I posted last week about how pleased I was to have acquired the third book in a trilogy. It was the last in a series of books by Freda C Bond, about the Lancaster family. Here’s the first, The End House. I spotted it years ago in a second hand bookshop. I knew nothing about the author but it took my fancy and I was right, I liked it a lot. Mrs Lancaster has been widowed while only in her forties and with six children to bring up. The family has to leave a large house in the country, move to a much smaller one in a town and give up the cars, maids and gardener. ‘Poor’ is a relative term for them, as is usual with books of this type. Faithful Bridget goes with them to cook and clean, there’s no trouble affording paint and curtains for the new house and those children still at private schools stay there, if not for long. Nevertheless, there are problems ahead.
The book was published in 1943 but is set in 1937/8, so no war yet. There are four girls: June, the artistic, selfish one who doesn’t pull her weight at home; Alison the domesticated home-lover; Rosemary, sporty and fun but not obviously talented; nice, practical Susan, who loves gardening. For light relief there are the much younger twin boys Nicky and Dick and later in the story, a Siamese cat. How the family copes with changed circumstances and the older girls find jobs makes for an interesting story, with a camping holiday as part of a travelling theatre run by their cousins thrown in. I love to have original dustwrappers on these old books. The back of this one features the latest Lone Pine books by Malcolm Saville. Hardly the same market, I’d have thought, as The End House is definitely a book for older girls, like Jam Tomorrow or Gwendoline Courtney’s books. ( Collapse )