Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Rules by Jane Beaton

It’s Maggie's second year at Downey House, an independent school for girls in Cornwall. Her new job has changed her expectations and outlook on life and not everyone likes the changes. She's now engaged to Stan and the pressure is on for her to return to Glasgow and settle down and fit back into her old ways, however, the attractions of English teacher, David are tempting and she's not sure about where her future lies. Throw in the dilemma created for headteacher Veronica Deveral's when her long lost adopted son reappears and the misdemeanours of the second year girls and it's a grown up boarding school book!

I thought the first book "Class" was good fun and looked forward to this coming out. It is a nostalgic book for everyone who loved their Malory Towers et al in their childhood, but I'm not convinced there's enough to keep the series going to the projected six novels and I doubt I'll pursue the series any further.
Firstly, I don't really like Maggie any more, which is a bit of an issue for the heroine. In the first book she was uncertain of fitting in the "posh" school and was interesting due to this, but now she's a bit bland and preoccupied with her dilemma between Stan and David. That brings me to the next problem; I don't like either of them either! Stan is an inverted snob and unfortunately Beaton uses every anti-English stereotype possible. David is fey and pretentious - why call your dog that?! I know he's brilliantly clever, but honestly! It's all a bit unconvincing and I don't see the problem, neither are worth the fuss.
Veronica Deveral had more promise and I was expecting a really meaty back story but the incorrect detail about Sheffield and the mysterious Russian lover didn't work for me. The relationship with Daniel, the son she gave up for adoption seemed to develop into cosy too quickly and was a missed opportunity for character development.
The schoolgirls are nicely self obsessed and evil to each other, but eating disorders are old hat and again, they are not pushed to their full potential, although they get up to bother, they don't push it sufficiently to be convincing teenagers.
The best character is Claire the French teacher, I think she's great, but under used! Give her something interesting to do, rather than just looking fabulous and moaning about the English drinking too much.

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