Clover Cottage, Frances Cowen, 1958
Young Solario, Marjorie Siddall, 1951
Windmill Hill, Wyn Brocklebank, 1962
The House by the Sea, Hilda Boden, 1962
I have a weakness for children’s books in the second (or even third) rank, often ‘Reward’ books, the kind which were given out as prizes. After immersing myself in new autumn books for a while, I went back in time and read some cosy Girlsown-style books. I have several books by Frances Cowen and I think most people will know The Secret of Grange Farm and The Secret of the Loch. I’ve always thought her a good writer. I looked her up to check the publishing dates of Clover Cottage and found that the British Library lists fifty four books by her, only a few of them for children. Clover Cottage is a happy family tale. Father is often away at sea, Mother lives in a basement flat with elder daughter Margaret (the heroine), a set of twins and a baby. It’s hard work, money is short and when schools break up for the summer, there’s not much chance of a holiday away from the town. Then a solicitor’s letter arrives, telling Mother she’s inherited a cottage in the country. The cottage is in a poor state of repair but Margaret falls in love with it and is convinced they can improve it and live there. The family go to stay on a nearby farm and the rest of the book is about the restoration of the cottage, with a couple of mysteries and a late spanner in the works to spice it up. This book is for you if, like me, you enjoy stories about houses and housekeeping.
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