had no idea that it was a sequel and I believe this book works just as well as a stand alone novel.
At the beginning we are introduced to a multitude of characters and it becomes rather confusing within the first couple of chapters trying to figure out who is who in the story. From children, to teachers, to the mayor, to the caretaker, shopkeepers and everyone in-between; this book makes sure no one is left out in this village tale.
Mrs Elisabeth Devine is headteacher at the local school and her pupils and staff are thriving from her leadership. She feels she has finally settled in her role as well as settling in the village…but life likes to throw twists in every direction and when a school merger with their arch rival is proposed, Elisabeth has to prove she has what it takes. But in a village where everyone knows everyone and gossip spreads like wildfire, add in new arrivals to the village…it only spells one thing for this village…TROUBLE.
You can tell that Gervase Phinn was a teacher and a school inspector, when you read the book you can detect the little hints of what it’s actually like, a truth from real life. Two things I absolutely adore from his writing and this novel is the colloquialism and how the children are written.
Colloquialism defines a formal word or expression more suitable in speech than in writing.
I’ll explain this further…this book is set in Yorkshire. A lot of the characters in the book including children are written with Yorkshire accents. See the picture below for an example of this. Whilst on the topic, the picture below also shows my favourite quote from the book (the quote at the top of the page).
My love of how the children are written derives from the reality. My mum is a teaching assistant and I have gone to help in classes previously. Instantly you can tell the children who are loud, who want to be heard; the children who are the trouble makers – who’d rather not pay attention or undertake the activities given to them; those children who are quiet and those that need a little extra help. They’re written with love, each and every child. Some of the terms and phrases in the book used by the children made me laugh and smile because that’s exactly what you’d expect.
It’s a loveable book, a book which reminds us all that behind every person there is a story, behind every person there is a talent. Sometimes we all need a little help, a little bit of encouragement.
Until next time,