A sequel to Little Princess? Oh, the horror! Is nothing sacred? Ah, but wait...it's Hilary McKay! Welllll, maybe we will read it. If at least one other person thinks it is safe. Ah, my trusted bloggy friend, Charlotte's Library, has given it her stamp of approval.
So I read it. Now I want it too, to read over and over...the key word to describe this story is satisfying. We always wanted to know what happened to the miserable, unhappy girls, left behind in the miserable, unhappy school, with two miserable, unhappy women. True, Burnett says that Miss Amelia is a little more self-assertive. But really, does one want Miss Amelia in charge of anything? I think not.
Hilary McKay gently fills in the background of characters Ermengarde, Lavinia and Lottie. Not only do we come to understand them better, we see them grow and change as they discover a world outside Miss Minchin's rule. McKay's attempt to humanize Miss Minchin is less successful and she becomes something of a dark shadow, hovering in the background. Pitiful, yet still frightening. One wonders how Ermengarde and Lottie will fare with the alcoholic and possibley mentally disturbed Miss Minchin when Lavinia has achieved her goal of Oxford. The final dramatic catastrophe is a little over the top, and yet fits perfectly in the theme of release as the students and teachers escape into a happier life.
Verdict: For anyone who wanted to know what happened next....
ISBN: 978-1442401693; Published January 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library