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'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Daisy » 13 Sep 2017, 21:52

I have got "All because of Posy" and "Gypsy at Greywalls".
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby timv » 14 Sep 2017, 08:35

Thanks for the information on the Abbey Rewards authors, Rob, Courtenay, and all the others. I'll see what I can find round the second hand and charity shops, though there are fewer of the former around Hants and Dorset than there were around ten years ago. (I generally use Chichester, Alton and Petersfield, occasionally Arundel.) it strikes me that now Viv's shop is gone there's surely a gap for a Blyton second hand shop in the Purbeck region, where thanks to the recent magazine articles tourists should be more aware of the link - at the moment you get saturation mentions of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austin in Dorset and little of anyone else!

It's a matter of luck to come across books by less well-known authors, even nowadays the well-regarded and unusual 1940s-70s books by my own favourite Antonia Forest. I've rarely come across any of the 1940s-50s countryside 'Crusoe' series by 'David Severn', for instance, set around Hatfield Forest in Essex near Stansted Airport, though these are well written . There are piles of second hand Famous Five books from the 1970s around at the moment, and quite a lot of 1950s-60s Five hardback editions, yet very few Six Cousins or Circus books or pre-1960 Adventure series editions. Similarly with Elsie J Oxenham's Abbey series, where the abridged 1960s Collins hardbacks are frequent but her books with other publishers rare; and there are plenty of Ransome 1960s hardbacks. (I imagine most of the Abbey Rewards 'coastal mystery' titles were commissioned as fitting into the established Enid/ Saville mystery market given the dates.) I suspect that some shops turn down the less well known authors as more difficult to sell.
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Courtenay » 14 Sep 2017, 08:54

timv wrote:it strikes me that now Viv's shop is gone there's surely a gap for a Blyton second hand shop in the Purbeck region, where thanks to the recent magazine articles tourists should be more aware of the link - at the moment you get saturation mentions of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austin in Dorset and little of anyone else!


Good thought — I assume the Jane Austen connection with Dorset is Lyme Regis, where a significant scene in Persuasion is set? I agree, there should be a lot more about Enid Blyton as well. I had no idea about her connection with Dorset until I had a couple of brief holidays over there some years ago and encountered the Ginger Pop Shop, then also found the book Enid Blyton and Her Enchantment with Dorset, by Andrew Norman. (I think I bought it from the Brownsea Island visitor centre.) There's definitely scope for much more of a "Blyton Country" kind of promotion!

Back to your idea about Abbey Rewards Literary Landscapes, we came to the possibility that Kilmadrochit in The Mystery of the Island is based on the real-life island of Kerrera, just off Oban in the Inner Hebrides (the posts about it are now in the other thread). I suppose one would have to find out whether Isobel Knight ever lived in or frequently visited that area in order to prove a connection, or at least show that it's likely. Maybe one can't prove these things for sure, anyway... I'm thinking of all the claims that Corfe Castle in Dorset "is" Kirrin Castle, when, although Enid certainly visited it and may have picked up some inspiration from it, her own statement was that she based Kirrin Island and Castle directly on a real island and castle she saw somewhere around Jersey!! :roll:
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 14 Sep 2017, 10:19

It seems that Dorset is going back to how it used to be 'pre-Viv' - when I first visited, expecting, at least, to find lots of EB books in the secondhand bookshops, I actually found two or three, but no more. In fact, there were far more EB books in secondhand shops in Devon, Somerset, Warwickshire and Staffs than in Dorset back then. Dorset always seemed ashamed of the Blyton connection and there was no Blyton Trail, no talk of her on Dorset leaflets...just talked about in hushed tones maybe. Viv changed all that. I would even go so far as to say she did it single-handed.

Anyway - back to the Abbey Rewards...and Isobel Knight - a bit awkward that this is now in two different threads, lol - but it seems Isobel Knight was very much into Islands, if you do a search on eBay! I think we mentioned this previously, but most of her books seem to be set on islands (though most are for younger children). :-D Perhaps she was inspired time and again by the same area. Perhaps she lived there?

