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CS 34a Millies of the Chalet School by Sarah Wright


The Chalet School finishing branch, now called St Mildred’s, is starting a new term and three girls are finding it hard to settle.  Angela Howard didn’t expect to continue at any school and can’t manage easily to fit into St Mildred’s ways after the rigidity of the Sacred Heart Convent.  Polly Winterton is missing her sister Lalla, as a late change of plans means that Lalla stays behind at the main school branch.  And for Tatiana Khavasky the change is the biggest of all.  The Russian girl has to learn to fit in with schoolgirls with whom she has little in common, and whose languages she speaks only imperfectly.  The story is full of entertaining incidents and thoughtful interludes as the girls and their schoolfriends move towards adulthood, with the help of their teachers and the ever-understanding Jo Maynard.

Millies of the Chalet School is set in the same term as Mary-Lou of the Chalet School

Sarah Wright, the author of Millies says in her Prologue:

“Strangely, perhaps, it was a throwaway remark in Mary-Lou that ultimately inspired the most dominant plot strand in Millies of the Chalet School. In a scene I have incorporated, Julie Lucy, upon learning that there is to be no Christmas play at the main school that year, invites its members to join in the St Mildred’s panto:

‘And if anyone here knows anything about ballet dancing, she’ll be welcomed with open arms by Tatiana Khavasky who is running the ballet scenes this time. She’s done piles of ballet dancing herself and it looks rather as if that side of the show will be a real knock-out.’ Mary-Lou, Ch XIV

I must have read these words countless times, thinking them just a cliché: Russia = ballet, before, very recently, it occurred to me that the book, historically, has a Cold War setting. This realisation prompted me to create a back story for Tatiana which might explain how an eighteen-year-old girl from the Soviet Union was able to attend an English boarding school in Switzerland.   

Millies of the Chalet School was published on 14 June 2024.


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