Wednesday 26 March 2014

Flambards by K M Peyton

I was hit by a wave of nostalgia today.

I needed something comforting and familiar to get me through the day.

A new edition of Flambards (Oxford Children's Classics) turned up at work this week & I remembered how much I loved this series when I was a teenager. So I hunted out my old copy from the bottom of the bookshelf hidden by packing boxes that have yet to be unpacked (the move was over 5 years ago, but that's another story!)

It's the classic story of an orphan (with an inheritance due on her 21st birthday), a mean, mercenary uncle, horses, two older male cousins and a kind stablehand!

It's set just prior to WW1 (although published in 1967). Like a lot of literature set in this era there is push-me, pull-me attitude towards the old ways (hunts, carriages, servants - think Downton Abbey) and the new ways (cars, flying machines and equality).

Flambards charmed me all over again today.
It's well written in the proper way books were 40 years ago.
It's tragic, dramatic & romantic. At the time it was also controversial (unmarried pregnant scullery maid, love across class divides & elopements).

Click here to read a recent interview with K.M Peyton about the controversy.

Other books in the series include The Edge of the Cloud (1969) & Flambards in Summer (1969). The Edge of the Cloud won the Carnegie Medal while the other two books were awarded commended runner-up status. In 1970 she also won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for the entire trilogy.

I was surprised to see that a 4th book, Flambards Divided, was written in 1981. Whether this is a pleasant surprise remains to be seen (& will, in part, depend on how quickly & easily I can hunt it down!)

Highly recommended for all lovers of romantic historical fiction 13+


  1. Finally a book that I've read before you blog it! I didn't read Flambards growing up although I had my own horsey adolescence. I read Flambards for the first time last year, and while I liked the setting, the book never quite did it for me. I have to read the second book, The Edge of the Cloud for my 1001 quest and I've had it sitting next to the bed for the best part of a year. I need to stop dragging the chain, but I am somewhat distractible when I want to avoid something.

    1. These books appealed to my romantic teenage nature! The nostalgia factor played a big part in how I read this as an adult I'm sure :-)

  2. You have reminded me of a teenage favourite, for me it was the horses that sold it, another book I should re-visit. There is a lot to be said for comfort reads.

  3. I think I have these mixed up in my mind with a lot of Pullein-Thompson pony books, which I think is a good reason to re-discover them again!

  4. I first read the series after seeing the TV mini-series in the early 1980s, which I loved. I then found a copy of the books and was impressed by how well the mini-series stuck to the storyline and characters as written.

    1. I never saw the series, but glad to hear it was a good adaptation.


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