Greyladies Books is a relatively new imprint started by the owner of The Old Children’s Bookshelf in Edinburgh. The idea is to publish adult novels by authors better known for their children’s titles, all in a distinctive striped livery. Some of these books are very scarce and much sought after by collectors. I’ve just had an orgy of Greyladies, reading three in two days after they were kindly lent to me.
The first was Poppies for England by Susan Scarlett, better known as Noel Streatfeild. I’m sure that given a chunk of this book as an unseen I’d have spotted the author straight away; it all seemed so familiar. Two cosy families, a lot of stage talk, beautiful but selfish daughter, another girl talented but overlooked. The story is set just after the Second World War. Family members must get to know each other again, everyone is tired of queues and shortages; coupons feature. The theatrical families make the most of a summer season by the sea as do the literally happy campers, who have a wonderful time. I was bored by the endless descriptions of stage business and costumes, perhaps because I’d read so much like it in Streatfeild’s other books. To be fair, she thought nothing of her Susan Scarlett books but this one is very slight indeed. I’d rather read Wintle’s Wonders and that’s far from being a favourite.
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