by Phoebe Wynne
Ok so I did enjoy this book, but would it be a book that I’d pick up and reread? No its not. The story is based in Scotland during the 1990’s. Where there are no mobile phones and the only way of communication is via letters or a landline/pay phone. Except this school for girls is run as though they are living in the 1800’s. Where women had no say or choice in how their lives would work out. When women were classed as men’s belongings and anything that they had like money or property became their husbands to do as he wished.
Rose Christie a 26 year old classics teacher is offered a job as head of department at a private all girls school.
Caldonbrae Hall which is situated in a remote part of Scotland, is the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. The founder had lots of daughters that he needed to marry off. So the school was his way of preparing other young girls like his daughters for a life of servitude. Where the most elite students end up marrying important men like the head of state, barons, high ranking judges etc.
Rose finds it hard to settle in to her new role. Where all of the female staff are called Madam and the male staff are called Sir. There is to be no familiarity with the students. She also finds the older students very hard to teach as they just aren’t interested. However she does have some luck with a small group of younger girls she teaches, as they want to know more about the strong and fierce women in Greek and Roman myths.
Even with this small victory Rose still feels uneasy, as though there is something more sinister going on at the school that she isn’t privy too. When she does find out the true reality of what goes on in the school she is horrified. Then strange and threatening letters start to appear in her flat. Rose starts feeling more and more trapped as she has no way of leaving the school grounds. She has no escape.
Then things are made worse when the headmaster and the schools governors threaten Rose. Saying she’ll never getting another job of any kind and if that wasn’t bad enough, they also make threats against her mother. As they try to make Rose compliant to their way of things.
Will Rose ever be able to help save these young girls and herself from their grips and influence? As the school has deep pockets along with prominent people who can do their bidding.
Pages: 448, Publication Date: 13 May 2021, My Rating: