"A Bunch of Cherries. By L. T. Meade.—As a writer of girls' school stories Mrs. Meade has made a reputation of her own, and she here gives us a very characteristic example of herstorytelling skill. The competition for a school scholarship, which is won by unfair means, is the central incident, worked out in Mrs. Meade's usual style. Of course, the culprit is eventually found out. and all ends happily enough, as in these stories it always does. Mr. E. Stuart Hardy supplies the illustrations, which are very well produced, and the volume should prove an acceptable present to the young readers for whom it is intended."
Mrs. L.T. Meade (Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Toulmin Smith), was a prolific children's author of Anglo Irish extraction. Born in 1844, Meade was the eldest daughter of a Protestant clergyman, whose church was in County Cork. Moving from Ireland to London as a young woman, after the death of her mother, she studied in the Reading Room of the British Museum in preparation for her intended career as a writer, before marrying Alfred Toulmin Smith in September 1879.
The author of close to 300 books, Meade wrote in many genres, but is best known for her girls' school stories. She was one of the editors of the girls' magazine, Atalanta from 1887-93, and was active in women's issues. She died in 1914.
A well-paced book with an interesting plot. The ending felt very rushed, though, which spoiled it a bit. I felt sorry for Bertha, despite her behaviour. Her undoubted genius could never be recognised because she wasn't 'a lady' so she is cast off into obscurity, which is the most telling part if you ask me, because it demonstrates the author's prejudice against those who are not of her class.
Review: A Bunch of Cherries by L. T. Meade. 3.5★'s
I loved the story which is listed for young adults and a classic. The original book was published in 1898, one hundred and nineteen years ago. The edition I read was published on May 16th, 2012. I think I might try to find an older addition to see how much the story was edited. At some time L.T. Meade used the pseudonym name of Elizabeth Thomasina Meade Smith. Meade (1844-1914).She was a profile writer of girl’s stories. She was the daughter of Reverend R. T. Meade of Nohoval, County Cork, Ireland. L.T.Meade was born in Bandon, Ireland and sometime later she moved to London where she married Alfred Toulmin Smith in September of 1879.
The story was enlightening just knowing that this author wrote this book over a hundred years ago. My research showed she wrote over three hundred books but I couldn’t find much on her writing style, or reviews I could read about. This was an entertaining story relating various incidents at Cherry Court School for girls. The author offered insight based on honesty, loyalty, stability and compassion. There was a young girl, Kitty at the girls school who would be finishing her last year because her father was going to India for three years and at this time he could not take her with him and he was placing her with a person she didn’t care for who lived in another town. He wasn’t able to pay for her schooling and the care she needed while he was away. He reassured Kitty that he would send for her in three years so they could be together again.
L.T. Meade showed a very characteristic example of her storytelling skills when she enhanced the story by creating the headmaster with compassion and kindness. When he heard Kitty would be leaving he talked with the teacher and told her he was going to have a competition where one child would win a scholarship for a couple of years funding at the girls school with unfair means, as the main purpose. It started with nine girls being tested and the three highest ranking girls would be placed in the main completion. Kitty was a very smart girl so he knew she would have no problem becoming one of the three competitors but his main goal was to make sure Kitty won the scholarship when the final essay was judged.
Florence Aylmer who was also chosen was poor and her Aunt no longer wanted to pay for her schooling and Mary Bateman was the third person added to the list. She wanted the scholarship so she could save her tuition money for college. However, there was some other interference going on that kept Kitty from winning. When it came to the final essay the judges, one was the schoolmaster who favored Kitty, had no choice but to give the scholarship to Florence. Did Florence really win… who did the interfering,…did the truth come out…also Kitty and Mary really wanted to win…so why weren’t they angry… would they sincerely congratulate Florence…???
Now this was better! I liked both girls this time, the bad and the good. I like Florence better though, and felt her pain keenly. To be so very poor, and for all her life. She just wanted to make her mother proud, and to be able to support her properly. This was a fantastic book, I found myself sitting up late reading last night. A great school story, and worthy of a five star rating