Chiltern School by Mabel Esther Allan. Rose Lesslyn faces many difficulties and challenges when she is uprooted from her lonely life spent with her grandparents on the Isle of Wight, and sent to Sherlenden House school in the Chilterns by her father who lives and works in Canada. Although at first ‘all wrong’ at school, Rose loves the Chilterns, and especially Summerdowns House, ancestral home of her friend Ann St Cloud-Lacey, a beautiful manor house with its Tudor banqueting hall. Rose gradually settles down at school and becomes a respected member of Dormitory Number Seven, and at the end of her second term, her long suppressed and half forgotten talent surprises the school at the Christmas play performed at Summerdowns House.
Mabel Esther Allan originally wrote Chiltern School in 1950. In 1951 it was sold to a well known publisher, but was never actually published and was eventually withdrawn. During the revival of interest in school stories in the late 1980s, Chiltern School was published privately in 1990 by Mabel, this being made possible financially by the success of the Drina series reprints.
Mabel describes Chiltern School as ‘one of my best’, and it owes much to the time she spent at Hampden House as a house mistress, just after the end of World War Two, where she grew to love the house and the surrounding Chiltern countryside, which she explored at every opportunity.
The 2011 edition also includes Mabel’s short story The School That Wasn’t Welsh, also set at Sherlenden House.
Sheila Ray has written an absolutely fascinating introduction on Mabel Esther Allan and Chiltern School, and Helen Ware has compiled a bibliography of all Mabel Esther Allan's books.