Spring Term is set at Kingscote School in the months following Run Away Home. To Lawrie’s delight one of the events planned for an end of term Open Day will enable her to act, but she is bitterly disappointed at Miss Keith’s choice of play. Meanwhile Nicola’s singing ability is throwing her reluctantly into the limelight, and an exchange of letters between herself and Patrick, whose friendship might be developing into something more, causes more problems for Ginty than anyone could ever have imagined.
Sally Hayward has read Antonia Forest since she was about 10 years old. She has gradually collected all the titles, some from GGBP, and has remained deep in them, ever since reading them.
Spring Term has been edited by Tig Thomas, not only a professional editor, but for whom Antonia Forest is a major favourite, and has been copy edited by Laura Hicks who knows more about AF than most of us have forgotten. Spring Term also has the approval of Antonia Forest’s Literary Executor, Sue Sims.
Tig Thomas comments: I’m very wary about continuations and my first reaction on being sent Spring Term to read was one of dismay. I didn’t believe anyone else would be able to do Antonia Forest’s style of writing and I didn’t want to wade through a substandard attempt. Then I started reading and relief spread through me. After two chapters, I was emailing Clarissa in my excitement to say that it was good and GGBP had to do the book. I felt quite simply as if I was being given a chance to learn what happened next in the Marlows' story. I woke up the morning after I’d read Spring Term with the warm feeling you get when something’s gone unexpectedly well with your world –I had read a whole new book about Nick, Patrick, and the rest, and I was still basking in the pleasure of it.
As Sally says in her introduction to the book:
Of course, as every Antonia Forest reader knows …The fate of these characters really mattered! What on earth happened next? How did Ginty fare when she returned from her bolthole? What were Patrick’s true feelings about Nicola, and how would he survive at ‘that terribly tough place’? Was Esther really to be cast into the outer darkness?
Spring Term is her response to the questions. It’s assured, funny, startling, faithful and a great read. For Forest fans who don’t believe it can be done, I say: try it. I think you’ll be surprised.
The GGBP edition of Spring Term was published on 25 October 2011
We have had some wonderful reviews:
Jane Cooper: I've now read Spring Term and think it is excellent. Please pass my thanks and congratulations to Sally Hayward. She has really got Antonia Forest's style and language so well. Not just using expressions like 'natch' and 'blood for breakfast' but the understated, nuanced, implied character both of dialogue and text. And the characters are developing beautifully. Ann begins to grow up through Miss Redmond's betrayal and the aftermath in such a very Annish way. Ginty's fate is horrifying but the possibility of some such outcome was there almost from the beginning (AF's beginning, I mean). I won't go on - it is very clear from the Afterword as well as from the book itself, that Sally knew exactly what she was doing.
Kay Foote: Thank you for sending Spring Term. I have read it all once, and some bits twice. Please will you tell Sally that it is brilliant.
Judy Halls: I've just had a wonderful Sunday afternoon reading Spring Term, read the book in one go ad feel as if I've met up with old friends. Thank you Sally Hayward (and GGB) for a fabulous follow on for Nick, Patrick and the rest. I was so excited when I read that someone was writing a follow up but apprehensive as well but I needn't have worried, The style was spot on, as was the story - I really couldn't tell I wasn't reading an AF book. Please write another one, I'm hungry for more now! Thanks for giving me the best afternoon I've had for ages.
Margaret Lewis: I have just received - and read- my copy of Spring Term and think it is brilliant! I enjoy all your 'fill in' books but think this is one of the best! It’s a super read in itself, but is also so like Antonia Forrest as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now reading it again! is there any chance we might get another follow- on? Please!
Sosefin Malinowski: I have just finished reading Spring Term (having not been able to put it down) and have enjoyed it tremendously. I think she has managed to capture the magic of Antonia Forest perfectly!!!! I sincerely hope that she is going to carry on writing more Kingscote books as I, and I am sure everyone who has read Spring Term, is anxiously looking forward to finding out what happens next. … I have been a massive Antonia Forest fan since my discovery of Autumn Term in a charity shop in my school days nearly 30 years ago and I am thrilled to finally be able to read such a fabulous continuation of the story.
Rachael Milling: I've just finished Spring Term and I had to tell you how much I enjoyed it. Sally Haywood has done the seemingly impossible in writing convincingly in the style of Antonia Forrest. Please pass on my congratulations to her if it is possible.
