In a fast paced time like the one we live in, it is refreshing to sit down and read about the slow paced world of a private girls school in New England. A place where the school is as much a character in the book as it’s students and faculty.
Welcome to Miss Oliver’s School for Girls. Rachel, the newly appointed head mistress wants to get everything back on track after the previous year’s disaster. She has the deficit to fix, a Board that already wants her fired, and a teacher that isn’t the teacher he used to be. Francis Plummer was supposed to become the first Dean of Academics, until bad timing sets him on a downward spiral just as he is trying to fix a failed marriage. Claire wants her father to be a father but how is she supposed to get his attention when he lives is London? That’s where Mitch Michaels comes in. He is the father of Claire’s friend Amy and as a radio talk show host he has an audience that hangs on his every word. When he feels jaded everyone knows it, and he wants his listeners to know how much he dislikes his daughter’s school. The cast of characters is broad but none is as influential to this beautiful story as the campus itself. The copper beech tree and the trail to the river that is the backdrop of so many poignant scenes, stand alone as not only scenery but a major character. Every season brings a new form, a new way of looking at them. It made me stop and look around quite a few times and wonder how differently things would seem without the trees surrounding me.
At first, this was a hard book for me to read, I kept looking for the action, wondering who I should be rooting for, and believe me there are times when you feel angry for the situation at hand, but then I sat back and realized that the beauty of the story is the action. You root for everyone and realize that you are allowed to sit back and enjoy the scenery. This is not a shut your brain off guilty pleasure read, this makes you think and appreciate the people who have made an impact on your life. I think the tag line says it best ” For everyone who has ever loved a school.” I felt that love of school before, and this book took me right back there. This is the second book in a trilogy and I am looking forward to the next lesson I learn at Miss Oliver’s.
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