I remember the thing that impressed me as a child, having read many EB books which had fictional settings (except for very few) was that The Mystery of the Island featured real places, such as Oban, which in the book is just across the mainland.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Courtenay » 14 Sep 2017, 10:58

Rob Houghton wrote:Anyway - back to the Abbey Rewards...and Isobel Knight - a bit awkward that this is now in two different threads...


Sorry, Rob, that's my fault — I was the one who asked for it. :oops: :oops:

Rob Houghton wrote:I remember the thing that impressed me as a child, having read many EB books which had fictional settings (except for very few) was that The Mystery of the Island featured real places, such as Oban, which in the book is just across the mainland.


Aha, I'd forgotten (I've only read the book once) that Oban gets specifically mentioned — which is good enough evidence that Kilmadrochit IS a literary version of the real-life Kerrera. Here we are:

Image

Well, that's a start for Tim's next Literary Landscapes, at least! :D
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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 14 Sep 2017, 11:11

Yes, they actually go to Oban for supplies - or the supplies come in a boat from Oban, and I think Mum goes there to catch a train etc, and the hospital is there. I'm pretty sure that Kerrera must have been the real-life inspiration for Kilmadrochit. :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 14 Sep 2017, 21:38

Courtenay wrote:
Rob Houghton wrote:Anyway - back to the Abbey Rewards...and Isobel Knight - a bit awkward that this is now in two different threads...

Sorry, Rob, that's my fault — I was the one who asked for it. :oops: :oops:

If an author is being discussed in detail, it makes sense to use a dedicated thread (especially if a lot of people have shown an interest in that particular author) because it makes the information easier to find at a later date.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Rob Houghton » 14 Sep 2017, 23:00

I do agree, Anita - it was just that we seemed to be referencing things that were in the other thread, lol! :lol: As 'the Mystery of the Island' is an Abbey reward, it sort of fits in both threads, and I forget which one I said what in! :oops: :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 15 Sep 2017, 07:26

I know what you mean, and sometimes it's difficult making decisions about these things!
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: 'Abbey Rewards for Boys and Girls' and similar books

Postby timv » 15 Sep 2017, 08:31

Thanks for the information on Kilmadrochit and Oban. I do have a 'Literary Landscapes' idea for Highlands Scotland lined up, but as with so many other areas it depends on finding enough authors to cover the region to an adequate extent! For Enid, I presume that she used a mixture of Oban and Mallaig as the anonymous port at the end of the railway from London in 'Sea of Adventure' where the Trents, Mannerings and Bill board their motor-boat to head off through the sea of islands to the puffins' island. Possibly the Shians off Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (owned by the literary Nicolson family of Sissinghurst and featured on TV in 2016? in Adam N's 'The Last Seabird Summer') gave her an idea for the remoter islands; if anyone can find this series on the internet this would give them an idea of what the sort of islands featured in this book look like. Also, of course , the two Adventurous Four books. But did Enid ever have a hotel holiday in the Highlands or was it too remote ?
Another author in the same vein of holiday mysteries as the 'Abbey Rewards' series, though as far as I know not featured in it directly, is Sheila Stuart with her 1960s-70s 'Alison' series, set in remote Sutherland. These are virtually impossible to find too.
The Jane Austen connection is mainly with Lyme Regis from her ?1804 holiday there and the use of it in 'Persuasion'; the famous steps on the Cobb harbour wall are dangerous even now and get shut now and again by 'Health and Safety' worries. She also mentions adjoining Charmouth beach at one point, and presumably walked there. I think she also visited Teignmouth in nearby Devon. As well as the Enid connection with Budleigh Salterton, the post-2nd WW 'saga' writer R F Delderfield had a local connection, as he grew up at Exmouth and put this and his Exmoor school into his books..
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