The Blurb (from Goodreads):
When Madge Bettany decides to start a school in the Austrian Alps, little does she realize how such a small idea will so completely change her life.
Now, in this classic series of books, first published in the 1920s, join the Chalet School’s first pupil, Joey Bettany, as she forges strong bonds of friendship with girls from Europe and America. Independent, intelligent, resourceful, and bold–the girls of Chalet School make each new term and adventure.
Elinor Brent-Dyer was an extraordinarily prolific author who wrote more than 100 books in total, many of them in the famous Chalet School series about a 1930s girls’ school set in the Austrian Tyrol. I’ve been collecting them for years and had been searching for this one in particular – the rare The Chalet School in Exile, set during the Nazis’ Anschluss of Austria. The girls of the school fall foul of the Gestapo after trying to save an old Jewish man from being beaten to death, and have to escape Austria on foot through the Alps. It’s an extraordinarily vivid snapshot of a time and a place, and one of the few children’s books of the era to deal directly with the terror of the Nazis. I read it when I was about 10, and it made a deep impression on me at the time. An original first edition hardback with the original dust-jacket showing a SS officer confronting the girls is worth over $1,000 (though this is cheap compared to the almost $4,000 you need to fork out for a first edition copy of the first book in the series, The School at the Chalet). I however bought my copy from Girls Gone By publishers which re-issue the rarer editions at a much more affordable price (and feature the famous dustjacket as well).
You might also like to read my review of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: