Educator Charlotte Fairlie isn’t yet thirty, and yet has been engaged at headmistress of the elite St. Elizabeth’s–much to the displeasure of the hateful, hopeful aspirant to the title. In between the petty staff room politics, her pursuit by the local boys’ school headmaster, troublesome new girl Tessa, the school board, the local gossips, and the trauma of the upcoming school play to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, it isn’t quite the dream job Charlotte had imagined.
Then there is the actual trauma experienced by one of Charlotte’s students — and her brother — at the hands of an emotionally abusive father. That part of the book is strangely upsetting fare for a Stevenson book (at least, on my new acquaintanceship with her), and it is very well handled, and also a somewhat surprising inclusion to the story, given the seen-and-not-heard times in which it was written.
Charlotte’s incipient happy ending is very predictable from very early on in this piece (which is fine; I even like that in a book, sometimes) but the inclusion of the tortured-kids subplot overcomes the book’s twee cuteness and makes it very much a School Book for Grownups. Which I also very much like in a book.
TBR DAY 174: Charlotte Fairlie by D. E. Stevenson
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
TIME ON THE TBR: ~1 year.
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon