If you ask me, a Blyton purist, how many books there are in the Malory Towers series I would instantly tell you there are six.
If you asked a modern reader they might well say twelve. Twelve?? That’s double!
This is because in the late 2000s Pamela Cox was commissioned to write six more books in the series. Published in 2009 they pick up where Malory Towers left off, with Felicity in the third form and end when she’s in her sixth year.
Six whole books about Malory Towers that I haven’t read before, amazing!
Half of me is quite excited to sit down and read these. That’s would be the childish half which is saying
Oh wow, more Malory Towers books! I can’t wait to find out what Felicity gets up to after Darrell leaves. Supposedly Gwen reappears too, I wonder what happens to her? Six whole books about Malory Towers that I haven’t read before, amazing!
And then there’s the rational (well, most of the time) grown-up part of me. That is the half that is saying
Well these are likely to be a disappointment, aren’t they? I bet they’re all modern and it just won’t be the same. Do they even count if they’re not written by Blyton? Are we really finding out what happens to Felicity if it’s just someone some random person wrote?
Sadly I think the adult thoughts are most accurate! I have my concerns about how well these books will fit into the established Malory Towers world. Will the characterisations be the same? Will the modernisation be mild enough that you can ignore it (like the updated versions of the original texts)? I mean, I assume it won’t be all mobile phones and internet! Will I like what happens to the girls I know from previous books? Will the newly created characters work?
The six new books
- New Term at Malory Towers
- Summer Term at Malory Towers
- Winter Term at Malory Towers
- Fun and Games at Malory Towers
- Secrets at Malory Towers
- Goodbye Malory Towers
While Darrell and her friends moved up a form each book (more or less, some start at the last term of the year etc) that format wouldn’t have worked for the continuation books.
Felicity had already done the first and second form (in In the Fifth at Malory Towers and Last Term at Malory Towers respectively). I assume they wanted six more books, though, rather than four to match the original books. And so, from what I can gather we get two books based on the third form, one each for the fourth and fifth and then two for the sixth. That makes more sense than what Blyton herself did with St Clare’s with several books for one form and none for others!
I’m certainly intrigued by some of the plots hinted to in the books’ blurbs.
Felicity is head of the third form in New Term at Malory Towers and the other girls are determined to cause trouble. Will Freddie and June ever stop playing tricks? And what’s Amy’s strange family secret?
Now the tricks and a girl with a secret sound like good old Malory Towers story-lines, I’m not sure I can say the same for the names Freddie and Amy!
In Summer Term at Malory Towers someone has stolen Julie’s horse. And there’s money missing too. Can Felicity and the girls find out who would do such a terrible thing? I hope there’s more to the book than just the girls acting as detectives. As much a I love a Blytonian whodunnit, that’s not what Malory Towers is supposed to be about.
Again, Winter Term at Malory Towers looks like it’s going to take a step away from typical boarding-school stories. Susan’s in charge of the winter concert, but new teacher, Miss Tallant, won’t let her make any decisions. When Miss interferes in a midnight feast, the girls realise that there’s a spy in their midst. Susan having a hard time asserting any authority over a school play sounds like a reasonable plot point, but not enough to carry very much of a book you would think. The fifth year’s pantomime from the original books carried almost a whole novel but there were lots of elements and some hefty side-plots too. Anyway, a midnight feast must take up some of the story, that’s a nice Malory Towers tradition – but spies aren’t!
Fun and Games at Malory Towers takes us back to thieves (things begin disappearing. Is there a thief in fifth form?) and presumably stolen goods. I hope it isn’t a rehash of Summer Term. Neither book could do thievery as well as Blyton did with Daphne Hope in Second Form at Malory Towers. June and a new girl are apparently also arguing over what’s more important – a music concert or a tennis tournament – and it’s nice that June’s involvement sports is continued. I would like to see how or if she knuckles down!
Secrets at Malory Towers is billed as a ‘mystery’. What’s with all the secrets? How did Daffy pull off her latest prank? What did Mam’zelle find in her handbag? And why is the new form-mate so strangely familiar? What’s with all the secrets, indeed. It sounds like a strange mish-mash of ‘mysteries’. It’s a boarding school story not a Secret Seven book!
And finally in Goodbye Malory Towers the sixth form girls are to attend finishing school before they’re sent out into the world. They are to learn deportment, etiquette and obedience. That could be interesting as many of them are quite untidy, outspoken and not very lady-like at all. The most interesting part is that it is Gwendoline Mary Lacey that is to be the teacher. I hope she isn’t just shoe-horned in like a famous name making a film cameo. Apparently Darrell also makes an appearance and I really hope she is written well.
I have all six books on my Kindle, just waiting to be read. I plan to read them soon so that I can find out if they’re any good or not – and how Gwendoline does as a teacher!
Next post: New Term at Malory Towers by Pamela Cox