Alison Oliver: I received Spring Term in the post this morning.....3 hours of glorious immersion this afternoon - I emerged, rising back to the surface like a trout, in the aftermath of a good read- totally wonderful. I really did not think AF could be followed but sally has done an excellent job...please thank her and thank you for publishing it....happiness is! …. Later: I am currently rereading it for the 3rd time since receiving Spring Term last Sat!! Bliss!!!!
Pat Barker: I have just finished the new Antonia Forrest book, would you thank the author for me , it is a marvellous book, the characters seem more rounded somehow and we learn more aspects of their thoughts. I ended up feeling so sorry for Ginty! I'm going to read it again so I'll probably get back to you. Also discovered a new composer for our early music choir so I thank her for that as well.
Lucy Proctor: I just wanted to say thank-you for Spring Term. I had been very uncertain about whether to order this, since I felt that Antonia Forest was an impossible act to follow, but still couldn't resist the lure to find out more about the Marlows. After reading the book in one sitting, I can say that I am very very happy to have purchased it. It feels like AF wrote it, with the fabulously long, complicated sentences and the literature references, and the characters continue to ring true for me. Please commission its sequel straight away!
Jane Quinn: I would just like to write and say how much I enjoyed Sally Hayward’s book Spring Term. I was very wary of reading someone else’s continuation of Antonia Forest’s series, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The book exceeded my expectations in every way. She has captured the essence of Antonia Forest’s style.
Karen Stewart: I have just finished reading Spring Term and wondered if you could pass on my most sincere thanks to Sally for writing this - as you are no doubt aware us Forest fans have always felt a bit lost at sea not knowing what happened next and Sally has been able to take up the reins and show us exactly what did happen, using a voice that is uncannily like Antonia Forest's. I am sure Sally will be inundated with fan mail and vociferous thanks, I just wanted to add mine fresh from finishing the book.
Arabella Styles: Spring Term arrived yesterday morning and I have just finished it this evening; what a fabulous read it was! Sally Hayward did an amazing job of bringing AF's writing back to life (even her distinctive punctuation style with lots of hyphens), and the plot had me simply glued to the pages! Poor Ginty though, she had a terribly rough time, I felt awfully sorry for her! I loved how Dr Herrick was portrayed, had his character sort of unwrapped, and Nicola stayed true to life throughout. As for Tim, she was perfectly portrayed! Please pass on my thanks for such a brilliant read and please could Sally write another sequel?
Samantha Taylor: I have just read Sally's book (twice without a break) and I would be grateful if you could pass on my most sincere congratulations. It is a triumph. I am certain Antonia Forest would have been pleased and proud. I have been reading about the Marlow family for more years than I care to recall and I was bitterly disappointed, as well as so sad for the loss of a brilliant writer who had created people who really lived for me, when I heard of Antonia Forest's death. To finally read the next chapter and in a tone, language and spirit I felt to be truly in keeping with the characters and their world has been a joy. PLEASE would Sally consider writing more. I am sure many people would be keen to see how everyone grows up and how Ginty, who is at a pivotal point, moves forward (or not I suppose). Even if Sally feels unable to write about the Marlow's she really should not waste a clear talent.
Helen Thornton: I just wanted to say that my copy of Spring Term has arrived and I think it's fantastic! If possible please could you pass on my congratulations to Sally Hayward for writing such a great book, and also thanks to you for publishing it! Here's hoping she can do another one!
Kristen Thornton: Just a quick email to let you know how much I enjoyed Spring Term by Sally Hayward. It arrived safely in Australia last week and I read it straight away, then reread it on the weekend. It is a remarkable achievement – I didn’t think it would be possible to emulate Antonia Forest’s highly individual style, but Sally has done a wonderful job and produced a worthwhile book in its own right – not just a pastiche.
Veronica Wolstenholme: Got home from a trip at 8.30 this evening, there it was! Eagerly awaited since Run Away Home, the next instalment of the Marlows' story. I made a pot of coffee and retreated to bed for three hours of real pleasure. It is a brilliant tour de force to have written such a seamless continuation of a complex family and school series. The use of language, characterisation was impressive, only Peter, as always, defied comfort. AF did not ever appear to have a secure grasp on the second son and his insecurities, and again he is overwritten. But a tiny point of dissent in a huge achievement. (I could almost feel the way Nicola was unwillingly being drawn into the ambience and beliefs of true Christianity through her time in the cathedral.) Please do not let it end here.
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