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Sailboat adventure

REREAD: The Fortunes of Jacky

The Fortunes of Jacky: Katharine L. Oldmeadow The Children’s Press (This impression 1968)

So, we come to the last of my Oldmeadows, a collection that’s increased by one since I took to rereading them (see the tags). I’ve owned this book for many a year, although it was fun to reread it as an adult, while knowing full well that some of the girls who longed for adventure were going to get it, and then some.

Oldmeadow has here yet another eccentric but charming school, and a sensible heroine who attends it. The Blys have decided to turn their London-based school into an outdoors one for a whole summer term, and have purchased a campsite on the delightful Dorest coast, naming it Rainbow’s End. They have barely arrived when they meet Jacintha Drew, whose unsatisfactory stepfather has abandoned her to the Vicarage with few possessions. She more or less throws herself on the school, but it’s a good thing this ‘girl of resource’ has done so, because the school’s cook resigns as soon as she sees the place, finding the set-up too primitive for her tastes. Unlike the schoolgirls and staff, Jacky has a good idea of how to feed a score of hungry people.

In the eyes of most of the girls, Jacky, who has lived in the wilds of Canada among other places and is remarkably capable, is exotic. But as the adults can see, she’s also a homeless, abandoned girl who is an odd mixture of pride and great common sense. Indeed, Jacky both finds a school and a family in headmistress Mrs Bly, her husband Professor Bly and their daughter Felicity, who is the youngest girl of this school, and whose delicacy helped inspire the whole camp school venture, the idea being that a more outdoorsy life would strengthen her.

Jacky is sort of forced into coming up with a secret society to sate her new friends, even though the idea isn’t to her taste at all. She wants to settle down, not pander to the kind of things storybook schoolgirls get up to!

The various elements of this book have become iconic to me: Lob’s Scouse, the Boys Brigade, the different coloured dresses the girls wear according to age, the Japanese prints, the wigwam (although this time around, I noted the hodgepodge of Native American and Ancient Greek beliefs) and the cricket, which the girls much prefer to Mrs Bly’s beloved Greek dancing. I did remember enough to know what was coming when Jacky and her friends met Bill, the owner of the ship known as ‘the lovely lady’. In the main, it was a pleasure to reread this book.

This entry was originally posted at http://feather-ghyll.dreamwidth.org/112902.html. Please comment wherever you prefer to.


You make me want to read it again! I really enjoy Oldmeadow.
She writes with bags of charm, there's a humour there and common sense, both balanced out by taking serious things seriously and a sense of play. I hope to get a hold of more of her books.
Girl reader

March 2018



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