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The Lost Staircase

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The action centres on the Dragon House. This was built by Master Balthazar Gellibrand late in Henry VII's reign. Some years later, a younger son, Nicholas, declared for Parliament in the Civil War and was disowned by his father. However, the family retained its property despite following the Royalist cause, because Nicholas had won Cromwell's favour. Nicholas was the direc ...more
Published August 31st 2004 by Girls Gone By Publishers (first published 1946)
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Daisy May Johnson
I rather love this slim, eccentric story that doesn't quite know what it's meant to be. I came to it from the Chalet School series which sees two of the characters from The Lost Staircase attend the school. It's a bravura step and one which happens in the Chalet School books on a fairly regular basis. I always imagine Brent-Dyer inserting these textual Easter Eggs with a slight smugness and well earned sense of satisfaction.

The Lost Staircase itself is a standalone novel which tells of the adve
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My husband greeted the arrival of this book in the house with a cackle of laughter and a cry of 'Matron! Matron! We've lost the staircase!' But this isn't a school story (so sucks). It is, however, very nearly as silly as my husband predicted.

One of EBD's aspirational stories, this one - large house; massive estate; lots of daft traditions going back centuries; squillions of devoted servants and grateful tenants; dogs and ponies; five course dinners; plenty of spare Chippendale furniture lying a
Verity W
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: girl-s-own
I really enjoyed this - the first non-Chalet School Brent-Dyer I've read. I did keep expecting it to end with Jesanne being sent off to the Chalet school, but that's because the style was so clearly EBD and I'm so used to the Chalet School. It's a lovely fun story that reminded me in some ways of the Green Knowe books (although without ghosts) I don't know why.

I think this would still hold up for some upper primary school readers with an interest in history.
Clare O'Beara
I read the original hardback, thanks to my mum, an amiable fan of the author. I've put two quotes from this on Goodreads, as they deal with a smart, well educated (for her day) young lady telling her new governess how she likes learning Latin, and about the mixed woodlands on the estate being well used for timber and replanted assiduously.

The heroine comes from New Zealand to live in the house she will inherit, and is a few times referred to as a colonial. Her different viewpoint gives her the
Jesanne Gillibrand, brought to England to learn tradtional British ways, encounters a difficult governess.
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, 7, childrens
I liked it a lot, very pleasant and solid.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-stories
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Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was born as Gladys Eleanor May Dyer on 6th April 1894, in South Shields in the industrial northeast of England, and grew up in a terraced house which had no garden or inside toilet. She was the only daughter of Eleanor Watson Rutherford and Charles Morris Brent Dyer. Her father, who had been married before, left home when she was three years old. In 1912, her brother Henzell d ...more

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“Much as Joanne disliked needlework, she was quite good at it, for she had been well taught. But hearing the remark from her governess's lips was almost more than the child could bear. And as for childish games -
"Cousin Ambrose has been teaching me to play chess," she said in her curiously deep voice. "And we sometimes play cribbage and ecarte."
"Still, at your age, there is so much to learn that I think we must dedicate this hour to sewing each night. And now, tell me, what is your favourite lesson?"
Joanne eyed the lady for a moment. Then, "Latin and 'cello," she said sweetly.
She was not disappointed. Miss Mercier's face fell.
"Latin? Oh my dear, I am very sorry to hear that. Latin is essential for boys, of course; but I cannot think it necessary for a girl in your position. But you cannot have gone very far in it yet?"
"We were doing the Aenid at school when I left," said Joanne briskly. "Fourth book. And Caesar, of course. I've learnt Latin for years."
"My dear child, you mustn't exaggerate. That is most unladylike. I suppose you began two years ago? You cannot call two years "years" in the sense you did."
"I didn't. I began Latin when I was seven. My father taught me."
This was worse than Miss Mercier had expected.”
“That wood," he said, pointing back to the pinewood on the mound, "is used for any building that goes on here. So is the one right over there; it is beech, elm and oak. We never buy a plank of timber here. And we never cut down a tree unless it is necessary. And whatever tree is cut down, is always replaced by a sapling of the same kind. That is another of our traditions. The result is that our woods never grow less. Even in the last war, when so much had to be cut for the Government, we replanted as fast as we cut down. I have a forestry man in charge, and we pride ourselves on our beautiful timber.” 0 likes
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