World of Girls – L T Meade

The next book off my pile to read from the auction lots I bought.

This one is a school story first published in July 1886.  This copy is from December 1899 and has a beautiful cover that illustrates a point in the story.

The story is, roughly, that Hester, a newly motherless girl, is sent to boarding school and feels insulted by Annie, the first girl she meets.  Annie is a favourite amongst the others but soon finds herself ostracised when spiteful mischief breaks out in the school and it looks as though she has done it.  Things become worse when Hester’s sister comes to school and takes to Annie.  The final part of the story involves Annie running away to rescue Hester’s small sister from a band of gipsies and the true culprit of the spiteful deeds being discovered.

In other words, despite this story being over 100 years old it is a school story like any other school story and I was surprised by how relevant it felt.

There were some oddities, such as the girls referring to each other as Miss Thornton and Miss Temple etc.  The language feels a bit prissy and stilted in places too.

The most frustrating bit was being able to pick out who the mischief-maker was very early on. I don’t know whether this is because I’m an adult reading a children’s book or because it’s easy to spot. There’s also no real reason given as to why the girl decided to carry out these acts.

Overall though if you have a small girl in the family who likes school stories and wants something a bit different to read I’d recommend giving L T Meade a go.

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