Poppy’s Book of the Month: House-at-the-Corner

Title: House-at-the-Corner
Series: None
Main Characters: The Farrell Family & Aunt Grace
Published: 1947
First Published By: Lutterworth Press
Rating: 5 out of 5

House-at-the-Corner differs quite dramatically from Enid’s more common genre of books, I find; though it still shows the plain love and care towards the children she is writing for. This splendid novel begins by introducing cross Aunt Grace. She’s an interfering, meddlesome character whose heart is in the right place all the same. She proves a very decent person, (although she has her faults) having helped her nephew, Mr Farrell, through a lot of problems and helping the family through a hard time once again.

The characters in this book include pretty little Pam, who proves rather spiteful and Tony, a careless trickster – rather like Alicia from Malory Towers – malicious and fun loving. There’s the twins, Delia and David, who are so fond of each other and gardening that they hardly seem to be aware of their family, and finally poor Lizzie who does not shine very much beside her elder sister, Pam. She wears a brace round her teeth and glasses over her eyes which had grown weak after she has recovered from measles. Their parents, Mr and Mrs Farrell, remind me of Gwendoline Lacey’s parents, from the Malory Towers books. Mr Farrell seems sensible enough, but Mrs Farrell certainly resembles a milder version of Mrs Lacey. She spoils her two eldest children because they are pretty and intelligent. She pays no attention to the others thinking they are not capable of doing something worth bothering about.

And so the book begins with Aunt Grace longing to teach a few members of the family a lesson. Pam is going in for a scholarship and Tony has not a care in the world. He does not bother working – he prefers playing tricks to make people laugh. He vows he will work hard next year in ‘Snorter’s Class’ – “Just let me have a little fun in old Blinky’s class.” Delia and David are working hard at the garden, and Lizzie has a tremendous secret she shares only with Aunt Grace. She has a talent for writing stories and after sending them off to a few different newspapers, she finally gets her work published in the Rivers End Weekly, which she must write stories for every week. She does not confide in any other member of the family, afraid that they will laugh. And so the book goes on, Pam accepting the leading role of a play her school is performing and over working most dramatically. She becomes bad tempered and unkind to her family. Tony plays a dangerous trick which results in a boy being sent to hospital. He has a heavy load on his conscience which forces him to go and see the vicar. He then gets a job a farm,as he’s not allowed to go back to school. The twins make plans to go off to boarding school so they can be together. Then, all ends in a serious accident. This erases all the good plans and wishes and hopes for the future, and all the family must pull together to get through.

This splendid family book certainly deserves a five star rating for such a great storyline and a fantastic range of characters. I would recommend this book to boys and girls of eight and over. The story is fascinating, and the plot is great. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who has not yet read it!

First edition dustjacket, illustrated by Elsie Walker

First edition dustjacket, illustrated by Elsie Walker

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