My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If there was anything that Brent-Dyer was particularly good at, it was shifting tone. She had a skill whereby the farcical could be transferred to the heartbreaking, often within moments on the same page. Whether it was from the Robin singing one of her Raising-Lazarus-esque songs or to Joey hiding behind a curtain in Penny Rest, Brent-Dyer was not afraid of wholeheartedly making her point.
The Chalet Girls In Camp is one of those points. It is fat and round and glorious, glowing with the smile that still echoes in my mind from the toddlers I saw bouncing along the road this morning with their mother. I love this book. It’s one of the most evocative ones she ever wrote, set during a period where the Chalet Girls decamp (badumtish) from the shores of the lovely Tiernsee and head up to the hills to camp in the equally lovely Baumersee.
As it’s still so very early in the series, Brent-Dyer is on fire. She is painterly at points, drawing her landscape with conviction and with passion. There’s moments from this book that live with me forever; the ‘JUST KISS’ moment where Simone whips up a sexy little omelette for her beloved, the moment where Rufus is awesome, and the part where Cornelia goes wood gathering.
It’s books like this that build a series, that pull you to them like moths to a flame. It’s books like this that left me convinced of the cannibalistic nature of Pikes, of the need to loosen guy ropes in the rain, and of the need to not, er, annoy the local insect life.
And it’s books like this that leave me in love with Brent-Dyer and leave me desperate, so very desperate, to go and sing songs around a campfire in the middle of Austria.