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Swiss School by Mabel Esther Allan
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Recovering from a bad bout of pneumonia, British schoolgirl Felicity Boden is dismayed to learn that she is being sent to Switzerland for her health, and will not be allowed to return to her beloved boarding school in north Wales for at least three terms. Deeply attached to her schoolmates at Llanrhysydd Castle, and to the progressive ethos of the co-educational school, Felicity is unhappy at the idea of being a new girl at The Oberland School for Girls, where she knows no one, and where she will be forced to endure a far more traditional, rules-bound educational experience. Despite her reluctance, the sensible Felicity is soon established at Oberland, where she befriends the half-Swiss, half-English Hanni, as well as Italian-Swiss girl Tamina. The latter friendship soon causes trouble, however, as jealous Brigitta, a fiery Italian girl from Milan, whose influence upon Tamina is now being discouraged by headmistress Miss Esmond, determines that Felicity is her enemy. Jealous of the newcomer's developing friendship with her erstwhile boon companion, as well as of her many accomplishments - Felicity is an excellent student, a gifted singer, and is soon a proficient skier - Brigitta makes trouble for the British girl as often as she can. Fortunately for Felicity, she has many other friends who make her experiences in Switzerland pleasant ones...

Although connected to the earlier School Under Snowdon, which was set at Llanrhysydd - there is even a brief mention here of that book's heroine, Verity Armitage - Swiss School is less of a sequel than a related school story set in the same fictional world. I found the contrast between the reluctant Verity, who did not want to attend Llanrhysydd in School Under Snowdon, and the reluctant Felicty, who did not want to be parted from Llanrhysydd here, quite interesting. Although there are many paeans in Swiss School to the superior qualities of the educational experience at Llanrhysydd - Mabel Esther Allan is known for creating school stories set at progressive co-educational institutions where the pupils play a large role in governing themselves and the school - there is also the acknowledgement here that more traditional schools can also offer a valuable experience. In particular, Felicity learns to appreciate the opportunity to study with girls of many nationalities, and to learn a multitude of new languages. That said, I'm not sure I was convinced by her decision, at the close of the story, to remain in Switzerland for the duration of her education, rather than return eventually to Llanrhysydd, as I think her long-standing attachment to her earlier school and friends would have had more of a pull than her fondness for the new. On the other hand, perhaps Allan was attempting to emphasize that some schools are better for some pupils, at different times in their lives, and that education should not be a one-size-fits-all endeavor. However that may be, this was an engaging story, one I would recommend to lovers of the girls' school-story genre, if they can obtain it. Although the reading experience will be enhanced by having read School Under Snowdon (as well as various Allan stories also set at Llanrhysydd), it is not essential. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 24, 2015 |
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Felicity Boden was almost recovered from a bad bout of colds and bronchitis, and her mother broke the news that her doctor recommended she go to a different school from the one she attended in Wales. Her mother suggested a boarding school in Switzerland and Felicity set out to the Oberland School for girls in the snowy mountains. She finds it hard to accept the strict rules after the co-educational, progressive education she had in Wales. Felicity inadvertantly lands between the friendship of two girls, one of whom is Brigitta, who was a bad influence to Tamina the previous term. Brigitta does her best to land Felicity in trouble, jealous of their friendship, but will she succeed?
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