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  • New Series!

    Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan is the first book in a series that she is releasing under her own name. She originally wrote it under the pen name Jane Beaton. They weren’t big sellers but, eventually people found their way to them. In the preface she tells us it is to be a six book series and in the blurb it says it is a four part series. Your guess is as good as mine at this point. We’ll wait and see. I have read several of Jenny Colgan’s books and have enjoyed them. This one was good but, not at the top of my list. She has peaked my interest enough that I will have my eye out for book two. It wasn’t awful but, it felt a little slow to me. It takes place at a boarding school. The story is about a girl’s school and over the hill is the boy’s school. The boys and girls have a few activities together during the year but, mostly they are apart. With the first book we are getting to meet the various characters and how they wound up at this school as either teachers or students. The English teacher is Maggie Adair and she has a boyfriend named Stan. They have had a long term relationship and a good bit of this book is about Maggie and six or eight of her students. She grew up in a more metro area and was hoping that teaching at this school would give her more skills to take home to her old neighborhood. She finds herself falling in love with the school and not wanting to leave. The name of the School is Downey Hall and it is an old castle in Cornwall, Scotland. I can’t imagine leaving a place like Downey Hall that sits right on the water. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? This is again another book I’ve picked up that takes place in Scotland. I found out in the last year that I am mostly Scottish. I wonder if these books are telling me I need to go for a visit? Anyway, I’m having a blast learning little tidbits about the homeland of my ancestors. If you love books that are set at boarding schools and in a foreign country, you’ll most likely enjoy this book. You can pre-order it now and it will be in your in box on release day. Happy reading!

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  • A disappointing read!

    Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan is the first book in Little School by the Sea series. I later discovered that this is a reprint. It was originally released under the author’s pen name Jane Beaton. The book comes across more as a young adult novel than women’s fiction. I started reading this story and was quickly confused, frustrated, and upset. I thought Welcome to the School by the Sea would be warm, upbeat story based on the description. I was very wrong. In the beginning, we are introduced to character after character without getting much detail. I wish so many characters had not been introduced in one chapter. The transitions are choppy. The main focus is on Maggie Adair who decides to interview for a job at the posh Downey House, a boarding school for girls. She gets the position as an English instructor. Maggie leaves her boyfriend, Stan behind (I really do not know what she sees in him) to take the teaching position. We meet Veronica Deveral, Fliss, Alice, and Simone. Fliss is a new student at the school and is going against her will. She wishes to stay at home with her parents and attend the local school. Fliss (aka Felicity) will do whatever it takes to get back home. I wish we had been told why her parents were so adamant about sending her to Downey House. Alice is a legacy student. Her siblings have attended, and they have not endeared themselves to the headmistress. Alice, unfortunately, is just like them. She acts innocent, but she is usually at the center of the mischief. Simone is a girl lucky enough to win a scholarship to the school (she may be bullied but she will get a first-class education). The girl is a little overweight from all the cakes, pies, and sweets in her home. Simone’s weight is mentioned repeatedly throughout the book. I was not a fan of the fat shaming. There is more to a person than their weight. There is too much bullying in this book. Anyone who has endured bullying should not read this story (it will give you bad flashbacks). There are also numerous references to class differences. Maggie and Simone are picked on because they do not come from wealthy backgrounds like the majority of the students or staff. I had a difficult time finishing Welcome to the School by the Sea. I wish there had been a warning on the book about the bullying, emotional abuse, and fat shaming. I felt bad for Simone. I found the story to be shallow, cliched, and predictable. I was disappointed with the ending. There is also foul language in the book and talk about intimate situations. There were too many storylines stuffed into this one book along the stilted writing. There is a preview of Rules at the School by the Sea at the end, but I will not be reading it. Welcome to the School by the Sea was a disappointment from beginning to end.

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