Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Friend for Frances - P.M. Warner

I'm quietly taking some time away from the relentless (and wonderful) Olympic coverage, but there's only so much sport that a resolutely unsporty person can watch. I could, of course, read a girls' own novel about a sports star, but I'm trying to work back through unread purchases and see what I think of them. Closest to hand was A Friend for Frances (c. 1950s). P.M. Warner's A Friend for Frances was picked up in the local charity shop a while ago. I did think about posting a photograph, but it's a battered, blue boarded Seagull edition without the dustwrapper, so not exactly photogenic. Now, the magic words of 'Collins Seagull' encouraged me to take it home with me and give it a try. This Collins Seagulls usually have good dustwrappers and a certain charm about them. The plain blue boards don't, so you have to hope for a good story.

Frances is clever, but poor, so almost prevented from taking up her place at the High School because of the associated costs of uniform and equipment. She's also a farmer's daughter and able to earn a little money looking after the hens. Frances is nice and rather shy - interested in flowers and a good friend if slightly shambolic about getting up in the morning and scruffy around the edges until her elder sister persuades her that smart dresses and a good haircut improve her confidence. The book seems to be about her efforts to join a school trip to Holland to look at the bulb fields and her growing friendship with Deborah - a newcomer to the village. So far, hopeful.

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